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Panel awaiting Ky. House redistricting proposal

Mar. 04, 2013 @ 08:43 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A key House committee could vote within days on a proposal to realign political boundaries between House districts, Speaker Greg Stumbo said Monday.

“It’s in its final phase,” Stumbo said. “They, as we speak, are still working on it to make sure everything’s correct. We hope to get it out by Wednesday.”

However, even if the bill emerges from the House State Government Committee and is passed by the full House, it remains to be seen whether the Senate will approve the House plan.

The Republican-controlled Senate has opted to wait until next year to deal with its own redistricting plan, and moving ahead with the Democrat-led House’s version this year would remove a political bargaining chip.

“I’m not in the mindset of passing a House redistricting plan without having a Senate redistricting plan,” Senate President Robert Stivers said Monday.

Stumbo said he’s willing to publicly pledge that House Democrats would pass the Senate plan as proposed next year if the Senate moves ahead with the House plan this year.

With seven working days remain in the current legislative session, lawmakers are running out of time to resolve the issue.

Redistricting is supposed to occur every 10 years to account for population changes found by the U.S. Census Bureau. Kentucky’s overall population grew from 4 million to 4.3 million, requiring a major reconfiguration of legislative districts.

Lawmakers passed a redistricting bill last year only to see it struck down by the state Supreme Court after a legal challenge. Justices found the new districts weren’t balanced by population and didn’t comply with the “one person, one vote” mandate in federal and state law.

Gov. Steve Beshear had urged lawmakers not to deal with redistricting in the current legislative session. He wanted the House and Senate to devote more time to shoring up the state’s pension system for government retirees.