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Kentucky lawmakers to pay attorney in redistricting suit

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June 29, 2012

Kentucky

By Hannah Mead

Lexington, KENTUCKY: In spite of push-back from legislative minority leaders, state House and Senate leaders decided to pay the attorney hired to defend the state's redistricting maps in court.[1]

Like all states, Kentucky had to redraw its congressional and state legislative districts to reflect population changes recorded by the 2010 U.S. Census. The Legislative Research Commission, a group of 16 state legislators, drew up the new maps. House Republicans and a Democratic state senator challenged the new state legislative boundaries in court, and the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down newly redrawn state legislative districts earlier this year. The minority parties in both chambers -- the state House Republicans and Senate Democrats -- refused to approve the use of taxpayer money to pay for the legal defense.[2]

In a Legal Research Commission meeting on June 13, Williams proposed a motion to pay the lawyer, but the motion did not pass.[2] On June 28, House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) and Senate President David Williams (R) said they would authorize payment of the $19,758.94 in legal fees without Commission support. They rely on a 1982 policy that permits the Commission to hire legal assistance.[1] House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover questions their interpretation and action, stating that it was "plain wrong" and "illegal."[1]

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