House, Senate at odds again on when to redraw legislative district boundaries

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comFebruary 27, 2012 

FRANKFORT — The House and Senate appear to be at odds on when to redraw legislative district lines.

Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the Senate would prefer to continue to tackle the contentious issue of redistricting before this legislative session ends April 15.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the House would prefer to address redistricting later and could even wait until January, when the next legislative session will be held.

On Friday, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ruling that the redrawn House and Senate legislative districts, approved earlier this year, were unconstitutional. The court said the current legislative districts, approved in 2002, could be used for the November election, when all 100 seats in the House and half of the 38 seats in the Senate are on the ballot.

The court has not issued a full opinion, which would give more details about why the court decided the new maps were unconstitutional.

Stivers said the Senate "is prepared to go forward and thinks it appropriate" to consider legislative redistricting this session. "We hope to have discussions with the House on the possibility of doing so," he told reporters Monday.

He said the Senate would want to redraw legislative district boundaries for this year's elections.

Stivers also said that if the House did not want to redraw House boundaries this session, the House might agree to let the Senate do its redistricting "to get it out of the way."

The two chambers traditionally let each one do its own redistricting, but each chamber has to approve the other's plan.

Stumbo said, however, that lawmakers also might have to address the state Supreme Court districts. The Supreme Court, state Senate and House plans were all passed in one bill. If any part of that measure is found unconstitutional, the entire plan is unconstitutional. That means the state Supreme Court lines would have to be redrawn.

The state Supreme Court ruled against the House Democratic plan on Friday. There could be problems with the state Supreme Court lines similar to the ones with the House and Senate redistricting plans, Stumbo said.

Beth Musgrave: (859) 231-3205. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com Jack Brammer: (859) 231-1302. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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