Kentucky lawmakers will go into special session later this year to craft new maps of political districts based on the most recent U.S. Census data. Legislative leaders want a tentative agreement in place before returning to Frankfort, but one of the hang-ups is whether to include federal prisoners being held in the commonwealth.
Kentucky law says a prison cell is not a residence, and the inmate population can, but doesn't have to be taken into account when drawing political maps. State lawmakers counted federal prisoners when they approved a new Congressional map last year. That map was upheld by a judge while the legislative and judicial maps were ruled unconstitutional.
Lawmakers will use this year's special session to redraw legislative and judicial maps. Legislative leaders agree on the need for consistency, and contend they can't use one set of data for one map and different data for another. House Speaker Greg Stumbo wants the congressional map amended and argues it would have a minimal impact on districts.
"There's only about 8,500 federal prisoners and the average congressional district is 770,000," explains Stumbo.
Senate President Robert Stivers argues consulting again with each congressman would prolong a costly special session.
"So now we get into a situation where we're engaging the federal delegation in a special session issue," remarks Stivers.
Each decade, lawmakers are required to draw political boundaries to comply with the federal and state "one person, one vote" mandate. Governor Beshear is expected to announce a date for the special session by the end of the week.
A Kentucky judge is weighing whether a same-sex couple qualifies for the privilege of not testifying against a spouse in a slaying case in Louisville.
The question arose in the case of Bobbie Joe Clary. Clary is charged in the Oct. 29, 2011, murder and robbery of 64-year-old George Murphy, accused of fatally wounding Murphy with a blunt object in his Portland home.
Clary is claiming self-defense, saying that Murphy was raping her and she fought back by hitting him in the head with a hammer.
The Courier-Journal reports Clary and partner Geneva Case were legally married in Vermont in 2004. Kentucky doesn't recognize same-sex marriages.
The Warren County Board of Education will meet in special session Tuesday night to decide on a new superintendent.
The three finalists are Allen Barber, a Warren Central High School graduate who currently works in school administration in Eagle Point, Oregon. Rob Clayton is a middle school principal in Oldham County, Kentucky, and Dr. Franzy Fleck is a superintendent in Burbank, Illinois.
The new superintendent of Warren County public schools will take over for Tim Murley who retired earlier this year.