House Republicans unveiled Thursday a proposed redistricting map that would place fewer incumbents in the same districts than a plan introduced by House Democrats in the 2013 legislative session.
The House passed a redistricting map during this year’s legislative session, but the Senate declined to take up the contentious issue in a short, 30-day session that included legislation on issues such as pension overhaul, special taxing district oversight and industrial hemp.
Legislative and judicial redistricting are the only items on the agenda for the upcoming Aug. 19 special session.
If lawmakers don’t act, a three-judge panel in federal court will redraw the boundaries to settle an ongoing lawsuit after House and Senate maps passed in 2012 were declared unconstitutional.
“We are here today as the House minority caucus to propose a new start, a fresh start, and a redistricting plan for the House that is constitutional, is legal and is fairer for all involved than any that we have seen recently,” said House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, during a press conference at the Capitol.
“At the end of the day, that’s what the people of Kentucky want — they are tired of political gamesmanship and shenanigans that are all too often used in legislative maps.”
The Republican map would pit four Democrats and four GOP House members in the same districts — House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, and Rep. Kevin Sinnette, D-Ashland, in the 100th House District; Rep. Toby Herald, R-Beattyville, and Rep. Marie Rader, R-McKee, in the 89th House District; Rep. C.B. Embry, R-Morgantown, and Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, in the 15th House District; and Rep. Bart Rowland, R-Tompkinsville, and Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, in the 53rd House District.
The House plan passed earlier this year would have placed 13 incumbents within the same districts.
The 57th and 56th districts, which cover Franklin County, appear largely unchanged from their current boundaries in the Republican proposal.
Hoover said the proposed boundaries were not drawn to bolster GOP numbers in the House. Democrats hold a 55-45 advantage on Republicans in the chamber, and “flipping” the House to GOP control has been a central theme in recent elections.
“By having an even number of Republicans and Democrats affected by this map, this should remove any accusations or any claims that this was done for purely political purposes,” Hoover said.