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.   
June 18th 2006
Where politicians dare to tread
San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board endorses the British Columbia Citizens Assembly approach to electoral reform, specifically noting the potential for proportional representation in California.

March 21st 2006
Real redistricting reform is proportional representation
San Francisco Examiner

Rob Dickinson of Californians for Electoral Reform writes a commentary on how recent proposals to make the redistricting process fairer miss the mark. For real progress in how we elect our representatives, we need to turn to proportional voting.

March 1st 2006
Tanner redistricting bill gains Senate sponsor
The Hill

Senator Tim Johnson introduced a companion bill to Rep. John Tanner's federal redistricting reform legislation. The identical bills, supported by FairVote, would set up state commissions to handle redistricting only once a decade.

December 20th 2005
Overhaul of state electoral system sought

Following on the heels of the defeat of redistricting reform in California, Republican and Democratic legislators plan on introducing legislation to create a citizens assembly for election reform and discuss proportional voting for the state.

December 11th 2005
A Dramatic Idea for Election Reform
New York Times

A Times reader highlights the fundamental weakness of any single-member district-based system: gerrymandering is unavoidable.

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