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Senate Passes Bill That Changes Redistricting Process

A bill that would alter the section of the state Constitution dealing with redistricting is moving through the state legislature.The Senate took up the measure today. The bill passed mostly on party lines in the Republican-controlled chamber, 27-11.Senate Bill 18 provides more guidance to lawmakers drawing new districts in split counties and gives preference to federal rules over previous state law.But Senator Robert Stivers says the biggest change would be one that could keep lawmakers in session if they can’t pass new maps in a timely manner.“If it is not completed, and the committee substitute clarifies this, by April 15 which is the stated day of adjournment, sine die, for the General Assembly, that we must stay beyond that period of time, April 15, to complete the task of redistricting,” he says.Senate Democrats called the bill a power move for the majority party, which Republicans refuted.One senator, Tim Shaughnessy of Louisville, says he doesn’t think voters will ratify the constitutional amendment in the fall.“And I can assure you one thing madam president, if this legislation finds it way on the ballot. I don’t know if it would be proper for me to make a wager on this floor, but I don’t think the people of the Commonwealth with have much to do with,” he saysBecause the measure is a constitutional amendment, it won’t become law until it’s ratified by voters at the bill at the ballot box this fall.The bill has support from House Speaker Greg Stumbo and now heads to that chamber.