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Kentucky Senator Barred From Seat

January 15, 2005|From Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A Republican state senator may not take any official action or get paid because she was not a qualified resident of Kentucky before the election, a judge ruled Friday.

Franklin County Circuit Judge William Graham's temporary injunction prohibits Dana Seum Stephenson from "sitting as a state senator, from performing any official duties of the office as state senator, from receiving or accepting any pay for the office of state senator and from participating in the affairs of the General Assembly."

Senate President David Williams, a Republican, said he expected to appeal Friday's ruling and seek an immediate review by the Supreme Court.

Stephenson said she planned to appeal and "continue to fight to make sure the will of the voters in my district prevails."

Stephenson received more votes than Democrat Virginia Woodward in their Jefferson County race, but Woodward went to court before the election and won a judicial ruling that Stephenson did not meet the six-year residency requirement in the state constitution.

Woodward was certified by the State Board of Elections as the only candidate receiving votes and took an oath of office Jan. 1 as a senator.

The Republican-controlled Senate, however, later voted to seat Stephenson, even though a special committee appointed to review the case also determined Stephenson did not meet the residency requirement.

Graham's order said the initial judicial ruling, which Stephenson did not appeal, left the case within the jurisdiction of the courts.

Jennifer Moore, Woodward's lawyer, said Friday the court could declare the seat vacant, which would require a special election.

Counting Stephenson, Republicans hold a 22-15 advantage over Democrats with one independent.

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