Kentucky judge to rule on constitutionality of new districts

COVINGTON, KY (AP) - A judge has ruled Kentucky's election filing deadline will be postponed for a week as he decides the constitutionality of proposed changes to the state's legislative districts.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued a temporary restraining order just hours before the original deadline for legislative hopefuls to file their candidacy papers.

Republicans previously filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of newly drawn legislative boundaries, which they claim favor democrats. They say the new districts are unbalanced based on the change in population. Those in favor of redistricting however, say it is necessary to represent the shift in population since 2000.

The five percent decrease in population was addressed on January 31st during Mayor Chuck Scheper's "State of the City" address.

"We have so many assets that we just need to polish up and I think that we can reverse this trend," says Scheper.

It is typical to redraw district lines in a state after a census due to population shifts, but city leaders are worried political focus is too much of a factor.

"It's just the reality of things, let's just accept it and lets move on, we got too many important things to be dealing with to be bickering about this," says Covington Commissioner Sherry Carran.

Carran acknowledges district lines must be redrawn, but didn't want the area's representatives to lose "the heart of Covington."

So, the city filed a resolution with house leader Greg Stumbo to keep Democrat Arnold Simpson in the 4th District.

"We felt it was important to have someone who knows Covington, who knows the citizens, and so with our resolution House leader Stumbo changed that," says Carran.

The new proposed boundaries would result in the 4th District losing its eastern counties and extending further south.

"There's some minor changes that are necessary, I don't think the major changes that have been proposed are required for anything other than really political gerrymandering," says Thomas Massie. Massie is running as a Republican for a congressional seat in the 4th District.

For now, the decision is at a standstill, delaying a number of issues waiting to be addressed by the state legislature.

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