The Richmond Register

Local News

May 13, 2013

Special session over redistricting likely

Understand

FRANKFORT —

FRANKFORT — Special sessions may be unpopular — legislators understand that well enough to avoid them if at all possible — but two lawsuits over drawing legislative districts may precipitate one soon.

Gov. Steve Beshear has said he wants to call lawmakers back to Frankfort sometime before next January’s 2014 regular session of the General Assembly to redraw state legislative maps.

In 2012, the legislature redrew the maps — each chamber drew its own to benefit the majority’s incumbents and the Democratic House and Republican Senate agreed to accept the other’s. But minority Republican House members and one Democratic senator sued and the courts ruled both plans unconstitutional.

As the 2013 session neared, lawmakers said they could redraw the maps during the regular session without wasting taxpayer money for a special session.

The House passed a new map — one Democratic leaders said addressed the findings of the court in the 2012 ruling — but the Republican Senate said there was no need to take up redistricting until the 2014 session and didn’t act either on the House plan or offer one of its own.

But the two federal lawsuits — one asks the court to order the legislature to redraw maps to meet constitutional guidelines while the other asks the federal court to draw the maps — appears to be the prodding that lawmakers needed to act sooner.

“We stand ready to do our duty on the call of the governor,” said Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester.

Republican Caucus Chairman Sen. Dan Seum, R-Louisville, said Monday the Senate has a plan which will meet the court’s guidelines.

“We’re ready,” Seum said when asked about a new Senate map. “It doesn’t put any two legislators together, and there’s nothing vindictive about it.”

Unlike the congressional maps approved by the General Assembly in 2012 which weren’t thrown out by the courts, the House 2013 map does not count federal prisoners. That’s legal, but Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Ft. Thomas, has suggested the House plan might still face a court challenge because he said it can’t use two sets of rules to draw congressional and state house districts.

Stivers declined to comment on the two existing lawsuits and resisted the contention of House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, that the Senate is at fault because it didn’t act during the 2013 regular session.

“I am in the process of reviewing the latest filing but believe it inappropriate to comment on the subject matter of either redistricting lawsuits since they are currently in litigation,” said Stivers through his spokeswoman.

“The Speaker should not attempt to cast blame on the Senate, however, since not only did they submit a redistricting plan with only a few days left in the regular session, but they used new numbers that would likely have caused additional litigation in state and federal courts due to the differing standards and criteria in both the U.S. and Kentucky constitutions.”

Among the problems with the 2012 maps was a feature of the Senate map which effectively removed Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, from the ballot by moving her district number to another part of the state and re-numbering the district where she lived so that it would not be on the ballot when her current term ended.

Meanwhile, the House placed several Republicans into the same district so they couldn’t all be re-elected. Both maps had at least one district larger than the 5 percent deviation from the ideal district size, and the House map split more the minimum number of counties.

Some have suggested Beshear may wait until September to call a special session but Stumbo prefers to get the question out of the way.

“We’ve already done ours,” Stumbo said. “Someone suggested we just show ours to the court and ask the court to go ahead and adopt our plan and draw the Senate districts.”

He said the only reason to delay a special session is if there are some economic development projects which could be combined on the governor’s call but which may not be fully developed at this point.

“If that’s the case, I would hope they’d all be tied together and get it done as quickly as possible in one session,” Stumbo said.

He declined to identify any potential incentive packages which might be placed on a special session agenda.

But Toyota recently announced it will add a production line at its Georgetown facility, and there was a recent agreement between an aluminum smelter in western Kentucky with electrical cooperative Big Rivers over electrical rates after a lengthy public fight. Either might be candidates for state assistance.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Berea utility doubles solar farm, again

    Berea Municipal Utilities started its solar farm in October 2011 with 60 panels. In less that five days, all were leased.
    Another 60, which became operational in June 2012, were leased in less than four months.
    Now, the farm again has doubled, with the addition of 126 panels that are ready for leasing, said Steve Boyce, a retired Berea College professor who has been involved with the program since its inception.

    July 30, 2014

  • Miss Madison Winners 2.jpg My fair ladies

      

    July 29, 2014 5 Photos

  • 10th Quilt Extravaganza is Friday, Saturday

    Displays of quilts by men, baby quilts, the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, an exhibit of feed sack fabric, ongoing demonstrations, and a vendors market are features of the 10th Berea Quilt Extravaganza Friday and Saturday at Berea Community School off Ellipse Street.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30 Samantha Frederick.jpg RPD: Heroin sales lead to trafficking indictment

    Executing a warrant issued after Samantha Frederick, 29, Northgate Drive, was indicted July 16 by a Madison County grand jury, Richmond Police arrested her Monday on drug trafficking charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 YMCA-Schools.jpg YMCA, county district to provide after-school care

    The Telford YMCA is partnering with the Madison County School District to provide after-school child care for kindergarten and elementary students.
    YMCA Executive Director Dave Wallace and Madison County School Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the partnership Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 Lucille May 1.jpg Memories bloom in May’s garden

    After realizing a story was being written about 96-year-old Lucille May, tenants of Willis Manor gathered in the lobby to share stories about her.
    Affectionately called “Mamaw” by other residents and workers at the apartment building, May has spent the four years of her residence transforming an outdoor garden that was overtaken by weeds. It’s now a thriving flowerbed, complete with interesting rocks, decorations and conversation.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Construction 1.jpg Water Street storm-water digging begins

    Caisson holes were drilled and then filled with concrete and steel poles Monday to create a retaining structure to shore up the Allstate Insurance building foundations' firm when excavation for the Water Street Stormwater Improvement Project begins.
    Digging for 20 ton, 6 by 7 foot concrete box culverts will begin today, if weather permits, said Jason Hart, Richmond’s director of Planning and Zoning. The culverts will help reduce the likelihood of flooding on Water Street by carrying storm water under Main Street, the CVS parking lot and Irvine Street to a stream, he said.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Robert Abney.jpg RPD: Bottle bomb injures man, damages neighbor’s home

    Richmond Police on Friday charged Robert Abney, 30, of Moberly Avenue, in connection with a May 30 explosion that injured Abney and damaged a neighbor’s home.
    Officers were dispatched May 30 to a residence in the 500 block of Moberly Avenue to investigate the report of an explosion.
    They found the remains of a plastic bottle bomb near a residence adjoining Moberly’s, according to an RPD news release. A wall of the occupied home was smoldering and grass was burned in the area, it added.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Steven Coffey.jpg Two led police on I-75 chase from Berea

    Berea Police found a man passed out and intoxicated inside his crashed vehicle on Interstate 75 Wednesday, according to a police report.
    Steven Coffey, 34, of Berea, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet when officers arrived at the vehicle, the police report stated. They determined he was under the influence of drugs, the report stated.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-27 HeartChase 1.jpg A race to the finish line

    Sheltered by overcast sky and supported by a cool breeze, teams competed Saturday morning in the second annual HeartChase at Richmond Centre.

    July 26, 2014 6 Photos

AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results