A House of Delegates committee sent a bill to the floor Wednesday that would change the factors legislators use when drawing political district lines after each decennial census. The bill does not, however, create an independent commission to handle the redistricting process, as had been the original reason for drafting the updated House Bill 2383. Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, introduced an amendment to the bill that would have formed an independent commission. His amendment was essentially a reincarnation of a draft that a subcommittee killed last week. His amendment failed on a party-line vote.
Subcommittee chairman John Overington, R-Berkeley, shepherded much of the work in crafting the design of an independent commission. However, he voted against it in subcommittee and again in Pushkin’s amendment.
He said despite the shortfalls of the bill that passed, it will still clean up the redistricting process by prohibiting legislators and staff from considering party registration, past electoral behavior or favoring any party.
It also generally encourages the drawing of contiguous and equally populated districts that are not “oddly” shaped.