HJR 70
Background and Procedural Information

On January 4, 2008 Virginia Democratic House Delegate Plum introduced Virginia House Joint Resolution 70 (VA H.J.R. 70).  As of June 11, 2008 it is stalled in a House Committee.  The bill would give a thirteen-person independent redistricting commission the responsibility of redistricting state legislative and congressional districts.  

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

No.  The number of Senators and Delegates is set within certain limits, but there are no restrictions on the number of districts that would prevent multi-member districts.   

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

The commission may not use addresses of incumbent legislators and members of congress, political affiliations of registered voters, and previous election results.   

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The legislative leaders of the two largest political parties present in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate and the chairpersons of the state committees of the two political parties that received the most votes in the most recent gubernatorial general election will each select two people to serve as commissioners.  These first twelve commissioners will then, with at least seven positive votes, choose a thirteenth and final commissioner member to serve as chairperson.  The chairperson cannot be affiliated with any political party. 
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 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.   
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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