Ky. leaders hint that new legislative maps will count federal prisoners in order to be 'consistent'

06/10/2013 04:54 PM

House and Senate leaders and Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday agreed to the basic rules of legislative redistricting, including that new maps will be consistent.

“We have agreed that consistency at all levels in redistricting is important. We are working on a set of ground rules that will ensure that consistency at all levels, and we are already looking at our calendars to determine a date for a special session,” Beshear told reporters in his office after a meeting of more than an hour.

The 2012 congressional redistricting maps counted roughly 8,400 federal inmates, but the House redistricting map that the chamber attempted this spring did not count those inmates.

“The issue is theoretically could you count them (federal inmates) in a congressional plan, but not count them in a state plan. We think the better action would be to be consistent with all the plans,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said.

And political junkies are likely to find out next week when legislators will return to Frankfort to debate and pass redistricting maps. Senate President Robert Stivers said he urged Beshear to call the session in the early fall — not this summer.

As state leaders attempt to work out the redistricting issue, it’s also pending in federal court. Two lawsuits have been filed to force the General Assembly to redistrict before November of 2013. The court has consolidated those cases into one case, and Stivers, R-Manchester, has requested the court also make an assessment on which redistricting numbers should apply to the state maps.

“We are seeking a declaratory judgement asking the court to rule on what numbers are appropriate to redistricting,” Stivers said. “We do not feel in the Senate, and who we’ve talked to, that we should ever abdicate our authority for drawing the boundaries of Senate districts.”


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