HJR 620Background and Procedural Information
On January 10, 2008 Virginia Democratic House Delegate Kristen Amundson introduced Virginia House Joint Resolution 620 (VA H.J.R. 620). ). As of June 11, 2008 the bill is currently stalled in committee. VA H.J.R. 620 would establish a five person independent commission that would present a plan for redistricting the Virginia legislative and congressional districts.
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 Majority and Minority Leaders from the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate will each appoint one commissioner. These four commissioners will then appoint a fifth and final commissioner to serve as the chairperson of the commission. The Chairperson must not be affiliated with any political party. If the commission cannot agree on a plan then any plan receiving favorable votes will be submitted to the Supreme Court, which will then choose a redistricting plan.
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, but only if a court orders it.