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HB 1256 Virginia Redistricting Advisory Commission; established.

Introduced by: Marcia S. "Cia" Price | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS PASSED HOUSE: (all summaries)

Redistricting; Virginia Redistricting Advisory Commission; standards and criteria. Establishes the Virginia Redistricting Advisory Commission (the Commission), a statutory legislative commission tasked with proposing districts for the United States House of Representatives and for the Senate and the House of Delegates of the General Assembly that adhere to certain constitutional and statutory criteria and that will be submitted for consideration and adoption by the General Assembly. The Commission will consist of eight legislative commissioners and eight citizen commissioners. The legislative commissioners consist of four members of the Senate of Virginia and four members of the House of Delegates, with equal representation given to the political parties having the highest and next highest number of members in their respective houses. The citizen commissioners are chosen by a selection committee consisting of five retired judges of the circuit courts of Virginia, from lists submitted to the selection committee by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the leader in the House of Delegates of the political party having the next highest number of members in the House of Delegates, the President pro tempore of the Senate of Virginia, and the leader in the Senate of the political party having the next highest number of members in the Senate. The bill contains eligibility requirements for the citizen commissioners, including restrictions on holding or having held partisan national or state public office. As part of the application process for service on the Commission, the Division of Legislative Services acts as a repository for applications submitted by interested persons and is tasked with screening out applicants who are ineligible or submit incomplete applications. The applications of the citizen candidates selected by political leadership and submitted for consideration to the selection committee are public records.

The bill also directs the Division of Legislative Services to provide staff support to the Commission in the redistricting of congressional and state legislative districts. The Commission is required to submit to the General Assembly plans of districts within certain time periods, and the bill sets out criteria by which the districts are to be drawn, including equal population, racial and ethnic fairness, communities of interest, contiguity, and compactness. The bill prohibits a map of districts from unduly favoring or disfavoring any political party when considered on a statewide basis.

The bill provides for the preparation and use of adjusted population data for redistricting and reapportionment purposes to reflect the reallocation of persons incarcerated in federal, state, and local correctional facilities. Persons incarcerated in such a facility whose address at the time of incarceration was in the Commonwealth are to be counted at that address and persons incarcerated in such a facility whose address at the time of incarceration was outside of the Commonwealth or cannot be determined are to be counted at the facility.

Provisions to ensure public participation in the redistricting process are included, including requirements that meetings are video recorded and transcribed and the archived videos and transcripts be made available on the Commission's website. The bill also requires a series of public hearings to be conducted prior receipt of Census data and at least public hearings to be held prior to voting to submit any plan to the General Assembly.

The General Assembly may reject initial plans developed by the Commission and provide information to the Commission regarding the reasons for rejecting such plans. The General Assembly is limited in its ability to amend plans until multiple plans have been submitted and rejected.