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McDonnell says he will sign Va. redistricting plan

- The Washington Times - Friday, April 29, 2011

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on Friday announced his intent to sign the second restricting plan submitted to him by the General Assembly, saying it is satisfactory but not ideal.

All fingers were crossed that legislators could reach bipartisan agreement on a Senate plan, after the governor vetoed the first one sent to him earlier this month. Early Thursday evening, Senate Democrats won 10 GOP votes for a plan approved by the Democrat-led chamber 32-5. It was sent to Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, along with a House plan, which had sailed to approval with strong bipartisan support.

Mr. McDonnell said the Senate plan satisfied most of the complaints he had about the first bill by retaining more geographic and municipal boundaries, keeping districts somewhat more compact and passing on a bipartisan vote.

"It is a great improvement over the previous plan that I vetoed, and which failed to gain a single vote from the minority party," Mr. McDonnell said. "I applaud the Republican and Democratic members of the Senate who worked well together to craft this compromise plan.”

The plan also received approval from Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, whose office is responsible for guiding it through the process of getting approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mr. McDonnell said that while he would have liked legislators to draw a map with even more significant improvements, the state is on deadline to get the plans approved in time for August primary elections.

"While additional improvements in measures of compactness and preservation of communities of interest would have been ideal, and no plan is perfect, the Constitution of Virginia tasks the General Assembly with drawing lines, and further delay could have turned that authority over to the courts," he said.

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