Every 10 years after each national census, Kentucky’s Constitution requires the State Legislature to realign our voting districts according to population. The Governor called the Legislature back into Special Session to accomplish just this. The 34th Senatorial District is now made up of Madison and Rockcastle counties with a portion southern Fayette. The new plan in the Senate divides the minimum number of counties and no precincts. It was developed with input from all members of the Senate, Republicans and Democrats. It is not a partisan, politically driven map, no incumbents are drawn together, and the map meets all the tenets of a constitutionally correct redistricting plan.
It is a long-standing tradition that each chamber draws its own district lines with an unwritten agreement to approve each other’s plan. While I was pleased to support our Senate map that drew our chamber’s new lines, I had concerns about the map drawn by the House of Representatives. It appeared to give more weight to politics rather than to doing what is right for Kentucky. The map defining the new House lines also divided Madison County five ways.
However, I believe in moving forward, not backwards. While I expressed my concerns on the Senate floor concerning the House map, I also pledged to continue working with everyone and anyone willing to fight for Madison County’s interest in the state capitol.
Costs of special sessions are a concern that many Kentuckians have and I certainly share those concerns. Since the Legislature was scheduled to be in Frankfort, Senate and House Leadership decided to move all of the August interim committee meetings to the week of session, in order to offset the cost of a Special Session. This included the Natural Resources and Energy Committee which I chair. We had an informational meeting about the economic impact of the natural gas and oil industrial on Kentucky. This sector has grown significantly both in production and job creation and become a viable economic driver.
At the conclusion of the special session, the Governor signed House Bill 1, the redistricting bill. With the special session in the books, I will continue my committee work in Frankfort and prepare for the regular session in January. I can be reached through the Legislative Research Commission’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181. You can also check the committee schedule and learn more about what the committees are doing at www.lrc.ky.gov.
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Note: Senator Jared Carpenter (R-Berea) is the Chairman of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee and Vice-Chair of both the Banking and Insurance Committee and the Special Subcommittee on Energy. He also serves on the Education Committee. He represents the 34th District including Madison and Rockcastle counties with a portion southern Fayette.