Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

August 28, 2013

Plaintiffs OK with newly drawn district maps

FRANKFORT — The long, sometimes acrimonious fight over drawing new state legislative district maps in Kentucky may be about to end.

Attorneys for two sets of plaintiffs who had sued the legislature in federal court demanding the General Assembly pass constitutionally acceptable indicated Wednesday they will not file objections to the maps passed in last week’s special session.

“After having reviewed the recently enacted maps and consulting with our clients, we do not anticipate submitting formal objections to the court about the newly drawn districts,” said William Sharp, ACLU attorney.

An earlier email from Sharp to other attorneys, including those representing the northern Kentucky plaintiffs, indicated the decision was made following consultation among both sets of plaintiffs and their attorneys.

But they also said they wouldn’t seek to dismiss the suit because “other individuals/groups may yet attempt to intervene in this litigation . . .” according to Sharp’s earlier email.

Sharp also said it is unfortunate it took “two adverse court decisions” to persuade lawmakers to pass constitutionally acceptable maps.

Pierce Whites, general counsel for Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, said a motion to dismiss the suits “will be filed soon.”

“We know of no legitimate argument against the (latest) maps,” Whites said. “All of the legal issues raised by plaintiffs have been resolved. There is nothing more for the court to rule on.”

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, issued a statement through his spokeswoman: “It is our hope that the plaintiffs will recognize that the Senate map was developed and passed on sound legal theory and with total impartiality and from that point, we hope that they do not continue to pursue this action.”

Chris Wiest, one of the attorneys for the northern Kentucky plaintiffs, wouldn’t concede the latest maps are entirely acceptable but “we’re willing to live with them begrudgingly.”

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