Redistricting commission holds first meeting

Now that new census data for Virginia have been released, the process of redrawing the state’s political districts can begin in earnest.

The Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting is tasked with revising Virginia’s congressional and legislative districts by April 1. The commission, created by a Jan. 10 executive order issued by Gov. Bob McDonnell, held its first full meeting last week on the medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.

In his address to the group, McDonnell said the commission is “bipartisan by definition.” He stressed the importance of working across party lines.

The governor called the commission’s task both important and historic. Political boundaries have never been redrawn in Virginia by a politically divided General Assembly, he said. Currently, the House of Delegates is Republican-controlled, while the Senate has a Democratic majority.

The advisory panel will work independently and present its findings and recommendations by the April deadline. Legislators should not give input or direct the commission, McDonnell said.

The Virginia Constitution requires that congressional and state legislative district lines be redrawn every 10 years. The lines must reflect new population data collected in last year’s federal census.

Districts must be “contiguous and compact” and, according to the executive order, “drawn in a way that maximizes voter participation and awareness.” The order also recommends that lines “reflect commonsense geographic boundaries and strong communities of interest.”

The bipartisan commission is chaired by Bob Holsworth, founder of Virginia Tomorrow, a company that examines emerging trends in politics, society and business. Holsworth, a former political science professor and administrator at VCU, has served on several advisory groups for state government and the city of Richmond.

He said the redistricting commission will seek input from the public. Meetings will be held across the state in the coming months to ensure citizens have the opportunity to participate.
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It’s a great weekend to get outside! The Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society is offering two events this weekend. Accompany the group to find and document native plants present and blooming in Echo Lake Park on Saturday or take a “Sunday Stroll” at Dorey Park to observe the seasonal changes taking place. Other outdoor events this weekend include the final summer concert at West Broad Village and “Fridays on the Patio” at James River Cellars Winery in Glen Allen. If you’re going to be outside, don’t forget the insect repellent! To learn more about avoiding those pesky mosquitos, check out Henrico County’s “Fight-the-Bite TODAY” event tomorrow. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond will present The SteelDrivers at 7:30 p.m. at Camp Concert Hall, Booker Hall of Music. The concert is part… Full text

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