Kathy Stein

Senate Wants to Spend More Time Screwing Up Redistricting

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February 28, 2012
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The State Senate is chomping at the bit to get back into the redistricting process they just got done screwing up.

The State House… not so much. While the Republican-controlled Senate wants to git ‘er done by the close of session in April (because apparently they have nothing better to do), Stumbo and the House appear ready to wait til next year. Musgrave & Brammer:

[Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers] said the Senate “is prepared to go forward and thinks it appropriate” to consider legislative redistricting this session. “We hope to have discussions with the House on the possibility of doing so,” he told reporters Monday.

He said the Senate would want to redraw legislative district boundaries for this year’s elections.

Stivers also said that if the House did not want to redraw House boundaries this session, the House might agree to let the Senate do its redistricting “to get it out of the way.”

The Supreme Court has not yet released its full opinion on just how screwed up the previous maps were, but obviously if the Senate’s Stivers, Thayer and Williams can’t remove Kathy Stein’s district from Lexington until next year then she’ll already be re-elected and all their hard work will be for nothing.

KY SoS to Certify Candidates on Monday

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February 24, 2012
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Certified (Explicit) (Single) by Guru’s Jazzmatazz on Grooveshark

This right here has been certified:

SECRETARY OF STATE TO CERTIFY CANDIDATES ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2012

Press Release Date: February 24, 2012

Consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision and the Franklin Circuit Court’s order, the Secretary of State’s office will certify candidates to the county clerks on Monday, February 27, 2012.Today, the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed the Franklin Circuit Court’s order that state legislative races for the 2012 election cycle shall be conducted pursuant to the boundaries that were in effect immediately prior to the enactment of House Bill 1. The Court reiterated that the filing deadline for candidates for state Senator and state Representative was February 10, 2012.

Come Monday, the candidates and their opponents will be set.

In the Fighting 13th District there are four candidates on file but only one of them, Senator Kathy Stein, is filed in the right district.

So sorry, David Williams. So sorry.

So hereby I certify, I don’t care if you feel hurt
If I testify against your false words or lies

Word to god this is my job, I’m workin’ hard every minute
Movin’ up in the rat race, city council to senate
So what, you don’t get it? You can’t front no more
Been certified for years, can’t speak to chumps no more

Mission Accomplished: Kentucky Supreme Court Tosses Disenfranchisement Map

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February 24, 2012
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Believe It Or Not by Joey Scarbury on Grooveshark

Go big AND go home:

The Kentucky Supreme Court has blocked implementation of the newly-drawn boundaries for state legislative districts.

In a two-page order issued a few hours after hearing oral arguments in the case Friday morning, the state’s highest court upheld Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd’s ruling that this year’s redistricting was unconstitutional.

“Until the General Assembly passes redistricting legislation that complies with Section 33 of the Kentucky Constitution, the terms of the injunction entered by the Franklin Circuit Court remain in place,” the court said.

Read the Full Story @ HL

The Thayer/Williams/Stumbo/Beshear disenfranchisement bill fails. Kathy Stein is returned to her rightful and elected seat (as are the others) and Williams’ mission to run her out of office is lost.

The Supremes were unanimous in their decision — 6 to 0! (one recused). The 2002 lines stand for now.

Rejoice! And remember…

 

Will Lexington’s new Senator support anti-woman legislation and making Kentucky a ‘coal sanctuary state’?

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February 20, 2012
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On Thursday I sent the below letter to Dorsey Ridley, the State Senator from Henderson who would be installed as the new “elected” representative of Lexington should the Thayer/Williams/Stumbo/Beshear disenfranchisement bill be reinstated by the Supreme Court.

The Supremes will hear the case this Friday and hopefully they’ll do the right thing. Dorsey has not, yet, replied to this message though he’s had plenty of time.

From: David M. F. Schankula
Date: Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM
Subject: From the Fighting 13th

Dorsey,

Good to meet you. As you know — and stated eloquently at the rally and in the press — there are many people upset by the prospect of losing their duly elected representatives in the State Senate.

People in Lexington are very worried not just about losing a Senator they love and respect, but also about losing their voice in the Legislature.

We understand that currently you still represent the good people of Henderson, but there is a growing concern about how you will represent *us* should the Supreme Court toss Shepherd’s ruling.

There is no animosity toward you, be assured. Indeed, you seemed warm, honest, good at the rally in Lexington a few weeks ago.

But your votes on certain issues are directly opposed to the views held by many (if not most) voters in Ms. Stein’s district and, as such, are also opposed to Ms. Stein’s voting record on several critical issues.

I was hoping that you could address this worry.

How will you vote if you are (re)instated as the Senator for the heart of the Bluegrass?

Will you vote as Sen. Stein would vote? Or will you vote as the people of Henderson might expect you to vote?

This is a critical question here (as well it should be for any electorate). Your votes represent your voters in Henderson and Ms. Stein’s represent hers here.

Your vote in favor of forcing already distressed women to undergo undue pain at the hands of a doctor and under force of state law is not representative of the people of Lexington.

Thus, we are understandably curious if you would vote to represent us if installed as our Senator against, as you have said, your own wishes.

Ms. Stein voted against that bill. Would you, should you come to represent us?

That is but one issue. There are many. For example, last year you were one of just six Democratic Senators voting in favor making Kentucky a “coal sanctuary state.” Sen. Stein voted against that, representing the voters of Fayette County.

If faced with that vote again as the voice of Lexington, how would you vote?

I do not wish you to engage in hypotheticals but given the state of play, these are serious questions and ones which could, in fact, help establish the unconstitutionality of denying voters their vote (in both Henderson and Fayette).

Should Ms. Stein be removed from office, do you pledge to vote as Ms. Stein would have, holding up your position as the representative of her constituents?

Thank you for your time, and your service. Again, you seemed like a good man and I understand you work hard to represent your voters. All we want to know is whether you will extend the same service to us?

I write for the blog Barefoot & Progressive and I will be posting this as an open letter to you on Friday (tomorrow) afternoon. I would appreciate a response before then — indeed, many of the voters of Lexington would appreciate it.

Most sincerely and with good wishes,

david.

Fetal Seance Bill Passes; Kathy Stein one of 4 voting against, Dorsey Ridley one of 32 voting for

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February 15, 2012
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The Senate made their annual vote yesterday on the Fetal Seance Bill, this year’s episode centers on SB 103 which makes it criminal for doctors not to force women to closely inspect an ultrasound of the inside of their own body before having an abortion.

The thinking behind this bill is pretty simple: Women are really stupid. Like really, really stupid. So because women are so g-ddamned stupid, they don’t understand anything about their bodies. That’s what this bill is all about, and that’s what 32 Senators voted to affirm.

That’s not to say these 32 misogynistic Senators don’t have hearts. They surely do!

The Fetal Seance Bill forces doctors (why is government getting between citizens and their doctors?) to “display the ultrasound images” so that the stupid woman can see it.

But the bill does not force the woman to look at the ultrasound. That stupid woman is granted the power to avert her eyes as the doctor is forced by state law to describe the images in great depth so that the stupid woman with the averted eyes is forced to picture the image in her mind. Because women are really stupid and they haven’t already fully considered the choice they have made with their own bodies before going to see this doctor.

Women are also so stupid that they need some stranger with cold hands in a lab coat to explain what they are doing because women are so stupid they just don’t understand, they can’t comprehend it. It’s not their fault… women are just made that way.

And the best part of this bill — the proof that the Senators who voted for this bill are actually decent people and not totally insane? — comes at the very end:

Neither the physician nor pregnant woman shall be subject to any penalty if the pregnant woman refuses to look at the presented ultrasound images.

How decent of them.

But what if she plugs her ears and goes “LALALALALALALALA” really loudly? Can we put her in jail then?

Here’s the vote:


It passed 32-4. Voting against, Shaughnessy, Harper Angel, Clark and… Lexington’s own, Ms. Kathy Stein.

Those four senators don’t believe women are basically incompetent versions of regular human beings.

Dorsey Ridley on the other hand.

Dorsey Ridley, the good senator from the great county of Henderson, voted “Yea,” lending his voice — yet again — to the worldview that believes it is better to torture a woman than trust her to make up her own mind.

Dorsey Ridley does still, as of this moment, represent Henderson and perhaps his vote accurately reflects his constituents. But Dorsey Ridley is the senator Damon Thayer (and Williams, Stumbo and Beshear) are trying to ram down Fayette County’s throats under the redistricting map. Currently the map that makes Ridley the Senator for Fayette County and expels Kathy Stein from office has been ruled unconstitutional. But if that changes, if the disenfranchisement bill wins out and Ridley somehow becomes the representative of downtown Lexington, where women are treated as respected members of the community not total morons, then good ol’ Dorsey’s gonna need to change his tune.

Redistricting Saga Continues: Supreme Court wants motions by Friday, could get sent back to Legislature

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February 15, 2012
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You Keep Me Hanging On by The Supremes on Grooveshark

H-L:

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Tuesday fast-tracked the appeal of a Franklin Circuit Court ruling that declared Kentucky’s newly drawn legislative districts unconstitutional.

The state’s highest court said all responses to all motions must be filed with its clerk by noon Friday.

Lawyers for Stumbo/Williams argue the disenfranchisement of Lexington voters and several Republican House districts was done meticulously with previous court rulings in mind. They argue that they knew exactly what they were doing, meant to do it, and have every right to do it. And voters can go             themselves.

Here are the Supremes. Will Scott, top left, has recused himself as HB1 redraws a district he’s running in… but you can learn all about them here.

The AP:

The changes produced some oddly shaped legislative districts. One House district was stretched from the Tennessee line in McCreary County, zigzagged narrowly through Laurel County, then encompassed all of Jackson County. One Senate district was stretched more than 130 miles from Barbourville to Morehead.

….Chief Justice John D. Minton has given attorneys in the Kentucky case until noon Friday to file all motions that the Supreme Court will need to consider before issuing a ruling. Lawmakers are hoping for a quick resolution because the lingering questions about redistricting have overshadowed other issues pending before the General Assembly.

One of those issues has been Beshear’s bill to open the Commonwealth to casino gambling. That bill was supposed to hit the legislature early in its session but instead didn’t show up until yesterday — Day 27 of 60 — as Thayer and Beshear kept pushing it back as redistricting uncertainty left legislators unclear how they wanted to vote or how secure they would be in their votes.

Obviously with the case still tied up in court, those questions remain but Beshear and Thayer and others have decided they just can’t wait for the Thayer/Williams/Stumbo disenfranchisement plan to come to fruition.

The C-J:

Questions over redistricting, however, could still pose problems for the amendment. The legislative redistricting issue remains in the courts on appeal — and the issue could be sent back to the legislature. That could mean a reopening of the filing period.

….One of the criticisms of that proposal was that it was filed late, on the 27th day of that 60-day session.

But Beshear and Thayer have said they believe there’s enough time this year for legislators to take up the amendment.

“We have plenty of time to pass this measure,” said Beshear, adding that he doesn’t know of any votes that he’s lost during the redistricting process.

Which is of course why he waited until half way through the session to propose it.

Mapmaker, Mapmaker make me a map

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February 14, 2012
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Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Grooveshark

After the Stumbo/Williams/Thayer/Beshear alliance went forward with plans to appeal Judge Shepherd’s decision to toss their redistricting maps, it became time to spend money on lawyers.

Secretary of State Grimes and Stumbo/Williams’ Legislative Research Commission have set aside $145,000 for the fight over the House and Senate disenfranchisement bill.

Brammer/Cheves report:

The Legislative Research Commission, which represents House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President David Williams in defending the districts from a constitutional challenge, has budgeted $95,000 for Louisville attorney Sheryl Snyder, although it may end up paying less depending on how much work is necessary.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and the state Board of Elections, also defendants, have budgeted $50,000 for the law firms of Tachau Meek in Louisville and Britton Osborne Johnson in Lexington. Those legal fees will be paid with public funds.

House Republicans, who brought the lawsuit, said they are privately raising funds to pay for their lawyers at Fultz Maddox Hovious & Dickens in Louisville.

“Our attorneys told us to look at a budget of $75,000,” House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, said Monday. “We’ve been asking people to help, including friends of members who are going to be adversely affected by the changes in district lines.”

According to Stumbo/Williams’ lawyer, Shepherd’s decision — finding the bill unconstitutional — was  “an unprecedented use of the power of an injunction to resolve a political question.”

In the motion to overturn the ruling, Snyder argues that Shepherd misapplied the law. But even if Shepherd is correct, Snyder contends, the old districts are even more unconstitutional because population changes in the past decade have made them too big or too small.

Stumbo’s House plan forces six GOP reps from office, while Williams’ Senate plan forces four Dems out — including the disappearing of Lexington’s Senate representation.

So again we see the odd alliances continuing as House Dems and Senate Republicans fight alongside the Governor’s office against House Republicans and Senate Democrats.

From the AP:

“While adherence to one person, one vote presents a justiciable controversy, the actual drawing of the lines in an apportionment plan is a quintessential political question,” Snyder wrote in the research committee’s appeal.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has not yet decided how to handle the appeal, spokeswoman Lynn Zellen said.

The legislature’s filing deadline has already passed three times. If the courts toss Shepherd’s ruling and force the Stumbo/Williams disenfranchisement map into effect, it creates a situation where people are filed for office in wrong districts (or nonexistent ones).

That uncertainty, among other problems, continues to complicate the Governor’s gambling plans as elected officials wait to see who they represent and who they’re running against before taking a position on a bill which, still, doesn’t explicitly exist.

But hey, at least we’re not alone. Kentucky is one of 23 states with an active redistricting lawsuit.

Republican Party pushes Garland Barr IV to wave white flag

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February 13, 2012
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A quick roundup of Congressional redistricting finds Andy Barr giving up in the 6th after his fellow Republicans strengthened themselves and left the Tea Panderer out in the cold.

The bill was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Beshear. After the House and Senate failed to come to an agreement on their own maps, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers got together and crafted a map of their own.

That map strengthens all incumbents, including Ben Chandler. This angered 6th District area Republicans, like state Sen. Damon Thayer. A week after trying to expunge the area’s own Senator, Thayer was forced to pivot, flip-flopping his position so that now he finds himself incensed and offended by the redistricting process. Our hearts go out to him, and the others. From the CJ:

Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, called HB 302 the “Ben Chandler Lifetime Employment Act.”

Thayer called the bill an “insult” to the people of Central Kentucky and described it as “horrific.”

….Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, complained that “we have turned our allegiance more to the congressional delegation than to the taxpayers.” He said the people in his district oppose the plan.

Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, said his constituents don’t want to move from the 6th District to the 2nd, as the plan requires.

He said the people in his district are “not a bit happy.”

Now unlike Thayer’s plan to disappear Kathy Stein, the Hal Rogers compromise map doesn’t do anything too crazy… it just shifts a few lines and Brett Guthrie should be a) concerned, and b) offended that so many Republicans are unhappy about now having his conservative credentials as their new Congressman.

What do Fayette-area Republicans have against Brett Guthrie?

Garland Barr IV was similarly offended by Hal Rogers’ plan. He said:

It’s weird that Barr and his Republican allies have taken this opportunity not to welcome their new voters or accept any challenge, but rather to throw up their hands, waving the white flag.

If you want to call it the “Ben Chandler Lifetime Employment Act” and you want to spend your time appealing to voters who can no longer vote for you because they are now represented by Brett Guthrie, that’s your choice, but it’s not particularly smart to declare your race lost while simultaneously alienating and denigrating your new voters.

[Check the HL for maps.]

The only explanation for why Barr and his allies would crap all over Hal Rogers and the Republican power nexus that crafted these maps is that the Barr campaign is continuing its strategy of pandering to the Tea Party.

Cynically believing the Tea Partiers and rank and file conservative activists to be total idiots, Andy Barr is trying to make them believe this was all Ben Chandler’s doing. Which is simply not true. Barr and 6th District republicans were pawned by Rogers and the Republican controlled delegation to make the other districts more conservative.

Each of the four Republican members, Reps. Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield, Hal Rogers and retiring Rep. Geoff Davis, are drawn into conservative-oriented seats.

There is a catch for Republicans, however: In keeping their House members safe, they also bolstered Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler by shifting more Democratic voters into his district. Chandler is a top GOP target who survived the 2010 election in one of the closest races of the year. Under the plan, Chandler’s Lexington-based 6th District seat will become slightly more Democratic-friendly.

Sonka/LEO’s Fat Lip has more on both the internal GOP squabbling that led to this compromise, as well as some sharp words from Ms. Kathy Stein for Thayer and Kerr and a quick numbers game looking at how the new 6th might alter vote turnouts for Barr and Chandler.

GOP internal squabbling leads to congressional redistricting deal

Though it looked like congressional redistricting would go to the courts, since the legislature couldn’t reach a compromise, that will no longer be the case. A wild morning full of emotions and accusations lead to the passage of House Bill 302, which will now go in the books and finalize the boundaries for congressional districts in Kentucky.

Though an agreement appeared to be reached a week ago, it was nixed at the last minute by central Kentuckian Republicans, particularly Sen. Damon Thayer and 6th District congressional candidate Andy Barr, who got Tea Partiers from their area to flood Republican senators with calls telling them not to agree to it. While the deal reached eased the concerns of Republicans in other districts, it does give Chandler a slightly more favorable district than what he previously had. In nixing the deal, several Republicans were quite liberal in expressing their anger at Barr for sabotaging it (particularly Tom Jensen).

Click it and go.

The Appeal of Re-redistricting?

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February 9, 2012
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What’s the state of Kentucky democracy?

Who knows!

Stumbo tells the Herald the House will appeal Judge Shepherd’s ruling that his and the Senate’s disenfranchisement maps were unconstitutional:

“We intend to move forward on an appellate basis in some form or fashion even if the Senate chooses not to,” Stumbo said Wednesday.

If the Senate does not agree to pursue an appeal, then the House Democrats may file the lawsuit, he said.

And Stumbo tells the Courier that the House would rather just put an end to this madness, and that they won’t appeal his and Williams’ unconstitutional disenfranchisement maps:

“I think probably most people just want some end, if you will, to this situation and want to know where they are going to run, when they are going to run and who they’re going to run against,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said in an interview.

What can you take from this? Well, they still have time, but perhaps what we’re looking at is a November election with the old map while the State Supreme Court rules or clarifies rules over the new map.

So the new map would then be the old map and the old map is actually, if no appeal happens before Friday, the new map.

One of these is total shit.

If all of this conflicting reporting, or seemingly conflicted reporting, isn’t enough for you… check out the competing editorials.

The Courier Journal Editorial Board:

When it comes to drawing new districts, legislators have already proven they’re not up to the task of working for the public good; it’s been all about them. So here’s a suggestion:

They should punt on a new redistricting plan for now. They should drop any thought of appealing the judge’s order, nor should they try to pull a redistricting rabbit out of the hat in the next few days — magicians, they aren’t.

They should take the judge’s advice on holding elections in the districts as they stand now, and then get back to the rest of the business of the session that has been stalled by this depressing failure of leadership.

The Herald Leader Editorial Board:

To appeal or not to appeal was Wednesday’s question of the day in the halls of the state Capitol. Here’s one vote for appeal, but not because we think Judge Phillip Shepherd got it wrong when he enjoined state election officials from implementing the legislative redistricting plan recently passed by the General Assembly.

To the contrary, Shepherd’s ruling appears to be in complete agreement with Kentucky’s current case law on the subject. But as Shepherd noted in his written decision, current case law has had some “unintended consequences.” An appeal of his decision would give the state Supreme Court a chance to address those consequences.

UPDATED: Stumbo, Hoover, Beshear talk chances of Redistricting Appeal

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February 8, 2012
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Jeff Hoover, leader of the Republican Minority in the State House,  was on 970 WGTK (“Intelligent conservative talk radio”) this afternoon to talk redistricting.

Hoover was the leader of the Republican challenge to the redistricting plan. That challenge was joined by Kathy Stein and yesterday, Judge Shepherd ruled the redistricting plan unconstitutional.

That ruling is appealable. So, does Jeff Hoover think it will be?

“Yesterday I thought that would happen,” Hoover told host Joe Elliott, “Today, I’m not so sure. Some member of the majority party would just as soon run in existing districts.”

Hoover explained that an appeal would most likely come from the Legislative Research Committee which is chaired by the Speaker of the House (Democrat Greg Stumbo) and the President of the Senate (Republican David Williams).

At the same time, CN|2 caught up with Stumbo who may be licking his wounds. Stumbo is insisting he could win an appeal but seems to be indicating no appeal will come before the newest filing deadline — this Friday.

When asked if House Democrats are preparing to challenge Franklin Circuit Judge Phil Shepherd’s ruling on Tuesday, Stumbo said: “I think an appeal would be successful, let me say that, but I don’t think we could probably get some relief from the courts order before the filing deadline passes on Friday.”

So, for now House members prepare to run under the old maps.

Stumbo is saying he could win an appeal, while Hoover is saying many of Stumbo’s members would rather just put this behind them.

At the same time, if the districts are left as they have been for the past decade, some will be unconstitutionally large or small so they could be challenged on that ground.

For his part, Hoover foresees the Legislature revisiting the redistricting battle before the end of the year but probably after the November elections.

Another reason Stumbo and Beshear might not seek an appeal of Shepherd’s decision is the idea of moving forward on the Governor’s gambling bill. Reports the Herald:

Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday he will wait “a few more days” to unveil his long-anticipated constitutional amendment to expand gambling because of the uncertainty of legislative redistricting.

“I think we still have plenty of time to address that issue after redistricting is settled,” Beshear said to reporters after a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda to honor Black History Month.

Beshear said last December that he will present in the 2012 General Assembly a constitutional amendment to expand gambling. Wednesday is the 24th day of the 60-day session that must end by April 15.

Damon Thayer told the Herald that he and the Governor still felt there was plenty of time to get that passed. But Hoover, who of course is in a different House and has his own agenda, indicated that Beshear’s claim of having the 23 votes needed was quite a bit off and that someone might have a problem with counting.

For now, we wait for Friday at 4PM.

 

***UPDATE***
WFPL:

“Our initial position will be we’ll ask the court to uphold the constitutionality and validity of House Bill 1 and lift the injunction,’” Stumbo says. “But if they don’t do that, then obviously we told our members and recommended to our members that they prepare to run in the old districts.

 

***UPDATE #2***

Alford/AP:

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Shepherd’s ruling will be appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court. If the high court overturns the ruling, it could mean yet another round of election filings.

“We believe there needs to be clarification on this issue from the highest court in Kentucky,” Stumbo said. “Everybody just wants finality. We think this is the cleanest, simplest way to bring some finality to this issue so that we can move on to other important issues.”

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