Politics & Government

Deal struck to extend filing deadline for congressional candidates

FRANKFORT — The House and Senate agreed Friday to push back the Jan. 31 filing deadline for candidates to allow more time for negotiations on the redrawing of Kentucky's six congressional districts.

Senate State and Local Government Chairman Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said extending the deadline to Feb. 7 would give the negotiators more time in trying to come up with a new map for the congressional districts.

"I believe we will be able to reach a resolution," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. The two sides did not meet Friday but will continue negotiations on Monday, Stumbo said.

The Senate voted 25-0 on Friday to approve the extension. The House is expected to vote Monday.

Leadership of the Republican-controlled Senate and the House, controlled by Democrats, has been at an impasse for more than a week over House Bill 2, the measure dealing with congressional district boundaries.

House Democrats said their congressional plan better aligns geographic areas that have common economic interests. But Republicans said the plan favors Democrat incumbents Ben Chandler and John Yarmuth.

Stumbo said if the sides do not come to an agreement by Feb. 7, it's unlikely that an agreement could be reached at all. If that happens, it's likely that a candidate for one of the congressional district seats will file a lawsuit.

Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law on Jan. 20 House Bill 1, which set the district boundaries for the state House and Senate and the Supreme Court.

But House Republicans filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the measure on Thursday. A hearing on an injunction will take place on Monday. If an injunction is granted, it could delay the Jan. 31 filing deadline for the state legislative offices.

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