Governor Beshear vetoes Republican redistricting plans in Kentucky

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Maps of bills 22RS SB 2 and 22RS SB 3 regarding redistricting are presented during the Senate Standing Committee on State and Local Government during the second day of the Kentucky General Assembly.

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Citing “unconstitutional political gerrymandering,” Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday vetoed new House Republican majority maps for all 100 House districts and for all six congressional districts.

Beshear vetoed House Bills 2 and 3 after lawmakers adjourned for the day.

The GOP holds anti-veto supermajorities in both houses of the legislature, but Republican legislative leaders had hoped to put that issue behind them during the first week of session earlier this month.

“We are disappointed that the governor has again chosen to veto legally enacted legislation,” House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, said in a prepared statement on the vetoes.

“He’s wrong on the facts, on the law, and he knows it,” Osborne said. “This proposal meets all the legal considerations. It does not divide any precincts, divides as few counties as possible and preserves communities of interest.

On the congressional district map, Beshear specifically cited the redesigned 1st Congressional District, which would now stretch from Fulton County on the Mississippi River to Franklin County in the Bluegrass region. Democrats protested that this was intended to remove Democratic votes from Franklin County’s more moderate 6th Congressional District in central Kentucky, attaching it to the much more conservative 1st District.

“According to this map, someone driving from Lexington to Louisville would pass through five of the state’s congressional districts, but it would take over four hours to get from one side of the first district to the other,” Beshear wrote. in his veto message.

On the state’s legislative map, Beshear criticized the House plan for excessively dividing counties, especially urban counties such as Jefferson, Fayette, Boone and Warren, for partisan reasons that favor Republican majorities.

This story was originally published January 19, 2022 6:42 p.m.

John Cheves is a government accountability reporter at the Lexington Herald-Leader. He joined the newspaper in 1997 and previously worked in its Washington and Frankfurt bureaus and covered courthouse beat.
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