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Local Lawmakers Address Redistricting in Frankfort Committee Meetings

Written by Mark Payne, LINK Media politics and government reporter

The redistricting of state legislative districts continued in the House and Senate on Wednesday as both chambers held committee meetings in order to advance bills relating to the process. 

In the Senate, the Standing Committee on State and Local Government voted on SB 2 and 3, both of which passed. The Senate released their proposed senate and congressional maps Tuesday night, and they would significantly impact Northern Kentucky, Boone County in particular. Due to population growth, Boone will now have two Senate Districts: Distirct 11 in the north, with the southern portion joining District 20, along with a southwestern portion of Kenton, and Gallatin, Carroll, Owen, and Franklin counties.

The districts of local Senators Will Schroder (R-Wilder) and Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) would also be impacted by the maps. Due to population growth, a few precincts from McDaniel's 23rd District would shift toSchroder's 24th District. 

"I think there are some changes," said Schroder, who is not running for reelection this year. "They're not as big as some people thought … myself, for instance, there was talk of Bracken County not being part of the 24th District anymore because at one time it hadn't been, but I retained Campbell, Pendleton, and Bracken.

"I do pick up three precincts in Covington because Senator McDaniel's district is busting at the seams," he said.

Both bills passed the committee and will now head back to the Senate for a full vote. 

In the House, the Standing Committee on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs voted on three bills: HB 2, 172, and 179. 

House Bill 2 deals with the House Redistricting maps released last week. Local Reps. Buddy Wheatley (D-Covington) and Rachel Roberts (D-Newport) would see their districts shift to include more suburban areas that tend to vote heavily Republican. On Wednesday, the Covington City Commission called on the lawmakers to reconsider the proposed House Districts, as it could potentially mean that Covington would lose a resident representative in the General Assembly for the first time since the state's inception in 1792, according to Mayor Joe Meyer, if Wheatley were to lose to a candidate from the suburbs. 

"This is a very long and tedious process and it's inherently partisan because of the two-party system in the state," Wheatley said.

Rep. Jerry Miller (R-Eastwood) pointed out that the southern end of Kenton County grew "astronomically."

The bill moved through the committee with local Republican Representatives Joe Fischer, of Fort Thomas, and Kim Moser, of Taylor Mill, voting in favor, and Wheatley voting against. 

House Bill 172 pushed the candidate filing deadline back to 4 p.m. on Jan. 25. All local reps voted yes. After waiving the second and third readings, the full House also voted on the bill, which passed 84-12. The Senate is likely to take up the issue on Thursday.

House Bill 179 addressed the Supreme Court Districts in the state. Northern Kentucky is in District 6 and would have several changes under the proposed bill.

It would now comprise Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Henry, Kenton, Oldham, Own, Pendleton, Shelby, and Trimble counties, and lose Bath, Fleming, Harrison, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Robertson, and Spencer counties.

The bill passed with Rep. Fischer abstaining; Wheatley voted no; and Moser voted yes. 

Photo: Senator Wil Schroder at the State Capitol on Tuesday (Mark Payne/LINK Media)