Redistricting needs to be put on hold

Daily News
January 4, 2013

In odd numbers years Kentucky's legislative session is a short one, which means less time to get the people's work done.

There are many tough issues facing our state and those issues should move to the forefront now rather than expending precious time squabbling over redistricting like the legislature did in 2012.

The legislature should put off the issue of redistricting until 2014's longer session, when lawmakers will have more time to deal with that issue. A special session focused on redistricting is another option.

Legislative leaders are at odds on whether to postpone this divisive issue for another year.

Incoming Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said lawmakers aren't rushed to redraw boundaries around legislative districts because the next round of elections isn't until 2014.

Stivers has a good point. He sees that other issues need to be dealt with during the short session. Trying to tackle the issue of redistricting could overshadow these issues.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, wants it done as quickly as possible after the legislature convenes Tuesday Stumbo says he's not going to be a part of holding redistricting over someone's head to vote on something else.

Mr. Stumbo would be wise to go after much more important issues, such as trying to fix a $30 billion shortfall in the pension system for government retirees. He and his colleagues also need to look at reforming the state's tax code and shoring up a financially strained Medicaid program.

One only has to remember how much time and turmoil redistricting caused in 2012 – so much so that it overshadowed any other real work of the session. It was a disaster and the Kentucky Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the new legislative districts were not balanced by population and had to be redrawn.

Redistricting has to be dealt with but now is not the time. Kentucky has too many far more pressing issues that need to be addressed in this short session. We're hopeful the legislature realizes that and focuses on them.