FRANKFORT, Ky. - Legislative leaders are at odds on whether to postpone the divisive issue of redistricting for another year to avoid gumming up an upcoming session already chock-full of hefty issues, including how to fix a $30 billion shortfall in a pension system for government retirees.
Incoming Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said lawmakers aren't rushed to redraw boundaries around legislative districts because the next round of elections isn't until 2014. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, wants it done as quickly as possible after lawmakers convene Jan. 8.
"I think it would be prudent to really consider not injecting internal politics into the situation," Stivers said. "There is no pressing need."
Stivers' biggest concern is that redistricting could overshadow all other issues. Stumbo fears delaying redistricting could allow it to be used as a political bargaining chip on other matters.
"I'm not going to be a part of holding redistricting over somebody's head to vote on something else," Stumbo said. "We're not going to do that."
The last legislative redistricting effort ended in political turmoil that made its way to the state Supreme Court. Justices concluded the new legislative districts were not balanced by population and had to be redrawn to comply with the "one person, one vote" mandate in federal and state law.
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