SB 105
Background and Procedural Information

On January 3, 2008 Virginia Republican Senator Ken Cuccinelli introduced Virginia Senate Bill 105 (VA S.B. 105).  As of June 9, 2008 the bill is currently stalled in a Senate Committee.  The bill would authorize a five-person independent commission to redistrict congressional and state legislative districts.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

No.  Single-member districts and neither required nor implied under VA S.B. 105.

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?

Yes.  The bill requires the commission to comply with the federal statutory and constitutional law including the Voting Rights Act.  The commission may not use voter history information as a factor in developing districts.    

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The caucuses of the first and second largest political parties in both bodies of the General Assembly may select one person to serve as an appointing authority.  These four appointing authorities will each choose one person to serve on the commission.  The four commissioners, with at least three positive votes, will then choose fifth and final member of the commission to be the chairman.  The chairman must not be affiliated with the two largest parties of the state legislature.  The commission will present plans, suggestions, and data, but the final redistricting decision will be made by the General Assembly.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

No.  The commission is not required to create competitive districts, but it is forbidden to favor a “political party, incumbent legislator or member of congress, or other person or group.”

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

No.  There is no provision allowing members of the public to submit plans, but the commission most host at least three public hearings where the public may comment and ask the commissioners questions.   

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

No.  There is no provision for mid-decade redistricting.   
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 had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

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

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.

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