The state must pay the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky more than $160,000 in attorneys’ fees because the legislature failed to enact new legislative district maps in a timely fashion, the group announced today.
New legislative boundaries for 138 members of the general assembly have been approved and signed into law by Kentucky’s governor.
The final votes in favor of legislative redistricting were overwhelming: 35 to 2 in the Kentucky Senate and 79 to 18 in the House. Most of the debate occurred as the full Senate took its first vote on the bill. Senate President Robert Stivers said these new district boundaries will have an impact across the Commonwealth.
“When you move five thousand people in Fayette County, it will ripple all the way down to Pulaski County, and when you look at a county in western Kentucky and you move it around, it will ripple all the way to central Kentucky,” Stivers said.
The Kentucky House has adopted new boundaries for its 100 members, but not without some lawmaker grumbling. The bill to redraw legislative boundaries passed the full house 83 to 17. Before the votes were cast, House Speaker Greg Stumbo told colleagues there was no intent to punish anyone or either political party.
Kentucky lawmakers will return to Frankfort on August 19th for a special session to address legislative and judicial redistricting. In a press release issued Thursday, Governor Steve Beshear said he wants lawmakers to have an agreement in place before the start of the session so that it lasts only five days and minimizes the cost to the taxpayers.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo is encouraging Gov. Steve Beshear to soon call a General Assembly special session so that lawmakers can pass new state legislative redistricting maps and end a federal lawsuit.
Last week, several county clerks in Northern Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit claiming the state's inability to finish redistricting violated federal law. In response, Stumbo sent a letter to the governor encouraging him to call a special session.
The House State Government committee has advanced a new redistricting map to the House floor after weeks of closed door debate.
Last year's state House and Senate districts were ruled unconstitutional by the Kentucky Supreme Court after House GOP members challenged them in court. The new House districts would create seven new districts all across Kentucky, where no current lawmakers reside.