By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — The Legislative Research Commission is expected to pay the $186,000 legal bill on Monday of lawmakers who successfully challenged the General Assembly’s redrawing of legislative boundaries.
Earlier this month, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd gave the LRC 30 days to appeal his ruling or pay the $112,375 legal bill for House Republicans and the $74,480 bill for Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein’s legal team.
Bobby Sherman, executive director of the LRC, said Thursday that he sent a letter to members of the LRC — which consists of House and Senate leaders — that said the legal bill will be paid Monday unless the commission decides to appeal.
Sherman declined to say if he had heard anything back from LRC members, but said he expects the bill to be paid on Monday.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said earlier Thursday that he thought the bill had already been paid.
Stumbo has been vocal in his opposition to paying the bill, saying House Republicans had said they would raise private money to pay the legal fees.
Sherman has said there is enough money available in the legislature’s budget to cover the legal bills.
House Republicans and Stein successfully challenged new legislative maps that were approved early this year by the Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the maps were not properly drawn and upheld a temporary injunction to stop lawmakers from moving Stein’s district in Fayette County to northeastern Kentucky.
Shepherd ruled in August that the LRC must pay the opposing sides’ legal fees. He ordered the two sides to complete negotiations over the amount of the legal bills by Aug. 30. Those negotiations stalled, and the matter was sent back to Shepherd.