HJR 181
Background 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.   
November 19th 2005
Redistricting reform: How best to tackle ultra-safe districts
Sacramento Bee

FairVote's Rob Richie argues in commentary running in several newspapers that redistricting reformers must challenge winner-take-all elections.

November 16th 2005
In Canada, regular folks are put to work on reforms
San Jose Mercury News

Steven Hill prescribes a citizens assembly as a solution for achieving consensus on redistricting reform in California.

November 15th 2005
Citizens Must Drive Electoral Reform
Roll Call

Heather Gerken of Harvard Law suggests a citizens assembly as one means to achieve redistricting reform and buy-in from voters.

November 13th 2005
ARNOLD AGONIZES: How the election changed the governor -- and California
San Francisco Chronicle

Article discussing the recent failure of redistricting reform in California and the potential solution in letting the citizens decide through a Citizens Assembly on Election Reform.

November 13th 2005
Arnold had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

The Herald News cites Fairvote with commentary about the dangers of Gerrmandering and redistricting obstacles.

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