House committee schedules Friday hearing on redistricting reform amendment

The floor of the Virginia House of Delegates. (Ned Oliver/ Virginia Mercury)

A constitutional amendment to create a bipartisan redistricting commission will be heard Friday morning in a House of Delegates committee, a sign of movement for a proposal that’s divided the House’s Democratic majority.

The proposed amendment — which passed the General Assembly last year by a wide margin and easily cleared the state Senate again this year — will be heard by the House Privileges and Elections Committee at 9:00 a.m. Friday, according to a newly posted meeting docket. That will be the committee’s last regularly scheduled before lawmakers are scheduled to leave town next Saturday.

Redistricting reform has become a sticking point between the Senate and the House. The House did not vote on its version of the constitutional amendment, instead advancing an alternative proposal to create a non-binding redistricting commission through regular legislation.

If the House committee advances the amendment Friday, it would still need to be approved by the full House. The committee will also hear an accompanying bill to let voters weigh in on the amendment in a ballot referendum this fall, the final step necessary to change the state Constitution.

If the amendment fails, the General Assembly will retain its constitutional power redraw political maps for the 2021 redistricting process.