- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Redistricting differences reflected in two plans
Separate proposals from House, Senate
Question of the Day
RICHMOND | A day after the House of Delegates passed a redistricting map by wide margins, the state Senate on Thursday advanced along party lines a map heavily criticized by Republicans in the minority.
The GOP-led House approved its plan on Wednesday, with 28 Democrats joining Republicans to pass it 86 to 8. But a map drawn by Senate Democrats was approved on a 22-18 vote in the Senate, drawing contentious debate Thursday as Republicans accused Democrats of gerrymandering districts to serve their own interest.
“We very, very much wanted to pass a plan out of this body that is fair, that protects communities of common interests and moreover is legally sound,” said Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, Winchester Republican.
Republican lawmakers say Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is likely to veto the Democrats plan. After both plans are approved by both chambers, the governor will have seven days to sign, amend or veto them.
“This map is so messed up, I dont see how the governor can amend it,” said Sen. Ralph Smith, Roanoke Republican.
Earlier in the day, members of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee rejected the map drawn up by Mrs. Vogel and Sen. John Watkins, Chesterfield Republican.
Democrats criticized the Republicans for “packing” blacks into districts to minimize their voting impact. Sen. A. Don McEachin, Richmond Democrat, said the map wasted black votes - just like the map passed the last time districts were redrawn under the guidance of a Republican Senate majority, he said.
“In my opinion the map passed 10 years ago put us all on individual plantations,” Mr. McEachin said.
In a fruitless effort to win approval for his map, Mr. Watkins said it kept more counties together under one district than any other plan submitted except for the map drawn by a bipartisan redistricting commission formed by Mr. McDonnell.
The commission has held public hearings throughout the state and suggested maps, but the governor hasnt formally backed a bill incorporating the recommendations.
Mr. Watkins said his plan split the same number of cities and fewer towns than the Senate Democrats’ plan. He said it also deviated no more than 0.5 percent from the ideal population, in contrast to the Democratic plan, which used a maximum deviation of 2 percent.
“I think this plan is the more compliant plan to be brought forward with regard to one person, one vote,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling - who presides over the Senate during session - jumped into the debate on Thursday, calling on Mr. McDonnell to reject the Senate plan in favor of recommendations by the bipartisan commission.
“While the current House plan has received strong bipartisan support in committee and the full House, with over 90 percent of the members voting for the plan, the Senate leaderships plan has been derided as the epitome of partisan gerrymandering by Republicans and independent observers alike,” Mr. Bolling said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- A familiar fading feeling for McMahon in Connecticut
- Romney’s bid to undo health law faces hurdles
- Hill GOP presses Medicare probe
- Outsiders abide by rules in Brown-Warren race
- Iran talks not set up, Obama’s camp says
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Russia sends Iraq fighter jets, helicopter gunships for ISIL fight after meeting in Moscow
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq