House Republicans challenge redistricting plan

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By Stephen Lega

Gov. Steve Beshear may have signed legislation creating new legislative districts for the Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate, but that issue may not be settled just yet.

On Jan. 26, five Republican state representatives filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court seeking to have the House redistricting plan declared invalid. The Republicans argue that the plan in House Bill 1 violates the state and federal Constitutions.

Specifically, the Republicans argue that the plan signed into law divides more counties than necessary, creates districts comprised of non-continguous counties and was done for partisan purposes. The Republicans are also seeking an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of House Bill 1.

Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Board of Elections and Maryellen Allen, the interim executive director of the board of elections, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Under House Bill 1, the 24th District is scheduled to become LaRue, Marion and Washington counties in 2013.

The day before the lawsuit was filed, Rep. Ben Wade, R-Madisonville, presented an alternate redistricting plan. According to a press release from the Kentucky Republican Party, Wade's plan would split 24 counties while the plan included in House Bill 1 splits 28 counties.

Under Wade's proposal, the 24th District would remain similar to what it is today, Casey and Marion counties and part of Pulaski County.