EARLIER: Redistricting plan leaves Shelby whole

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State Rep. Brad Montell's district would grow north.

By Lisa King

The redistricting plan that was passed by the state House of Representatives on Thursday leaves Shelby County as its own district – but adds to it on the north.

House Bill 1, powered by the majority Democrats, passed by a vote of 63-34 at about 4:30 p.m, calling for a split of 28 counties and requiring face-off elections among 11 seated representatives.

State Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) said the plan was passed out of committee on Wednesday and that it calls for him to lose his Spencer County voters and gain a portion of Oldham County.

“I picked up twenty-five hundred from Oldham County,” he said. “What it means for our district [58] is that it will keep Shelby County whole.

“Statewide, there are twenty-two counties that because there are so many people in them they have to be split, and we have just gotten to that threshold,” he said. “What this means for the people of Shelby County is that they will not see any changes.”

Montell, who has represented the 58th district since 2003, said he does not like the fact that he will no longer represent Spencer County, but his district had grown too large.

“The ideal population is right at forty-three thousand, and I was sixteen to eighteen thousand over [with Spencer],” he said. “So they had to prune me back somewhere.

“I’m most pleased in the fact that they did not split Shelby County, and they could have. That was the number one thing I was concerned about, that we’re intact.”

Montell expressed disappointment that a Republican amendment to the bill was defeated.

The amendment, which called for him to represent Shelby County only, was better than the Democrat’s version that was approved, he said.

“We feel like the amendment that we offered was more constitutional, where the other one was not because it splits fewer counties,” he said.

Montell said House Bill 1 would put 43,000 people in each district.

Montell said he expects the bill to go before the Senate next week, probably on Tuesday, where he expects it to pass, he said.

“The Senate will not mess with what the House does, so once it passes the House, it’s going to slide through,” he said.

State Sen. Paul Hornback echoed Montell’s expectations that a redistricting plan will go before the Senate next week.

“We have not done anything in the Senate, but I’m expecting we will on Tuesday,” he said. “I don’t want to speculate too much, but the one thing I will say is that I’ve looked at all the districts in the state, and our change won’t be near as drastic as what you saw in the House today [the original bill passed Wednesday].

“We’ll be redrawing all the districts, and some had to lose members and some had to gain, but my district will probably change more than any district in the state, but I do not want them to split Bullitt County; I do not want that.

“But altogether, I might be a little biased, but our plans seems fair to all members.”

Shelby County Clerk Sue Carole Perry said her main concern in the process was that legislative boundaries would be split in Shelby County.

“We are working on our precincts right now, and we’re going on the assumption we’re not going to be split, because we have to get this done ASAP,” she said Wednesday. “So as soon as they say, ‘We’re done,’ and Shelby County’s all one district, then we can send it in and get it approved. Because we just have to make sure they (legislative lines) don’t cross magisterial lines.”

States are required to reconfigure new congressional district lines each time the U.S. Census is conducted to ensure that districts have a more equal number of voters, to conform with shifting population growth.

But the redrawing of the congressional districts – which would affect U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green), who represents Shelby County – is another matter.

Michael Goins, director of communications for the House Republican Leadership, said Republicans were not in favor of the original plan, which called for the state House to be split mostly along party lines in redrawing Kentucky’s six congressional districts, a move that the House approved. 54-42.

“The congressional redistricting plan was voted on yesterday; all of our 40 members, including Rep. Brad Montell, voted against that plan and they were joined by two Democrats,” he said.

“They had redone the lines so that ten of our members will have to face an incumbent,” Montell said. “That’s the way that politics works, but it’s dirty, and it doesn’t feel very good.”

Goins said the Senate will draw up its own districts and will come up with a proposal as well, but he doesn’t know when.

Courtney Norris, spokesperson for Guthrie said Guthrie did not agree with the House plan and would like to maintain his district (2nd Congressional) as much as possible.

“[He] recognizes that because of the growing population, some changes have to be made, and ultimately state legislators will come with a plan and he respects their role in the process,” Norris said.