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GOP-backed Bill Could Shift Virginia Senate Seats

If passed, Manassas Park and Manassas would be affected because the area are represented by Sen. Charles "Chuck" Colgan.

Manassas Park and parts of Manassas could have a new person representing it in the Virginia Senate if a bill that narrowly passed in the state senate Monday night takes effect.

The Senate bill, which squeezed through with a 20-19 vote, shifts the districts of five senate Democrats—three representing Northern Virginia—toward more Republican-voting areas. (See a map of the proposed redistricting in the media box to the right.)

Under the proposal, the districts of John Edwards (D-21st) Dave Marsden (D-37th), George Barker (D-39th), Charles "Chuck" Colgan (D-29th) and John Miller (D-1st) would all change. 

Virginia’s legislature last redistricted House and Senate districts in 2011.

Republican Sen. John Watkins (R-10th) defended the bill as "an effort to create another majority black Senate district," the Associated Press reports. But Democratic leaders and liberal organizations across the state decried the bill as violating the state’s own constitution, along with a move that doesn't allow for public input or comments.

In a statement from the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus, Barker said, “A Circuit Court judge recently ruled that the Virginia Constitution does not allow for re-redistricting, which is what this bill would do, in order 'to preclude ‘politically convenient’ redistricting whenever one political party or the other might gain the upper hand.' This type of action is not permissible under the Constitution.”

ProgressVA officials stated, "This move is an obvious violation of the State Constitution, which clearly states that redistricting occurs every ten years. Legislators can't rewrite the rules of the game whenever they want. Voters should be choosing their leaders, not the other way around."

Monday's Senate bill makes amendments to an earlier-passed House bill (HB259). The senate’s amendments to HB259 now goes back to the House for approval or the bills will go to conference, where members of the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate can hash out their differences.

Garth Graham January 22, 2013 at 01:50 PM
"If passed, Manassas Park and Manassas would be effected because the area are represented by Sen. Charles "Chuck" Colgan." - - - - - - "affected", not "effected".......
Nancy Vehrs January 22, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Bob Marshall is in the House, not the Senate.
Patient23 January 22, 2013 at 03:51 PM
What we really need is a law or state constitutional amendment that takes redistricting out of the control of politicians. California and a few other states now require redistricting be done by computer and reviewed and approved by a non-partisan commission, not state legislators, and the redistricting can't be reopened whenever one party or the other wants to meddle (thanks Tom DeLay, for seting this precedent in Texas). Letting Republicans or Democrats choose their voters rather than the other way around only empowers the nut cases in both parties, in both the House of Delegates and the Senate.
Jamie M. Rogers January 22, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Thank you Garth :) That's what happens when you rush :)
Bloomie January 23, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Maybe Treuting wants to give this a try? We need term limits. Some of these people have been "legislating" for way too long.

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