Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:39 PM
octoberlib (6,701 posts)
McDonnell(VA) Doesn’t Rule Out Signing GOP’s Secret Redistricting Plan
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) expressed displeasure Monday with the Republican Senate’s sneaky maneuver to subvert majority rule and gerrymander the Senate in such a way that could give themselves a super-majority — but has not yet said whether he would veto the bill. But to live up to his previous promises, he will have to do just that.
Yesterday, with civil rights legend Sen. Henry Marsh (D) attending the inauguration, Senate Republicans rammed through new maps on a party-lines 20-19 plurality. Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, who can break ties in the Senate, would have voted against the plan had the vote been tied. The maps were not considered in committee nor available for public comment — rather, Sen. John Watkins (R) offered them as a surprise floor amendment to House Bill 259 — and the Republican plurality limited floor debate to just minutes before forcing a vote on final passage. As Blue Virginia notes, it is unclear whether this mid-decade redistricting is even constitutional, as the Virginia constitution calls for new maps only once every decade.
Assuming the measure passes the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, it will be up to Gov. McDonnell to decide whether to sign the bill — setting up a likely court fight — or veto. But just two years ago, he demanded a bipartisan plan and a transparent process.
In January 2011, McDonnell created an Independent Bipartisan Redistricting Committee to suggest and review new district maps, saying:
As Virginia redraws its legislative districts later this year, the process should take place in a manner that is fair and open. Legislative districts should be drawn in a way that reflects commonsense geographic boundaries and communities of interests as required by law. This Bipartisan Redistricting Commission will contribute to public involvement, openness, and fairness in the redistricting process.”
When the then-Democratic Senate and the Republican House agreed to a Senate map that lacked a single Republican vote in the Senate, McDonnell vetoed the proposal. In his veto message, he explained:
I am concerned that the Senate plan is the kind of partisan gerrymandering that Virginians have asked we leave in the past. The House of Delegates passed its plan on an overwhelming 86-8 vote, with twenty-eight affirmative votes from members of the minority party. Similarly, in 2001, both the House and Senate plans passed with bipartisan support. In stark contrast, the Senate plan failed to garner any votes from the minority party. Certainly the Senate can create a plan that will be supported by a bipartisan majority of Senators, especially with the Senate’s overwhelming support for a bipartisan redistricting process as expressed in previous legislation.
Earlier this month, McDonnell noted in his State of the Commonwealth address, “The Virginia Way has always been about both fighting civilly for our principles and finding common ground. That’s what happens here in Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol.” His actions on H.B. 259 will show whether he meant those words.
4 replies, 970 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
McDonnell(VA) Doesn’t Rule Out Signing GOP’s Secret Redistricting Plan (Original post)
Response to Cognitive_Resonance (Reply #2)
Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:12 PM
leftynyc (22,086 posts)
3. 1 term? Really?
Unfortunately, if he's running for President, this will look great on his resume with pubs. It will, however, kill him with independents but he doesn't need them for the nomination.