Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates have canceled a planned Oct. 21 floor session on redistricting, saying they see no point in coming to the Capitol to work on a plan Gov. Ralph Northam promised to veto. Barring unforeseen changes, the move all but guarantees that a court-appointed expert, not the General Assembly, will redraw the House map before the 2019 legislative elections in order to comply with a federal court order on racial gerrymandering. Republicans are appealing the June ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the GOP majority acknowledged for the first time Friday that Northam’s veto threat means the House won’t be able to pass a new map by the Oct. 30 deadline set by a federal court. In an update filed with the three-judge panel, Republicans said “a legislative solution is unlikely to occur” by the deadline, making the Oct. 21 session in Richmond a futile exercise.
“I am rescinding my call for the House of Delegates to reconvene because I do not think we should waste legislators’ time or taxpayer money on a session when the governor’s mind is evidently made up,” House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, said in a statement. “There was clear progress being made toward a bipartisan legislative solution, and while we wish those efforts could continue it’s obvious that both the governor and the Democratic leadership would rather have federal judges draw the map than allow the legislature to fulfill its constitutional responsibility.”
House Democratic leaders blamed the Republicans.
House Democratic Leader David Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring issued the following statement in light of Speaker Cox’s decision to cancel the Oct. 21 floor session on redistricting