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Battle over redrawing Kentucky’s congressional districts on hold until Monday

January 20, 2012 | | Comments Comments

UPDATED AT 1:13 P.M.

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT – The state House and Senate adjourned Friday until Monday without approving a bill to redraw boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts.

The lack of action means the Jan. 31 filing deadline for candidates for U.S. Congress may have to be extended.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he thinks Monday would be the last day for the legislature to act on House Bill 2, the congressional redistricting bill, without changing the filing deadline.

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the Jan. 31 filing deadline for legislative and state Supreme Court candidates should stay in effect if Gov. Steve Beshear signs into law on Friday a bill already approved by the legislature to redraw those districts.

A conference committee made up of representatives from both chambers is “still far apart” in trying to reach a compromise on House Bill 2, the congressional redistricting measure, Stumbo said.

He declined to say what is the sticking point in reaching a resolution.

Stumbo spokesman Brian Wilkerson said at about noon that no conference committee would be held Friday and that negotiations would resume Monday.

“We have offered a major compromise plan and the Senate offered something not very different from before,” Stumbo said.

Asked if members of Congress were providing input into the negotiations, Stumbo said, “They have learned our numbers again.”

He said he spoke to U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, Thursday night and the conversation “wasn’t very good. He wasn’t a happy camper.”

Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said a compromise can be reached “if the House wants to be reasonable.”

Senate State and Local Government Chairman Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said in a release, “The Senate was prepared to continue working and is under no self-imposed constraints to pass a bill simply to pass one; the filing deadline can be extended to assure citizens’ right to participate in the process.

“Our position has always been that the current congressional districts should be changed minimally to constitutionally conform to population shifts so that most Kentuckians will be able to benefit from the same representation and maintain electoral accountability. Any attempt on either side to gain new political advantage from the congressional redistricting process would be futile.

“It is our hope is to complete the process soon so that we can move on to other issues, such as jobs, education, and health care, that matter to all Kentuckians.”

Filed Under: Ben ChandlerElectionsFederal GovernmentGreg StumboHal RogersKY General AssemblyKY-1stKY-2ndKY-3rdKY-4thKY-5thKY-6th

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