Whitesburg KY

Plan giving county 3 representatives looks to be illegal

A redistricting plan signed into law late last week by Gov. Steve Beshear splits Letcher County into three state legislative districts, but appears to violate the Kentucky Constitution.

Portions of Letcher County will continue to make up parts of the 94th and 92nd districts represented by Leslie Combs of Pikeville and John Short of Hindman, but will also become a part of the 93rd District represented by Keith Hall of Phelps in Pike County.

Beshear signed the controversial redistricting plan into law January 20 despite questions about its legality under the Kentucky Constitution, which says a county not large enough to make its own district can’t be divided by a district line.

Beshear didn’t mention concerns over the plan’s constitutionality, but did criticize 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.

The entirety of Letcher County will continue to be part of the 29th Senatorial District represented by Johnny Ray Turner of Dwarf in Floyd County.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years to account for population changes reported in the U.S. Census.

Related column appears inside on Page 2.

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