Senate Bills 203 and 204 would develop clear criteria for the proposed constitutional amendment to reform redistricting beginning in 2021 

RICHMOND – Senators Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) and Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) have introduced enabling legislation that would ensure the diversity, transparency and non-partisan results of the redistricting commission established by the proposed constitutional amendment up for its second approval in the 2020 General Assembly. Other co-patrons are Senators John Bell (D-South Riding) and Jennifer Boysko (D-Herndon).

Senate Bills 203 and 204 will add additional safeguards to create a comprehensive redistricting package by building on the significant and historic reform provisions in the proposed constitutional amendment.

The enabling legislation addresses four specific ways to statutorily improve the redistricting process: requiring the makeup of the commission to reflect Virginia’s diversity specifically prohibiting gerrymandering in all forms augmenting transparency rules to encourage additional community engagement setting up clear, non-partisan criteria for the Virginia Supreme Court to follow in the unlikely event of two gridlocked commission votes 

The proposed commission would give citizens an equal voice in the redistricting process for the first time and it already has strong provisions for open meetings and open data. Also, to avoid partisanship, a supermajority of the commission would be needed to approve new district maps.

“These pieces of enabling legislation create a complete redistricting package to work alongside the historic constitutional amendment,” said Chief Co-Patron Senator Louise Lucas. “SB203 and SB204 will fully encompass the kinds of reforms Virginians have wanted for a long time: an equitable, transparent and bipartisan process to ensure our electoral maps are drawn fairly.” 

To read the entire article pick up the Jan. 8, 2020 edition of the Brunswick Times-Gazette.