The release of proposed state Senate and Congressional legislative redistricting maps on Tuesday evening would put Franklin County in different districts.

Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, who serves as chair of the Senate State and Local Government Committee, introduced the legislation during the first day of the 2022 regular session.

“Ensuring equal representation among the state’s population is a great responsibility entrusted to the legislative branch,” Mills said in a statement. “We have worked hard to ensure these maps meet the requirements outlined by federal law and the Constitutions of the United States and Kentucky.”

According to the newly released state Senate maps, Franklin County would move from the 7th District to the 20th District.

Sen. Adrienne Southworth, R-Lawrenceburg, currently serves the 7th District, which includes Franklin, Anderson, Owen, Gallatin and Woodford counties.

Under the proposal, Shelby, Anderson and Henry counties would fall in the 7th District.

The 20th District is represented by Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville. The 20th District presently includes the counties of Carroll, Henry, Shelby, Trimble and a portion of Jefferson.

Per the legislative redistricting plan, Franklin, Owen, Carroll and Gallatin counties as well as part of Boone and a portion of Kenton would fall in the 20th District.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, two people have filed to run for Senator in the 20th District — Aaron Reed, a Republican from Simpsonville, and Wayne A. Karem, a Republican from Shelbyville. Both cities are located in Shelby County. If the redistricting proposal passes, they would be campaigning for the 7th District as the 20th District would no longer include Shelby County.

The newly drafted Congressional districts would move Franklin County from the 6th Congressional District to the 1st Congressional District. Rep. Andy Barr, R, currently holds the 6th District seat, which presently serves Franklin, Anderson, Woodford, Scott, Fayette, Madison, Estill, Wolfe, Powell, Clark, Bourbon, Nicholas, Robertson, Fleming, Bath, Montgomery, Menifee and parts of Harrison and Jessamine counties.

The 1st Congressional District seat is presently held by fellow Republican Rep. James Comer and includes Fulton, Hickman, Carlisle, Ballard, McCracken, Graves, Calloway, Marshall, Trigg, Lyon, Caldwell, Christian, Todd, Logan, Simpson, Allen, Monroe, Cumberland, Clinton, Russell, Metcalfe, Adair, Livingston, Crittenden, Union, Henderson, Webster, Hopkins, McLean, Ohio, Muhlenberg, Casey, Taylor and Marion counties and a small part of Washington County.

Under the new proposal, the 1st Congressional District would run from Franklin County to the Tennessee border and include the other following counties: Anderson (part), Washington, Boyle, Marion, Taylor, Casey, Adair, Russell, Clinton, Cumberland, Metcalfe, Monroe, Allen, Simpson, Todd, Christian, Trigg, Calloway, Graves, Fulton, Hickman, Carlisle, Ballard, McCracken, Livingston, Lyon, Caldwell, Crittenden, Hopkins, Webster, Union, Henderson and a small portion of Logan County.

Comer, who has already filed to run in the 2022 Primary, said Wednesday that he would be fine with representing Frankfort while acknowledging he had expressed another remapping preference to legislative leaders.

“My first choice was to add Barren and Green counties,” Comer said in a phone interview with the Associated Press, referring to more rural and reliably Republican territory. “That would have made the district whole. ... But I’ll represent whatever the Kentucky General Assembly comes up with. I’m happy to represent Frankfort.”

Comer and his wife have homes in Monroe and Franklin counties in Kentucky. They purchased the Franklin County home a decade ago when he was state agriculture commissioner, which meant that his work was based in Frankfort.

The only other candidate who has filed paperwork to run for U.S. Representative in the 1st District is Republican David L. Sharp of Madisonville.

Shifting Franklin County out of the 6th District is likely to change the political calculus in what was a swing district for decades.

“It makes it a safe district for Andy Barr, if it wasn’t already. That is the most Democratic county outside Fayette, and there’s no other Democratic bastion,” longtime political commentator Al Cross told the AP.

Barr carried Franklin County in the last election but lost the county to Democratic challenger Amy McGrath in 2018.

On Tuesday, Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) also filed Senate Bill 20, which would reinstate the previous judicial process of a sole arbiter, rather than convening a three-judge panel on redistricting. The change would avoid a potentially long judicial review of the maps. SB 20 has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

Redrawing of legislative maps occurs every decade following the United States Census Bureau’s release of decennial census data. The U.S. Constitution and federal law requires redistricting to provide for equal representation among the population. The Constitution of Kentucky requires that districts must be contiguous and preserve whole counties when possible and the Legislature has the sole authority to redraw the boundaries.

According to 2020 Census data, the population of Kentucky grew by 0.1% to just over 4.5 million residents. Divided among the state’s 38 state Senate districts equates to a population deviation of +/- 5% of 112,647 to 124,503 citizens per district. For Kentucky’s six Congressional districts, it equates to approximately 751,000 per district.

State Senate and Congressional maps, SB 2 and 3 respectively, have been designated as priority legislation. They have been assigned to the Senate Standing Committee on State and Local Government. A committee hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday.

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