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Thursday, March 7, 2013

LRC’s Capitol Notes: House OKs redistricting; Senate passes special tax district legislation

House Bill 2 redraws Kentucky House districts. (Map from Office of Kentucky House Speaker)


By Scott Payton
Special to KyForward

The Kentucky House voted 53-46 last night for a state legislative redistricting plan that would redraw the lines for Kentucky’s House districts. (See Fayette County, Jefferson County and Northern Kentucky detail below.)

House Bill 2, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would create seven new districts and split some current districts without violating the constitutional standard of “one person, one vote, ” Stumbo said. He also told members before the vote that the legislation meets state and federal mandates.

Each district under HB 2 would have a population within the allowed deviation of five percent from 43,308—the ideal size of a House district based on the state’s total population of 4,380,415, Stumbo said.

HB 2 now goes to the Senate.

(Maps from Office of the Kentucky House Speaker)

Senate approves special taxing district legislation

A bill aimed at increasing transparency and accountability of the state’s special taxing districts was approved by the Kentucky Senate today.

House Bill 1, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would require “special purpose government entities” in the state to submit administrative and financial information to the Department of Local Government. That information would then be posted in an online registry and available to the public.

According to Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, the bill would apply to more than 1,300 special taxing districts in the state that raise and spend approximately $4 billion in public money annually. These entities include public library boards and fire and water districts, among others. They are found in more than 117 Kentucky counties.

As amended by the Senate, the bill would also give fiscal courts the power to veto certain tax increases proposed by special districts. It would also make the results of audits of districts covered under the legislation available for public review on the online registry, Thayer said.

The Senate changes to House Bill 1 “add much-needed oversight to special districts across the Commonwealth,” he said.

The measure was passed on a 23-10 vote. Opponents of the bill cited concerns about allowing fiscal courts veto power over the taxing districts.

House Bill 1 now goes back to the House of Representatives for consideration of the Senate changes.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

For more information, contact scott.payton@lrc.ky.gov

NOTE: The Legislature welcomes and encourages your comments and questions. There are several easy ways you can stay in touch with your General Assembly.

The Kentucky Legislature home page provides information on each of the Commonwealth’s senators and representatives, including phone numbers, addressees and committee assignments. The site also provides bill texts, a bill-tracking service and committee meeting schedules.

By going to The LRC Public Information eNews page, you can subscribe to frequent email updates on what’s happening at the Capitol.

You can also follow legislative action by phone with these toll-free numbers:

· A taped Calendar Line containing information on the next day’s legislative committee meetings is updated daily at 800-633-9650.

· To check the status of a bill, you may call the Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835.

· To leave a message for any legislator, call the General Assembly’s Message Line at 800-372-7181. People with hearing difficulties may leave messages for lawmakers by calling the TTY Message Line at 800-896-0305.

· You may write any legislator by sending a letter with the lawmaker’s name to: Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Ave., Frankfort, 40601.

Scott Payton is an assistant public information officer for the Kentucky Legislature



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