The attorney general's office braces for a redistricting backlash.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says his 2011 legislative agenda is pretty light. Mainly because he and his office are preparing to handle the legal fallout from the state's redistricting process.
When the legislature finishes redrawing Virginia's political boundaries this spring, Cuccinelli will be in charge of defending the plans in court. "I knew when I was elected that this was going to be one of the most significant undertakings I was going to have to deal with as a lawyer," said the attorney general.
Cuccinelli's office guides the plan through a screening process with the Department of Justice. Cuccinelli explained, "There is no other state in the country that is covered by the Voting Rights Act that has elections in 2011. We're the only one. We're everyone else's test case."
Speculation holds, that test case is almost certain to attract a lawsuit. "Even if the Virginia plan goes smoothly through the Department of Justice and implemented, other people will sue," stated Cuccinelli.
To be ready for that, the attorney general is asking for funding to hire two new employees - a paralegal and an attorney. The attorney general added, "We trimmed our budget enough last year to carry that money over and pay for what is otherwise an unfunded requirement of this office."
Those employees will augment staffers who have experience with the complicated and contentious process of determining the size and shape of legislative and congressional districts.
Cuccinelli acknowledged, "Because it happens every 10 years, it's kinda hard to come by that experience, but we've got it."
Cuccinelli also says he does have a few bills that will go to the legislature this session, including tougher laws to combat Medicare fraud, as well as, a proposed constitutional amendment to protect property rights.