Boone County group weighing pursuit of court challenge to new state House map

08/26/2013 06:16 PM

BURLINGTON – The Northern Kentuckians who sued to force state legislators to have a redistricting plan in place by November are considering whether to file another lawsuit or live with the new redistricting plan approved Friday in Frankfort.

“We know there’s an inherit unfairness with what the House did, but we’re weighing the pros and cons of continued litigation and whether that’s good for us or good for the commonwealth,” said Chris Wiest, attorney for the plaintiffs after a two-hour meeting on Monday.

The group hopes to make a final decision about its next course of action by Tuesday or Wednesday.

The major concern of the group — led by Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown — is the way Boone County was split into five House districts with only two of the five representatives actually living in the county.

Reps. Sal Santoro, R-Florence, and Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, represent the 60th and 66th districts respectively and are Boone County residents. Reps. Brian Linder, R-Dry Ridge, Diane St. Onge, R-Lakeside Park, and Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, represent the 61st, 63rd and 69th districts respectively and don’t live in the county.

“They’ve drawn in districts out, down in the Grant County, so on and so forth, that’s not really representing our area in northern Kentucky which is one of the fastest growing areas of the commonwealth,” Wiest said.

Another attorney for the plaintiffs is Rick Brueggemann, who is also chair of the Boone County Republican Party.

Brueggemann said that even if the group decides to go with no further litigation, they still feel that they have partially won the battle.

“There’s a number of things that bother us greatly about this plan,” Brueggemann said. “However, the plan is much much better than what we started with.”

Brown, the Boone County clerk, admitted that even though he’s not overly happy with the Boone County district lines, his group must weight whether they want to get the court involved any further.

“The thing we’re concerned about is that the federal court gets more involved in this and most of the plaintiffs are not fans of the federal court getting any more entrenched in our lives,” Brown said.

Boone County officials are not alone in their unhappiness with the new redistricting plan.

The Laurel County Fiscal Court voted on August 22 to file a lawsuit of its own or join other counties in lawsuits over the new district lines .

Laurel County, which is currently divided into four districts, will be carved up into five districts under the new plan. All five of those districts would be represented by incumbents who live outside of the county: Reps. Marie Rader of Jackson County, Tim Couch of Leslie County, Jim Stewart of Knox County, Tommy Turner of Pulaski County and Regina Bunch of Whitley County.


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