Aug 10, 2011- Redistricting Redo

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

Because of flaws with the redrawn House map, lawmakers are coming back to Charleston next week for another special session.

Well, it turns out last week's special session isn't the only one lawmakers will go through this year. Thanks to flaws in the House of Delegates' map, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) will call lawmakers back to Charleston for another special session next week.

On the last day of the special session, when Kanawha County's seven-member 30th delegate district was broken up, staff members hauled out a 250-page amendment to the redistricting bill that allowed that to happen. It was put together during the session's final hours. The entire bill is about 450 pages.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - At least one fatal flaw has doomed legislation that redraws districts in West Virginia's House of Delegates.

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Wednesday said he'll have to veto the bill.  

Tomblin said he also plans to call the Legislature back into session next week to revisit a House plan.

The bill that passed during last week's special session puts 14 sections of a Kanawha County voting precinct into two different delegate districts.

Officials continue to review the flawed bill for other errors. They're also checking the redistricting legislation for the state Senate and the three congressional districts.

Tomblin had already been called on to veto the bill by advocates of single-member districts for all 100 seats.   

Critics of the House's plan also questioned whether it met state constitutional requirements.

House Speaker Rick Thompson (D-Wayne) and Majority Leader Brent Boggs (D-Braxton) released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

CHARLESTON – House Speaker Rick Thompson and Majority Leader Brent Boggs said today they are confident that technical errors in the House redistricting legislation can be quickly fixed when Acting Governor Tomblin calls the Legislature back into session next week.

“I wholeheartedly agree with Governor Tomblin’s decision to veto the legislation,” Speaker Thompson said. “After careful review of the 450-page legislation and accompanying map, we have found a few portions – those that were amended during the floor session – in which the census blocks were not properly adjusted.

“As a result, the amendments don’t reflect the House’s intended changes to the map.”

House Majority Leader Boggs, who chairs the House Select Committee on Redistricting, said those technical errors should be easy to correct in a brief special session.

“The legislative process contains checks and balances so that when an error is discovered, we can promptly call attention to it and take the initiative to get it fixed,” Boggs said. “Developing this redistricting bill took painstaking work by members and staff, and I am proud of the plan as a whole. Unfortunately, amending what we had hoped to be the final product proved problematic.”

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