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September 9, 2013

Laurel County may be the only challenge to redistricting maps

'We're not sure we could go it alone'

(Continued)

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

The northern Kentucky county is Boone, and Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore was one of the plaintiffs in one of the federal suits. Attorneys for plaintiffs in those suits said last week they would not challenge the new maps.

And, Moore said this week, Boone County won’t either.

“The fact that all five of our districts are within the 5 percent (population) deviation and that what we’ve got now is so much better than it was (under previous proposals), it’s unlikely that any future action will be taken,” Moore said.

Moore would prefer fewer splits and an additional northern Kentucky district but he thinks the original suit forced lawmakers to produce a better map, one Boone County and northern Kentucky can “reluctantly” live with.

 Madison County is unlikely to challenge the new maps, said Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, who voted against the bill because it split her county five ways.

“Everybody is real disappointed of course, but no, I don’t think anyone wants to file suit,” she said.

Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry, like Moore and Laurel County Judge/Executive David Westerfield, is a Republican. He said residents of the city of Radcliffe and residents in the northern part of the county aren’t happy with so many districts in Hardin County.

“But I have not heard anyone talking about filing a lawsuit,” he said. “I don’t know how we would have standing anyway.”

Hardin County Attorney Jenny Oldham said the county’s residents “feel like our representation has been diluted. But I personally have not had any conversations about filing a suit.”

Oldham said she hasn’t researched the question but she had doubts about whether a fiscal court would have legal standing to challenge the maps.

Legal standing means a party to litigation can demonstrate it will suffer harm from the law being challenged. Individual voters and residents are represented in the legislature and would have standing to challenge a law that determines their representation. Local governments aren’t specifically represented and might have a hard time claiming standing.

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