Judge Throws Out New Kentucky Legislative Boundaries

Feb 7, 2012

A Franklin Circuit Court judge has thrown out new legislative district maps, saying they violate the basic principles of the Kentucky Constitution.

Judge Phillip Shepherd's ruling is based on the so-called five percent rule. It says new districts must be within five percent of their ideal size. Shepherd added that the maps of both the House and Senate districts divided too many counties.

Shepherd also extended the deadline for candidates to file to run for the General Assembly until Friday. Unless the ruling is overturned or new districts are drafted, candidates will run in the current districts.

House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover was one of the main parties challenging the maps. He says he’s happy with Shepherd’s ruling.

“Well we’re obviously very pleased with the judge’s decision," said Hoover. "He agreed with the argument that we’ve made now from Day 1, that the House plan divided two many counties and it was above the population variance and he agreed with that. He found it was a violation of Section 33 of the Constitution, that’s the argument that we’ve made from Day 1.”

Shepherd did not rule on whether the Senate's decision to move Senator Kathy Stein's district was constitutional…leaving it open to further challenge. Stein says she’s resigned to not running this year.

Lawmakers are likely to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.