Kentucky Redistricting 2000

Kentucky’s Political Lineup

 

1991

2001

Governor

D

D

State Senate

27D, 11R

20R, 18D

State House

68D, 32R

66D, 34R

US Senators

1D, 1R

2R

US Reps

4D, 3R

5R, 1D

Redistricting Deadline

The legislative deadline is May 2003, according to the state constitution. There is no congressional deadline. The expectation by state observers is that a special session will deliver a new plan by April 2001.

Who’s in Charge of Redistricting?

The state legislature is in charge of drawing both congressional and state legislative districts. The state and Local Government Committee in the senate, and the State Government Committee in the house has jurisdiction. The governor has veto power over both plans.

Districting Principles

Principle

Congressional

State Legis.

Compactness

+


Contiguity



Political sub.

+


Communities

+

 

District cores

+


Incumbents



VRA § 5



+ = required             -- = prohibited         a = allowed

Public Access

Public hearings are scheduled and have been well covered by public television in the past. Bill descriptions of redistricting plans will be made available on the Internet for this round, but no visual maps will be put on the Internet. However, printed maps will be made available to the public at the state capitol.

Political Landscape

Republicans are holding a bare majority in the state senate, but Democrats hold a commanding majority in the state house. With a Democratic governor Democrats will stand a good chance of shaping congressional seats for the next decade.

Currently, Kentucky’s U.S. House seats are some of the most competitive in the nation. Out of six congressional districts, all but Republican Ron Lewis serve in districts that could be considered competitive. Republican Anne Northup represents a Democratic-leaning district, while freshman Democrat Ken Lucas represents a Republican-leaning district. With only one congressional Democrat and five Republicans, Kentucky is a national battleground state for control of Congress. In 2001, statehouse Democrats may try to redraw district lines to place more Democratic voters in marginal Republican districts, and could also try to take Republican voters out of Lucas’ district to give him better chances at re-election. The Republicans’ recently-gained control of the state senate – its first ever in Kentucky -- could prove crucial.

Legal Issues

The Kentucky legislature's 1991 state legislative district plan was determined by the Supreme Court of Kentucky to be in violation of state constitutional law. The plaintiff claimed that the plan split an excessive number of counties in violation of a state constitutional requirement that the fewest number of counties possible be divided. The court agreed, and invalidated the plan. The Kentucky General Assembly enacted a new plan in 1996, which was unsuccessfully challenged on similar state constitutional grounds.

Irregularly Shaped District
District 1

· 91% white; 8% black; 1% Hispanic

· traditionally Democratic, like most of western Kentucky, but the mountain counties on the eastern edge are a main source of Republican votes

Contact Information

Joyce Honaker
Committee Staff Administrator
Legislative Research Commission
State Capitol, room 424
Frankfort KY 40601
(502) 564-8100 x350
(502) 223-5094 fax
jhonaker@mail.lrc.state.ky.us