Gov. Andy Beshear gives his approval to plan to redistrict Kentucky Supreme Court

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Gov. Andy Beshear signed two redistricting bills into law Tuesday — one creating new boundaries for Kentucky Supreme Court districts and another changing the process for legal challenges to redistricting maps.

House Bill 179 redistricted the Supreme Court for the first time in decades, taking into account massive population shifts away from rural Western Kentucky and Appalachia.

The Fourth District, made up of only Jefferson County, was unchanged, as Supreme Court districts may not be split.

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Whereas legal challenges to redistricting had required a randomly selected panel of three circuit court judges, Senate Bill 20 would instead put such litigation in the circuit court of the plaintiff's county.

Both bills had passed the General Assembly with large, bipartisan majorities, though Beshear is still weighing a decision on three other redistricting bills that were more contentious — altering the maps of the state House and Senate and Kentucky's six congressional districts.

House Bill 2, changing the districts for that chamber, received the most criticism from Democrats for cracking relatively large and Democratic cities into two or more districts that were combined with more conservative outlying areas, such as in Covington, Bowling Green and Hopkinsville.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear delivered the State of The Commonwealth at the Capitol on Jan. 5, 2022.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear delivered the State of The Commonwealth at the Capitol on Jan. 5, 2022.

Senate Bill 2, redistricting that chamber, passed by a wide margin but received more criticism from Republicans — such as Sen. Adrienne Southworth, R-Lawrenceburg, who decried having her district switched almost entirely with that of Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, who also voted against it for that reason.

The new congressional maps under Senate Bill 3 received a round of mockery for its new oddly shaped First Congressional District, which begins at the western edge of the state, swoops down to a southern swath and then spikes up all the way to Franklin County in Central Kentucky.

Even if Beshear vetoes any of the three bills, Republicans hold an overwhelming majority in each chamber and could easily override them.

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Beshear has until Thursday to decide whether to sign or veto them, but they would also become law if he does neither.

Democrats have suggested they are considering litigation to block at least HB 2 if it goes into law.

Reach reporter Joe Sonka at jsonka@courierjournal.com and follow him on Twitter at @joesonka. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today at the top of this page.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Beshear signs bills on redistricting challenges, KY Supreme Court map

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