Senate Democrats Pass Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Legislation
RICHMOND – Although a redistricting battle has been anticipated in the Virginia General Assembly, Senate Democrats reached across the aisle on Tuesday to proffer the process won't begin with a political fist-fight.
Today, the Senate passed Joint Resolution 321, patroned by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D- Charlottesville), to establish the Virginia Redistricting Commission.
The 13-member commission will redraw Congressional and General Assembly District lines based on census data. Commission appointments will be made by the president pro tempore of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Delegates, Senate and House minority leaders, and the chairmen of the Virginia Democratic and Republican Parties. The Commission's 13th member will be selected by other members.
This is the fourth year in a row that Senate Democrats have passed a bipartisan redistricting committee bill. Previous legislation was killed by House Republicans.
"This is the fifth year we've had legislation of this sort on the floor of the Senate. This is not legislation to create an advisory commission, rather in the words of the Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial Board, this legislation establishes a mandate to enact," Deeds said.
"If Governor McDonnell would have urged the Republican House of Delegates last year to support bipartisan redistricting, there would be no need for the General Assembly to revisit this issue. We implore Governor McDonnell to not drop the ball and help get this legislation passed this year," said Senate Democratic Caucus Communications Director Keiana Page. "It is up to Governor McDonnell whether this passes or not."