The odds that the state legislature will meet for a special session to address legislative and Congressional redistricting before the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are dwindling with each passing day.
For months Republican leaders have said they hope to hold a special session prior to January’s regular session but now admit that may be difficult.
Redistricting is the process by which new congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn. With the exception of U.S. Senators, Kentucky’s six U.S. representatives and 138 state legislators — 100 House representatives and 38 senators — are elected from the political divisions known as districts.
District lines are redrawn every decade following completion of the U.S. Census. Districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity, according to federal government stipulations.
The Kentucky Constitution requires that state legislative districts “be contiguous … and preserve whole counties where possible.”
In the bluegrass state, both the congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn by the legislature. The governor has the ability to veto district maps.
The problem this year is that due to a delay in the release of census data, the redrawn maps aren’t ready yet and leaders aren’t sure when they will be.
House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, called redistricting “a mathematical formula” that takes a lot of thought, hard work and effort.
“To rush it would be inappropriate, and to not have it out there when it’s ready would also not be the most appropriate thing,” stated House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, who called redistricting “a mathematical formula” that takes a lot of thought, hard work and effort.
House Minority Leader Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, doesn’t believe there is ample time for a special session to be an option at this point.
“I think it’s important for the majority to offer their map publicly, so folks have a chance to look at them and weigh in on them,” she said. “This is a decision that is going to affect how Kentucky voters vote for 10 years.”
We agree that these crucial discussions require the utmost transparency and should not be hurried. The public should be given an appropriate amount of time to view the redrawn map and legislators should forget about trying to squeeze a special session in before January.