The Chatter: ACLU files redistricting lawsuit; Ky. delegation tells Energy Dept. it owes Paducah

05/13/2013 03:54 PM

The ACLU of Kentucky is also now going to court to force the Kentucky General Assembly to approve new maps of House and Senate districts using the 2010 U.S. Census figures.

The ACLU’s Voting Rights Project on Friday flied a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Frankfort against the Kentucky Board of Elections and secretary of state aimed at forcing action on redistricting.

“The General Assembly’s initial failure to adopt lawful maps in 2012, and their failure to enact any maps during the 2013 Regular Session, denies voting equality to large portions of the state, particularly those voters in Northern Kentucky,” said Michael Aldridge, executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky.

The latest suit follows another filed by Northern Kentucky residents led by Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown.

ACLU Voting Rights Project Director Laughlin McDonald said the organization filed a similar suit because over several decades it has “accumulated a great deal of experience litigating these types of cases.”

“We’re confident that this experience will complement the existing suit and provide the Court with additional insights that will aid in the fair, just, and expeditious resolution of the issues,” McDonald said.

Senate President Robert Stivers issued a statement saying he wouldn’t comment on the new suit.

But he told Pure Politics earlier this month at the Kentucky Derby after the first lawsuit was filed that he was prepared to come back into special session at the governor’s call in September or October.

Kentucky Delegation wants a plan for gaseous diffusion plant by June 14

Three Republicans in Kentucky’s federal delegation asked the U.S. Department of Energy to try again to make use of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion plant materials after the community has “coped with the contamination and related health issues” resulting from the processing of uranium over 50 years.

Last week, the contractors hired to clean up the site announced it would lay off 145 employees this summer because of the federal sequester cuts, as WKMS Radio in Murray reported .

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield of Hopkinsville didn’t mention the layoffs in their letter to the Department of Energy on Monday.

Instead, the trio called for the department to come up with a long-term solution for the site of the plant by June 14. And they said any efforts to transfer depleted waste, known as “tails,” shouldn’t be shipped out of state because the community already has paid the price in radiation exposure for decades.

“We feel the department has an obligation to ensure the future use of the site’s assets — including its depleted uranium ‘tails’ — will be utilized in the Paducah community,” the letter said.


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