By RONNIE ELLIS
House Democrats on Tuesday finally revealed their plan to redraw legislative districts and they say it conforms to constitutional guidelines.
Predictably, the minority Republicans aren’t happy. And there may be some unhappy Democrats, too.
Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, said Democrats used one set of census data to draw congressional maps last year, but then switched to another set of data to draw the state House districts.
“They are absolutely fudging the numbers,” Hoover said. “It’s a power grab by them, so they could benefit the Majority Floor Leader (Rocky Adkins) and a few other folks to the detriment of a lot of other members.”
Hoover was talking about Adkins’ 99th District, which covers all of Elliott and Carter counties and much of Boyd County. Adkins lists his home as Sandy Hook where he grew up in Elliott County and where he lived until about nine years ago when he moved to Catlettsburg in Boyd County — and in the 99th District.
But in drawing the statewide map, Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Democratic House leaders counted state prisoners but not federal prisoners in Boyd, Clay, Fayette, Martin and McCreary counties. Those are the numbers Hoover referred to which were counted in congressional districts drawn last year.
Stumbo said many states follow the same system, counting state prisoners but not those incarcerated here from other states. Hoover said that’s fine, but he said those states use the same method of counting prisoners for both state and congressional legislative districts.
Hoover wouldn’t say Republicans will take the plan to court — as they successfully did last year when plans drawn by the House and Senate were declared unconstitutional, but he said they will review the plan to see whether there may be grounds to challenge it.
Rep. Joseph Fischer, R-Ft. Thomas, who filed suit last year, said, “There are some problems” with the new plan, but wouldn’t elaborate.
Stumbo said the plan conforms to the guidelines established by last year’s court ruling: It divides the minimum number of counties (24) and no district varies from the ideal population of 43,308 by more than 5 percent.
Read the full report in Thursday's print or e-edition of the Glasgow Daily Times.