Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Virginia Politics 2009 -- Bi-Partisan Redistricting

Lawmakers want bipartisan panel to address Virginia redistricting

By William C. Flook
D.C. Examiner Staff Writer 12/2/08

Supporters of creating a bipartisan panel to redraw Virginia’s legislative districts are reviving their perennial effort before lawmakers return to Richmond next month, hoping to reform a process long left up to party leadership.

Virginia’s congressional and General Assembly district lines are set to be shifted in 2011 based upon population data from the 2010 census. Critics say the current system of allowing the majority party in each house to redraw their own lines has created plentiful safe seats for incumbents and few truly contested districts.

Bills that instead would put redistricting in the hands of an independent panel have been killed for years. Last session, such a bill from Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, met its end in a House subcommittee.

Deeds, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, has filed another bill for the upcoming legislative session in January that would set up the panel.

“The problem with the process now is the people are not the first consideration,” Deeds said Monday. “The first consideration is the protection of incumbents and the protection of partisanship. We can do better.”

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