WKU Public Radio News Staff
Fri February 10, 2012
Newly Drawn Congressional Districts to Become Law
After weeks of disagreement, new districts for Kentucky's six U.S. House seats will become law. The issue appeared dead earlier this week when the state Senate was unable to approve a new map. But lawmakers rallied around a compromise plan last night. Under the new plan, the Second District will lose some of its northern counties and stretch further east. And the Sixth District around Lexington will become safe for Congressman Ben Chandler as it sheds Republican counties.
"With this bill, madam president, Central Kentucky’s identity, the Bluegrass area’s identity, Henry Clay’s Congressional District has been decimated," said Senator Alice Forgy Kerr, who was among several in her chamber to oppose the protection for Chandler.
Despite opposition, the plan passed the state Senate and House with bipartisan support. Governor Steve Beshear is expected to sign the new maps into law immediately. Senator Tom Jensen says drawing new maps is not a task for the courts, which is where redistricting would've ended up without a legislative compromise.
“I think the last thing that I want to see is what we did with House Bill 1 by giving it to the courts," he says. "It’s a terrible mistake. It’s our job to drawn these boundaries.”
The bill, House Bill 302, will also reopen the filing deadline for Congressional candidates. The deadline is expected to be one week from Friday.