Required redistricting was not passed by the Kentucky legislature during its regular law-making session, though a plan that split Jessamine County in three House districts passed the House last Wednesday.
Under the plan, which is House Bill 2, the county would have three House representatives, with much of the northwestern portion of the county in District 55 under Rep. Kim King, a small portion of the county in the Southland Christian Church area in District 45 under Rep. Stan Lee, and the remainder of the county staying in District 39, under Rep. Bob Damron.
Redistricting is done every 10 years, as required by the state constitution.
It will most likely be tackled again in 2014 unless a special session is called, Damron said.
The Senate did not accept the House’s plan, which passed the House 53-46.
“We’re either going to have to change it for them to vote on it or wait for the 2014 session,” Damron said last Friday. “I very much doubt it will pass.”
Damron said he is happy with the plan passed by the House.
“The plan that passed the House is as probably as good as we’re going to be able to get in Jessamine County,” he said.
Under the plan, both the city of Nicholasville and the city of Wilmore stay intact, he said.
“The proposal doesn’t split either town and it doesn’t split the county any more than we had to,” he said. “Some of the scenarios had the county split three or four different ways. This way, we’re for the most part in two different districts.”
The bill, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would create seven new districts and split some current districts.
The required legislative redistricting has proved an issue not quickly resolved.
The state redistricting that was initially approved last year moved 9,300 voters from Damron’s 39th District into Lee’s 45th District. That redistricting was challenged in court, and a Kentucky Supreme Court decision in February 2012 affirmed a previous ruling that the new districts were unconstitutional, so the entirety of Jessamine County returned to the 39th District under the old lines.
Damron said the county will have to be split up to comply with the state constitution, which requires no more than a 5-percent deviation in each district from the average number of people in a district. The average is 42,000, so each district can have no more than 44,100 and no fewer than 39,900. The 39th district, which also encompasses part of Fayette County, currently has about 51,000, Damron said.
“(The smaller counties) have to go find the population to make them whole,” Damron said at a chamber-of-commerce breakfast Saturday. “We end up being the sacrificial lamb to make Mercer and Woodford counties whole.”
The legislature is scheduled to meet again March 25 and 26 to consider any vetoes by the governor, and lawmakers still could take final action on bills those last two days but would give up their right to override any veto.