Constitutional amendment; criteria for electoral districts (first reference). (SJ290)

Introduced By

Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) with support from co-patron Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Constitutional amendment (first resolution); apportionment; criteria for electoral districts. Provides the criteria for electoral districts drawn by the General Assembly. The amendment directs that electoral districts are (i) to be composed of contiguous and compact territory, (ii) to be drawn utilizing existing political boundaries, and (iii) to be as nearly equal in population as is practicable but with variations in the size of districts permitted in order to comply with other reapportionment criteria. The amendment prohibits electoral districts being drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or other individual or entity. The amendment authorizes the General Assembly to provide additional standards, definitions, or guidance in order to facilitate the objective interpretation and application of such criteria. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/11/2017Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17102386D
01/11/2017Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/20/2017Assigned to P&E sub: Constitutional Amendments
01/31/2017Reported from Privileges and Elections (12-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/02/2017Reading waived (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/03/2017Read second time and engrossed
02/06/2017Read third time and agreed to by Senate (31-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)
02/08/2017Placed on Calendar
02/08/2017Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
02/08/2017Assigned P & E sub: Elections
02/14/2017Subcommittee recommends passing by indefinitely (5-Y 2-N)
02/17/2017Passed by indefinitely in Privileges and Elections (14-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)

Video

This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 41 seconds.

Comments

ACLU-VA Voting Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia supports redistricting legislation that is independent, non-partisan, and that adheres to fair and equal representation for all, upholding the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equality, “one-person, one vote.” Additionally, redistricting legislation must comply with the Constitution’s and the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition on the use of plans that result in diluting minority voting strength. Communities of color, in particular, have faced numerous obstacles to meaningful participation in the political process, including the redistricting process. Legislators should ensure these communities’ effective involvement and equal opportunity in the political process and the ability to elect candidates of choice. Legislators should recognize that every voter has a vital stake in the outcome of their community’s redistricting by supporting proposals that uphold these principles. Voters must feel welcome to participate meaningfully in redistricting through a collaborative process with lawmakers, redistricting experts, various groups and organizations to draw and analyze plans. Redistricting legislation should require and promote transparency, such as a mandatory report detailing the process and bases for decisions.