There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel pertaining to legislative redistricting in Kentucky.
The uplifting news comes after the legislature convened for a special session Monday in Frankfort to take up the issue.
Last year, no one would have thought this would happen. In February 2012, the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down the House and Senate redistricting plans, saying that they weren’t balanced by population. The court ordered lawmakers to run in old legislative districts and that the lines be redrawn.
We opined at the time that we believed that the state’s high court made the right decision and that legislators needed to quit playing political games and unfairly attempting to draw lines that would benefit either party.
Current plans coming out of the House and Senate chambers offer a reasonable approach to the issue.
House Democrats’ plan would potentially pit Democratic incumbents against one another in two districts. Republican incumbents also would pair off in two districts. Senate Republicans unveiled a plan that would avoid putting incumbents in the same district.
Under the House plan, Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, and Rep. C.B. Embry, R-Morgantown, would be in the same district, meaning they would potentially have to run against each other unless one of them decides to run for another office, such as the state Senate. The Senate plan seems to be a better approach as it doesn’t pit any incumbent against one another.
In a perfect world, incumbents from the same party wouldn’t have to run against each other in state races, but redistricting is required by the federal government as part of the U.S. Census.
Overall, both chambers have come up with reasonable, fair approaches. Members in the statehouse expect their proposals to pass with bipartisan support.
While it is not often that Republicans and Democrats in Frankfort agree on many things and they tend to stonewall on an array of issues each session, we are proud that they came together during this special session and put partisan politics aside with plans that are fair.
We applaud both chambers for working together and getting this most important issue moved toward resolution.