HJR 181Background and Procedural Information
On January 9, 2008 Virginia Democratic House Delegate William Barlow introduced Virginia House Joint Resolution 181 (VA H.J.R. 181). As of June 11, 2008 the bill is currently stalled in committee. The bill would establish an11 member independent redistricting commission composed of retired judges who would be responsible for creating maps for the Virginia legislative and Congressional seats.
Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
No. Single-member districts are neither required nor otherwise implied.
Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
No. There is no standard that instructs the commission to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Also, the commission has no restrictions on its ability to use voter history information.
Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
The Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court will appoint all the members of the eleven-person commission. Potential commissioners must be retried judges who served in Virginia. If the Chief Justice refuses to make the appointment, then this responsibility passes to the Supreme Court Justice who has most recently retired.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?
No. While there are standards the redistricting commission is required to use, fostering competition within the districts is not one of these criteria.
Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Yes. Members of the public may attend a minimum of three public hearings and submit plans at these hearings. However, the Commission will only look at plans “Subject to the constraints of time and convenience.”
Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
Yes. The commission will be reconstituted within the decade only if a court orders it.