Call to Order and Roll Call
The3rd meeting of the Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs of the Interim Joint Committee on State Government was held on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at 1:00 PM, in Room 171 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Darryl T. Owens, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Damon Thayer, Co-Chair; Representative Darryl T. Owens, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Jimmy Higdon, Alice Forgy Kerr, Gerald A. Neal, R.J. Palmer II, John Schickel, and Dan "Malano" Seum; Representatives Kevin D. Bratcher, Mike Cherry, Larry Clark, James R. Comer Jr., Joseph M. Fischer, Derrick Graham, Mike Harmon, Melvin B. Henley, Mary Lou Marzian, and John Will Stacy.
Guests: Sarah M. Jackson, Executive Director, Emily Dennis, General Counsel, Kentucky Registry of Election Finance; Dale Ho, Assistant Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; LaDonna H. Thompson, Commissioner, Craig Thatcher, IT Branch Manager, Kentucky Department of Corrections.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the July 26, 2011 meeting were approved without objection, upon motion by Representative Henley and second by Senator Thayer.
Trending Now – Top Ten Current Campaign Finance Questions
Sarah Jackson and Emily Dennis from the Registry of Election Finance presented the top ten campaign finance questions heard by the Registry. Some of the issues discussed included whether campaign finance regulations apply to funds spent to get an issue on the ballot, whether candidates and committees can use raffles to raise funds or solicit contributions, whether sitting legislators can retain funds raised for one district seat if that district seat number is changed by redistricting, whether Kentucky candidates can accept funds from a federally registered political action committee without subjecting the committee to Kentucky reporting requirements, whether judicial candidates can solicit contributions, and whether corporations can make contributions to candidates as a result of the United States Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case. Copies of the presentation were distributed to members, and a copy is available in the LRC library.
Several members of the Task Force posed questions and voiced their opinions and concerns on the Registry’s presentation.
Counting Prison Populations for Redistricting
Dale Ho, Assistant Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, discussed how and where prison populations are counted by the United States Census Bureau and how those populations are considered in the redistricting process. Mr. Ho discussed model legislation on reallocating prison populations from the facilities where they are housed to the prisoners’ last known residential addresses, and he advised the where similar legislation has been adopted. He offered demographic examples of several of Kentucky’s counties and testified as to how the prison population in those counties can affect relative representation in a redistricting plan, particularly at the local level. Mr. Ho distributed information folders to the members, and a copy is available in the LRC library.
LaDonna Thompson, Commissioner, and Craig Thatcher, IT Branch Manager, of the Kentucky Department of Corrections, testified as to the ability of the Department to report the last known residential address to the General Assembly if a process of prisoner reallocation were adopted as part of future redistricting processes. Commissioner Thompson and Mr. Thatcher provided members with a spreadsheet showing prison population by county of conviction and said other reports could be available to better understand the location and prior residence of Kentucky’s prison population.
The members asked questions and voiced their concerns on how the prison population is currently allocated in Kentucky and other states and how a changed system of allocation might alter the redistricting process. Some members inquired as to how prisoners from other states should be allocated, how prisoners differ from students or members of the military who might also be present in a location on the date the census is conducted but not have an intent to stay permanently, and how this issue might be similar or different to how homeless persons are counted – with a comparison to how these persons register to vote, an issue that was discussed in the July meeting of the Task Force.
Business concluded, and the meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.