COLUMN: Who's on (the ballot) first?

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By Shannon Brock

Parts of this year’s legislative session have reminded this reporter of the comedy sketch, “Who’s on First?” made popular by the vaudeville act Abbott and Costello.
Though not nearly as humorous, the jockeying around of state representatives — especially as they pertain to Spencer County — has been just as confusing.
Just when we think we’ve figured out an answer to the question, “Who’s our representative?” one side or the other throws a curve ball to mix us up once again.
Since 2002, Spencer County has been split three ways, to be included in parts of the 50th, 55th and 58th districts.
Those seats are currently filled by David Floyd, Kim King and Brad Montell, respectively.
Enter the 2010 Census, which again proved Spencer to be the county with the most growth in Kentucky over the past decade. Because numbers all across the state have changed, legislators are required to redraw district boundaries to make sure districts are of as equal a size as possible.
Honestly, who wouldn’t expect some political motivation from the parties in power when these changes take place? It’s bound to happen, but my goodness, this time around just seems ridiculous.
Perhaps it always happens this way, and by the time 10 years pass, we forget about it and get confused again. Or maybe, I’m just noticing because I’m a bit of youngster — the last time this happened I was a junior in high school.
Anyway, the House and Senate passed House Bill 1, which Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law last month.
Under that plan, Spencer as a whole, was grouped into the 55th district with all of Anderson County and part of Mercer.
But, Kim King, who is the representative for the 55th district, lives in the part of Mercer County that had been reassigned to the 54th district.
However, a suit was filed claiming that HB1 was unconstitutional, and a Franklin Circuit Court judge agreed.
So Spencer went from having three representatives, to virtually none (until someone in the district could be elected), and then back to having three again.
I say this lightly, but it appears as though Rep. Montell has been the least affected. If Spencer County was/is/will be taken from him, he’ll still represent Shelby County.
Rep. King had the district she has represented over a year taken from her and given back in only a matter of weeks.
Rep. Floyd filed to seek reelection, then decided to run for a Senate seat created under HB1, then had to file for reelection as state representative again.
Floyd has filed a bill, HB359, which would require that newly created state legislative districts take effect on Jan. 1 of the following year to allow state House members, who serve two-year terms, and members of the Senate, who serve four-year terms, to complete their term of office in the district to which they were elected.
The bill would still require anyone seeking office in a state legislative district to file their intent no later than 4 p.m. local time on the last Tuesday in January before that year’s primary, and no earlier than the day after the governor signs redistricting legislation into law, or the day the legislation otherwise becomes law.
This bill doesn’t solve all of the problems we’ve seen this year — for instance, had this been in effect this year, we would still have the ever-changing filing deadlines — but at least the people would know who is on their side in Frankfort.