Redistricting, 2-year budget top agenda for lawmakers
Published 12:03 pm Monday, January 3, 2022
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky lawmakers will return to the State Capitol on Tuesday for the 2022 regular session of the General Assembly with legislative redistricting and a two-year state budget at the top of their agenda.
Redistricting is likely to be the first major project legislators will undertake. It is done every 10 years, due to population shifts within the state that appear in the results from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Since the release of Census data was delayed until the fall, redistricting will be done in two phases. The first week will see legislation passed that moves the filing deadline back to Jan. 25. It had been Jan. 7, but redistricting won’t be enacted until after that date, so candidates won’t know in which district they reside until the redistricting bill is enacted. The later date was the traditional one, but was recently moved up, since no controversial bills are voted upon until after the filing deadline, so it doesn’t inspire challengers to enter the race.
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Once the bill changing the filing date is passed and signed into law by the Governor, then they can begin the process of redistricting itself. The House Republicans unveiled the plan for their chamber this past week, but the Senate Republicans won’t release their plans which include their chamber and Kentucky’s six Congressional districts until lawmakers are gaveled into session.
Since the GOP has a supermajority in both the House and Senate, it is likely their plans would be adopted, unless there is a mass defection of Republicans to vote no.
Once the governor signs the redistricting bills, they can still be challenged in court.
The second major task, which happens in every even-numbered year, is to enact a biennial state spending plan for the next two fiscal years, which start July 1. This would be the first two-year budget enacted since 2018, as lawmakers in the 2020 session only passed a one-year plan, due to uncertainty over state revenue, since the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun. The second year’s budget was enacted during the 2021 session.
With a record surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021, and state revenues continuing during the current one, lawmakers will have more money available than in the last several years.
Those two projects aside, the normal crush of legislation is expected over the rest of the 60-day session, which including recesses and holidays must end on April 14.
So far, nearly 200 bill requests have been generated in a process they refer to as pre-filing, since nothing can actually be filed with each chamber’s Clerk until lawmakers convene. The topics range from accountants to workforce.
Go to https://legislature.ky.gov, to track the progress of the session and read in full any legislation in which you have an interest.
In addition, the chambers, and any committee meetings, can be viewed live on KET.