House, Senate Make Progress As Redistricting Efforts Continue in Special Session
Lawmakers working in special session this week in Charleston made progress Wednesday on federal and state redistricting efforts.
The House of Delegates passed the third reading of H.B. 301, which divides the state of West Virginia into 100 single-member delegate districts. The final vote was 79 to 20 with one absent.
Democrats offered several amendments to the map proposed by the Republican-dominated redistricting committee, but each of the amendments were rejected along mostly party lines.
The House bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to pass overwhelmingly.
The Senate passed a bill on third reading to accept a north-south configuration for new Congressional districts. The redraw, which divided the state from three into two Congressional districts, is due to population losses calculated in the most recent Census.
Senate lawmakers voted 30-2 with two absent to accept what has been referred to as the Trump 8 map. This map is similar to a previously considered map, Trump 11, but shifts two counties. Ritchie County now moves into District 1 in the north, and Pendleton moves into District 2, which encompasses the southern half of the state.
Charles Trump, a Republican from Morgan County and the Senate Redistricting Committee chairman, said he’s confident this version passes state and federal constitutional muster.
“I think it reflects best in the way that the citizens of West Virginia, perhaps live, think, act,” Trump said from the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon.
On population, he added: “It’s very very close… The truth is this. In West Virginia you can’t get the absolute numerical equality unless you are willing to divide a county. Having these two districts be as close as they are in terms of population… I believe will satisfy any constitutional challenge that will come.”