Gov. Steve Beshear is urging legislative leaders to delay General Assembly redistricting.
In a letter to House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers, the governor says he’d like them to hold off redistricting in the 2013 legislative session and instead take up other important issues, such as pension and tax reforms.
Beshear is opening the door to handling redistricting in a special session instead, because the issue tends to cause hard feelings after lawmakers see their districts changing.
“If we drop redistricting on top of all of that, it might well create such turmoil that we couldn’t get anything done,” Beshear says.
Lawmakers must still re-draw their own districts — after the Kentucky Supreme Court threw out maps drawn in 2012 — calling them unconstitutional. Redistricting of Congressional districts is already finished.
Stumbo has advocated for finishing legislative redistricting this session, while Stivers wants to wait until the 2014 session.
"We’ve received the governor’s request, and are still reviewing the issue," Stumbo said. "We’ll be discussing it among our caucus.”
But at least one state senator, John Schickel, says he disagrees with the governor, because districts like his are overpopulated and need to be corrected, he says.
Schickel represents one of the most overly populated districts, because lawmakers are still representing districts drawn based on Census data from 2000.
Areas like Northern Kentucky, which Schickel represents, are badly overpopulated, while Eastern Kentucky districts are underpopulated.
And because such important issues are up for discussion, Schickel says every voter needs to be counted fairly.
“Before we take on these very important issues which we definitely have, we need to redistrict to make sure every citizen has an equal vote,” he says.