Redistricting reform in Virginia clears first major hurdle

Redistricting reform in Virginia clears first major hurdle
The constitutional amendment has to pass the General Assembly again next year and then be approved by voters. (Source: Virginia Mercury)

Virginia lawmakers took the first step to creating an independent redistricting process by approving a bill that would create a 16-member commission.

The constitutional amendment has to pass the General Assembly again next year and then be approved by voters in a statewide referendum before going into effect.

The amended proposal passed unanimously in the Senate, which has passed redistricting reform efforts in the past. Fifteen delegates, many of whom are members of the Legislative Black Caucus, voted against it in the House.

“2021 is the first time for African-Americans to really have a voice in redistricting,” said Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico. But there is no guarantee in the passed bill that African Americans will “have a seat at the table,” he said.