FRANKFORT — Word came Wednesday that House Democrats had largely pieced together a new legislative district map for the House – but the more people one talked to, the less accurate that seemed.
Last year the two chambers – the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate – each passed their own district maps, drawn to benefit the incumbents in the respective majority party.
But House Republicans sued and the courts eventually declared the plan unconstitutional because, among other reasons, each had at least one district with too great a population variance from the norm and the House plan split too many counties.
That left the state without a state legislative map, something which must be corrected in advance of the 2014 elections. House Democrats want to approve a plan this session while Senate Republicans want to wait until the 2014 session that convenes next January.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has proposed the House pass its plan and ask the Senate to approve it. He says the House will agree to pass the Senate plan whenever it is passed in that chamber.
Eastern Kentucky House Democrats have an additional problem – that area of the state lost population, which means those districts must expand to pick up voters. But Democrats don’t want to combine portions of existing districts to balance populations by district because they want to protect Democratic incumbents.
The “mountain caucus” met Tuesday evening and reportedly reviewed as many as nine potential maps. On Wednesday, Stumbo said they’d settled on one which would place Republican Jill York of Grayson in the same district with Majority Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook. (Last year’s map did the same before the courts threw it out.)
Stumbo said it would also place freshman Republican Toby Herald of Beattyville in the same district with Democrat John Will Stacy of West Liberty.