State House leaders on Wednesday released their agenda for Monday’s special session of the General Assembly to redraw U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott’s 3rd congressional district. Matt Moran, a spokesman for House Speaker Bill Howell, said House Republicans don’t yet have a redistricting plan. “We haven’t done the preliminary work necessary to craft a plan,” he said in an email. A federal court found the district, which stretches from Richmond to Norfolk, to be an unconstitutional racial gerrymander and ordered state lawmakers to redraw it. The court rulings came in a lawsuit filed by a Democratic group that alleged too many black voters were packed into the district, diluting their influence.
Virginia’s Republican members of Congress and Republicans in the General Assembly fought the lawsuit. Their party will be affected because Democratic voters will be added to at least one nearby Republican congressional district when the lines are redrawn. Scott is a Democrat from Newport News.
Republicans hold an 8-3 edge in Virginia’s delegation in the U.S. House. Four districts held by Republicans – Randy Forbes, Scott Rigell, Rob Wittman and Dave Brat – are most likely to be affected by changes in Scott’s district. Their districts surround his.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the special session on Monday. Lawmakers have until Sept. 1 to meet a court-ordered deadline, but McAuliffe said in a statement Wednesday that lawmakers need to go further than altering a single Congressional district.