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Kentucky legislators block payment of legal fees for redistricting lawsuit

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June 15, 2012

Kentucky

By Hannah Mead

Lexington, KENTUCKY: After the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down newly redrawn state legislative districts earlier this year, the minority parties in both the state House and Senate have refused to approve payment of the legal fees to defend the maps.[1]

The state had to redraw its district boundaries based on the results of the 2010 Census. The congressional maps were approved, but the state legislative maps were challenged in court by the House Republicans and a Democratic state senator. Senate President David Williams (R) and Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo (D) hired a lawyer to defend the maps, but the state Supreme Court declared the maps unconstitutional.

In a Legal Research Commission meeting on June 13, Williams proposed a motion to pay the lawyer, but just eight of the 16 legislators on the commission approved the motion, not enough for passage.[1]

The GOP are the minority party in the state House, and the Democrats are in a minority in the Senate. Both are digging in their heels at the idea of using taxpayer money to pay for legal defense of a map the minority leaders opposed. House Minority Whip Danny Ford (R) said, "[W]e felt like it was an unconstitutional effort to begin with, and the LRC should not have taken the action to pay it."

With redrawn maps not yet settled, Kentucky will use the old district boundaries for the 2012 state elections.[2]

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