House goes along with new congressional map, new filing deadline will be 5 days after it becomes law

02/10/2012 01:39 PM

The state House on Friday gave its final approval by a 58-26 vote to the much-debated bill containing a new congressional map and a new filing deadline for congressional candidates that will be five business days from the time the governor signs it into law.

But that new filing deadline — which will come more than a week after the last deadline expired — might be a potential weak spot if the new bill is challenged in court.

House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover predicted that, if challenged, a judge is likely to rule that the filing deadline for congressional candidates was Feb. 7 and the General Assembly didn’t have the power to “re-open” that.

“What we are doing today is passing a congressional district map that will take effect in 2014,” Hoover said. “Reopening filing deadlines is one of the most egregious abuses of power.”

Hoover repeatedly said he would support the plan. But he said it set a dangerous precedent.

Rep. Mike Cherry, D-Princeton and the state government committee chairman, said the Senate knew what it was doing when it put in the language to extend the filing deadline.

“We didn’t just accept anything. This bill went through great discussion in the Senate and the Senate committee … We discussed that, debated that,” Cherry said.

Democratic Rep. Tom McKee of Cynthiana was among those who voted against the new map because it split his home county of Harrison between the 6th and 4th Districts.

“It splits my home precinct,” he said. “So I had to get a map this morning and find my house. I did learn I’m in the 6th District.”

Democratic Caucus Chairman Bob Damron of Nicholasville pointed out that his county — Jessamine — also is split between the 6th and 2nd Districts. But he said the map was agreed to by the members of the congressional delegation and deserved to be approved.

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