Redistricting Controversy Will Come to VA House - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Redistricting Controversy Will Come to VA House

Posted: Updated: Feb 5, 2013 07:14 PM EST

Two weeks after Senate Republicans pushed through a controversial Senate redistricting bill, House Bill 259, the measure could hit the floor of the House of Delegates Wednesday.

It threatens to create more political gridlock in Richmond, and derail progress on things like transportation and the state budget.

Republicans say the plan to redraw state Senate district lines is designed to create a new district with a majority of minority voters in southside Virginia. They also say it is a preemptive plan to help the commonwealth avoid potential litigation under the Voting Rights Act.

The plan has meanwhile been called "unconstitutional" by Virginia Democrats, who say the state constitution prevents redistricting outside of years ending in "1." They also argue it unfairly packs minority voters into a few district, while increasing Republican influence in others.

Democratic Senator and candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Ralph Northam, collected 14,000 signatures in an online petition urging Governor Bob McDonnell to veto the bill if it passes the House of Delegates this week.

"This redistricting plan brought back the contention and divisiveness that we all experienced last year," Northam said Tuesday after delivering his petition to the governor's office, "so hopefully we can get this out of the way and move forward in a positive direction."

Republicans in the House of Delegates have stalled progress on the bill for two weeks. A vote is expected on the floor Wednesday.



Ralph Northam

Northam Delivers 14,000 Signed Petitions Urging McDonnell to Veto Unconstitutional Redistricting Plan

Richmond, VA--Today Dr. Ralph Northam, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, delivered more than 14,000 petitions gathered by his campaign to Governor Bob McDonnell, to urge the Governor to veto the mid-decade redistricting bill, should it end up on his desk.

"This powergrab puts 46% of Virginians in a new district and is nothing more than an effort to pass a radical agenda that the majority of Virginians do not want," said Northam. "The Senate should be the place where both parties come together to find solutions - not the place where one side will stop at nothing to mandate things like a medically unnecessary ultrasound for Virginia's women. It's borderline corruption, and I urge the Governor to listen to his constituents and veto the bill, if it ends up on his desk."

Ralph Northam is a physician, an Army veteran, and a third-generation native of the Virginia's Eastern Shore. He represents the Eastern Shore and Norfolk in the Virginia Senate.

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