Friday, January 28, 2022

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The Indiana House passes a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory; and President Biden pledges to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time.

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Justice Stephen Breyer formally announces his retirement; the Dept. of Education will help students who fell behind during the pandemic; and AZ lawmakers consider a bill granting them control over elections.

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Free COVID tests by mail but some rural Americans need to go the extra mile; farmer storytellers join national campaign to battle corporate consolidation; specialty nurses want more authority; and rare bat gets credit for the mythic margarita.

Filing Deadline, Redistricting, Tornado Relief Dominate New Legislative Session

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Thursday, January 13, 2022   

The legislative session has just begun, but lawmakers already have greenlighted redistricting maps and moved the filing deadline for candidates in the 2022 primary election from January 7 to January 25.

Republican lawmakers' new maps redraw geographical boundaries for Kentucky's U.S. Congressional seats, and state Senate and House seats.

Rep. Angie Hatton - D-Whitesburg - said she believes residents haven't had an opportunity to review the maps, raise concerns or offer alternatives.

"And I believe that undermines confidence in our lawmakers and in our entire government process," said Hatton, "when there's such a rush that there's a lack of transparency."

Groups such as the Kentucky League of Women Voters argue that the maps for the state's largest counties - Jefferson, Fayette and Kenton - do not include enough district and precinct data to understand the impact of the new boundaries.

Republican lawmakers argue the maps are constitutional and reflect population shifts based on the latest census data. Gov. Andy Beshear could reject the new boundaries, but the General Assembly could potentially override a veto.

Hatton said there have been significant population shifts from rural areas toward the state's more dense central and Northern regions. She said she believes the maps dilute urban districts, which tend to favor Democrats.

"If we continue to make maps that are gerrymandered or blatantly unfair," said Hatton, "we're going to get to the point where not only do we keep a supermajority, but we get down to the point where only primary elections are contested in the state."

This week, Senate lawmakers also have advanced a $200 milllion relief measure to assist western Kentucky residents affected by last month's tornadoes with housing and education services.





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