A Warren County lawmaker says he agrees with Governor Steve Beshear on the need to get legislative redistricting maps done before the 2014 General Assembly.
Bowling Green Representative Jody Richards told WKU Public Radio he hopes House and Senate leaders can come to an agreement on new maps ahead of a possible special legislative session this fall.
"I hope that everybody gets together, and that we do a five-day session, which is the quickest you can possibly do," said Richards. "We don't need to get up there and argue. Everything needs to be settled before we go."
Richards says two lawsuits filed against the state over the lack of a redistricting plan are adding to the urgency lawmakers feel about getting new maps passed. Those lawsuits were filed by a group of county clerks in northern Kentucky and the state chapter of the ACLU, and accuse the state of violating federal law by not having in place new legislative maps based on the latest U.S. Census data.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo is encouraging Governor Steve Beshear to call a special session for redistricting to help end a federal lawsuit.
Last week several county clerks in Northern Kentucky filed a lawsuit claiming the state's inability to finish redistricting violates federal law.
In response, Stumbo released a letter he has sent to the governor, encouraging Beshear to call a special session soon to pass redistricting maps.
Stumbo says it's pointless to waste money on litigation when House lawmakers have already passed a new redistricting plan. Senate leaders have said they wanted to wait until the 2014 session to pass the maps.
Beshear says he's open to a special session on redistricting, but wants to make sure all parties are ready so costs can be minimized. It costs taxpayers $60,000 a day for a special session.
Kentucky House and Senate leaders have changed the schedule of this year's legislative session to avoid a special session.
A potential—and costly—special session has loomed over the General Assembly in recent days, as lawmakers continued work on pension reform. Instead of convening Friday, lawmakers will work on Tuesday, with hopes that talks started Thursday night could lead to an agreement on pension reform by then.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says those talks have included the Governor and Senate leaders.
"The only conversation that we've had with them has obviously revolved around pensions, funding of pension liabilities and just a brief conversation about redistricting," he says.