House Democrats unveiled a redistricting proposal Friday that would feature an equal number of Democrats and Republicans competing in the same districts.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, flanked by a number of House Democrats in the chamber, revealed the plan days before before the start of a special session to redraw legislative and judicial boundaries. He said the plan is constitutionally sound and should get widespread support from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, predicted a similar result in the Senate after revealing that chamber’s plan Thursday. The Senate map places no incumbents in the same district.
Lawmakers must pass constitutional maps during a special session called by Gov. Steve Beshear that begins Monday. A three-judge panel stands ready to redraw legislative boundaries based on population shifts should the General Assembly fail to act appropriately.
“What the court really told us to do is draw a plan and prove that this system is functional,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said during a press conference Friday. “It is, and I think Senator Stivers’ actions yesterday and our actions today show that the system’s functional.”
Stumbo reiterated that lawmakers plan to meet for the minimum five days before adjourning the special session, which generally costs taxpayers $60,000 per day.
The plan would pit Democratic incumbents House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins with Rep. Kevin Sinnette of Ashland in the 100th House District in Boyd County and Rep. John Will Stacy of West Liberty with Rep. Hubert Collins of Wittensville in the 97th House District encompassing Wolfe, Morgan and Johnson counties.
Adkins, who would move from his native Elliott County, said he and Sinnette worked “very closely” on the House redistricting map and are “on the same page” with the potential Democratic primary pairing.
“We both hope to be candidates,” Adkins said Friday. “Like I said, we’re still discussing that, and at the end of the day, like I said, we’ll work it out in the end.”
On the GOP side, Rep. Jim DeCesare of Rockfield would be coupled with Rep. C.B. Embry of Morgantown in the 17th House District that includes Butler County and part of Warren County and Rep. Myron Dossett of Pembroke with Rep. Ben Waide of Madisonville in the 9th House District in parts of Christian and Hopkins counties.
Stumbo said he shared details of the plan with House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover Friday. He described Hoover as “very positive and upbeat” about the proposed map.
Hoover, R-Jamestown, unveiled a GOP redistricting plan last week that would have also placed eight incumbents in competitive districts. He said he is “pleased” at the apparently fairer redistricting plan put forth by House Democrats.
“While we haven’t reviewed the details of (Stumbo’s) plan, which will we do before the start of the special session on Monday, at least on its face we believe this proposal is moving toward a better approach on redistricting,” Hoover said in a statement.
Stumbo said the House Republican plan had little impact on the map released Friday.
“We were working to try to accomplish what this map purports to accomplish and does accomplish — equity and balance and making sure that we complied with everything that’s required of us and making sure that we kept our commitment to Governor Beshear to have this map ready in time for the session,” Stumbo said.
Franklin County is affected little in the House proposal. Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, would pick up Swallowfield, Peaks Mill and Switzer precincts in the 57th House District while Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, would move further into Fayette County in the 56th House District.
The 57th would have 42,719 residents while the 56th would represent 44,935. The ideal House district would contain 43,394 residents.
The House plan creates four open seats in the chamber — the 36th House District in eastern Jefferson County, the 49th House District in eastern Bullitt County, the 53rd House District in Anderson and Spencer counties and part of Bullitt County, and the 99th House District with Lewis, Rowan and Elliott counties.