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Beshear Signs Redistricting Bill Into Law

By Associated Press - WUKY Staff

Frankfort, KY – Gov. Steve Beshear has signed a legislative redistricting plan into law despite concerns about its fairness to two Democratic state senators.

Beshear, a Democrat, took the action Friday afternoon.

Beshear criticized Senate Republicans for redrawing Senate district boundaries in a way that shifted Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein's district out of Lexington into northeastern Kentucky where she would represent a largely rural area that includes the cities of Maysville and Vanceburg. He also criticized the Senate Republicans for moving Democratic Sen. Dorsey Ridley's district some 200 miles from Henderson to Lexington.

But with the Jan. 31 filing deadline quickly approaching, Beshear said he felt that he needed to sign the bill so that potential candidates will know which district they're in.

University of Kentucky Political Science Professor Steve Voss, who lectures frequently on redistricting, says the governor really had limited options when it came to signing HB-1 into law.

"If you take too long to set up the districts then you are indirectly denying people their right to representation as well. If the candidates who might have run, don't run because they don't know where the districts will be, if the set of candidates that emerges isn't as reflective as what the voters in the district would have wanted, because it took too long to get those maps drawn, people still lose the quality of representation; so he was sort of in a lose-lose situation. You either sign something you don't approve of, or take too long to sign something you do approve of and the voters would have lost either way."

Voss says a successful court challenge to the new legislative map would have to be viewed as a long shot at best.