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Many of you have called or e-mailed me over the last few weeks to share your thoughts on redistricting. I appreciate your involvement in the process.
As many of you know, it is the Constitutional duty of the state legislature to realign voting districts according to population shifts recorded by the U.S. Census. Yet, for many of us, the job of drawing new district lines is personal because we have close ties with the folks we serve. For that reason, it was of particular concern to the Senate that each district be treated fairly, with no incumbent having to run against the other, no precinct split, and as few counties as possible divided. I am pleased the Senate had input from both the majority and minority caucus. I believe the plan we passed is fair.
The district I serve, District 14, is now comprised of Casey, Marion, Nelson and Spencer counties, as well as part of Jefferson County. I look forward to spending time in each of these counties and representing your needs in Frankfort. I have an open door policy of legislating. My office phone and home phone number is listed and available to all my constituents. And my office in Frankfort is always open to visitors.
At the same time, I am saddened to no longer officially represent the folks in Mercer, Taylor and Washington counties. Mercer and Washington counties are now in District 22, represented by my friend, Senator Tom Buford. Taylor County is now in District 16 and will be served by another friend, Senator Sara Beth Gregory. I know you will be in good hands with these dedicated and hardworking senators.
It is important to keep in mind, the federal court still has to rule on the constitutionality of both the Senate and the House maps, but the Senate is confident its map will pass constitutional scrutiny.
While redistricting was the priority this week, we also held the interim joint committee meetings for the month of August all in this one week in order to save taxpayers’ dollars. Some of the issues presented to the interim joint committees include testimony on the various uses of drones, including the development of weather tracking drones that may one day allow scientists to know sooner when a tornado or earthquake will strike. Additionally, we heard testimony on the impact of Kentucky’s oil and gas industry on the state’s economy. As always, it is good to get more information on issues that might affect you.
Moving into fall, I will continue to update you on the work of the Interim Joint Committees. I appreciate your input, so please call me in Frankfort toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or my home at 270-692-6945 if you have any questions, concerns, or comments. Remember, you can visit the Kentucky Legislature Home page at www.lrc.state.ky.us for more information on committee assignments, meeting schedules and more.
Note: Senator Jimmy Higdon (R-Lebanon) represents the 14th District including Casey, Marion, Nelson and Spencer counties, as well as part of Jefferson County. He is the chairman of both the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee and the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation; the vice chair of both the Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee and the Transportation Committee, and a member of the 2012 SS HB 1 Implementation and Oversight Committee; the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance, and Public Protection; the Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee; the Education Committee; the Health and Welfare Committee; the Program Review and Investigations Committee; and the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee.