Congressional and state legislative districts; standards and criteria (SB106)

Introduced By

Sen. David Suetterlein (R-Salem) with support from co-patron Del. Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Standards and criteria for congressional and state legislative districts. Provides criteria by which congressional and state legislative districts are to be drawn, including equal population, racial and ethnic fairness, respect for existing political boundaries, contiguity, compactness, and communities of interest. The criteria set out would apply to those districts drawn following the 2020 United States Census and thereafter. This bill incorporates SB 718, SB 740, and SB 752 and is identical to HB 1598. Read the Bill »


03/09/2018: Passed the General Assembly


12/12/2017Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18100790D
12/12/2017Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/16/2018Impact statement from DPB (SB106)
01/16/2018Reported from Privileges and Elections with substitute (13-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
01/16/2018Committee substitute printed 18105342D-S1
01/16/2018Incorporates SB718 Chase
01/16/2018Incorporates SB740 Howell
01/16/2018Incorporates SB752 Sturtevant
01/18/2018Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/18/2018Impact statement from DPB (SB106S1)
01/19/2018Passed by for the day
01/22/2018Passed by for the day
01/23/2018Passed by for the day
01/24/2018Passed by for the day
01/25/2018Read second time
01/25/2018Reading of substitute waived
01/25/2018Committee substitute rejected 18105342D-S1
01/25/2018Floor substitute printed 18105938D-S2 (David R. Suetterlein)
01/25/2018Substitute by Senator Suetterlein agreed to 18105938D-S2 (23-Y 17-N) (see vote tally)
01/25/2018Title replaced 18105938D-S2
01/25/2018Engrossed by Senate - floor substitute SB106S2
01/26/2018Pending question ordered (25-Y 12-N) (see vote tally)
01/26/2018Read third time and passed Senate (22-Y 17-N) (see vote tally)
01/31/2018Placed on Calendar
01/31/2018Read first time
01/31/2018Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/31/2018Impact statement from DPB (SB106S2)
02/08/2018Assigned P & E sub: Subcommittee #1
02/20/2018Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment (6-Y 0-N)
02/23/2018Reported from Privileges and Elections with amendment (20-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/27/2018Read second time
02/28/2018Read third time
02/28/2018Committee amendment agreed to
02/28/2018Engrossed by House as amended
02/28/2018Passed House with amendment (90-Y 9-N)
02/28/2018VOTE: PASSAGE (90-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2018House amendment agreed to by Senate (20-Y 18-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2018Reconsideration of House amendment agreed to by Senate (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2018House amendment agreed to by Senate (21-Y 17-N) (see vote tally)
03/06/2018Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB106ER)
03/06/2018Signed by Speaker
03/07/2018Impact statement from DPB (SB106ER)
03/09/2018Signed by President
03/15/2018Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 15, 2018
03/15/2018G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, April 9, 2018


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 43 minutes.


Josh Howard writes:

I am delighted to see a serious attempt to solve problems of gerrymandering in our state. However, as a statistical consultant, I'm not certain what is meant by the language "numerical measures of individual and average district compactness to provide an objective assessment." Either party could easily choose a numerical measure that fits their own goals that is an objective approach by outside observers. Trust me -- statisticians can manipulate data and results. I would love to see this bill slightly modified to include a short list of numerical measures that must all be calculated and shared publicly, such as isoperimetric quotient, Reock, Convex Hull, or perimeter summation, just to name a few.

JoAnne Norton writes:

I would think the bill should include the above standards and would be nice to have it entered by both parties, Democratic and Republican.

Sue Mosher writes:

Federal law requires that districts have equal population and conform to Voting Rights Act protection. In addition, the Virginia constitution requires that districts be compact and contiguous, but it does not define those standards. Identical bills HB1598 and SB106 would define or establish good state criteria for drawing congressional and General Assembly districts, beyond the federal mandates. But they could be even better! I urge Gov Northam to send these bills back to the General Assembly with an amendment to add language to prohibit political gerrymandering, e.g. "No district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or potential candidate."

On Josh Howard's comment, I love the idea of requiring that calculations be shared publicly but don't feel that the names of particular measures need to be incorporated into the law. That seems more like a regulatory detail to me.

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