Virginia lawmakers back redistricting commission

Virginia lawmakers back redistricting commission

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers have approved a sweeping overhaul of how legislative and congressional maps are drawn, despite strong objections from some black legislators.

The House and Senate on Saturday approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a new commission empowered to draw legislative and congressional maps during the next redistricting process, a change from the current practice of lawmakers drawing the maps themselves.

The measure must be approved again by the General Assembly next year, and then by voters, to take effect.

The 16-member commission would be a mix of lawmakers and citizens. If the General Assembly rejected the commission's maps, the Virginia Supreme Court would draw them.

Proponents said the commission would help end partisan gerrymandering. Black lawmakers said African-Americans would have less influence in drawing the maps.

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