See below for press releases by Gov. Northam and the Virginia House Democratic Caucus. It will be verrry interesting to see how Virginia House Republicans respond to this. The bottom line, though, as House Democratic Leader David Toscano puts it, is this: “We have been operating with unconstitutional districts drawn by Republicans since 2011, and we must rectify them immediately...We have a constitutional responsibility to draw fair district boundaries and do it as quickly as possible. We should move forward without expending more taxpayer monies on this case.”
Governor Northam Calls August 30th Special Session for General Assembly to Redraw House of Delegates Districts
RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today signed a proclamation calling the members of the Virginia General Assembly into special session on August 30th for the purpose of redrawing districts of the Virginia House of Delegates.
The Governor released the following statement on the forthcoming special session:
“It is in the public interest for the General Assembly to finalize constitutional maps as soon as possible – Virginians deserve that clarity. I am calling a special session so we can focus our collective attention on doing what’s right: working together to draw lines that represent Virginians fairly.”
Below is the proclamation Governor Northam signed calling the General Assembly into special session on August 30:
In accordance with the provisions of Article IV, Section 6, and Article V, Section 5, of the Constitution of Virginia and the powers thereby vested in the Governor to call a Special Session of the General Assembly;
I, Ralph S. Northam, Governor of Virginia, do hereby summon the members of the Senate and the House of Delegates, constituting the General Assembly of Virginia, to meet in Special Session in their respective chambers in the Capitol at Richmond, commencing the thirtieth of August, two thousand and eighteen, for the purpose of redrawing the districts of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Given under my hand as Governor of Virginia, and under the Lesser Seal of the Commonwealth, at Richmond, this twentieth day of August, two thousand and eighteen, and in the two hundred and forty-third year of the Commonwealth.
Ralph S. Northam
Governor of Virginia
By the Governor of Virginia
House Democratic Leader Requests Republican Cooperation in Redistricting Special Session
Governor’s announcement follows repeated requests by House Democrats
(Richmond) – Today, Governor Northam called the General Assembly to convene in a special session on redistricting on August 30. The Governor’s announcement follows the House Democratic Caucus’s repeated requests to Speaker Kirk Cox to move forward with redrawing the eleven legislative districts determined by the court to be racially gerrymandered.
“I am gratified that Governor Northam is convening a special session to not only comply with the court’s suggestion, but to serve the best interest of Virginia voters,” said Delegate Toscano. “We have been operating with unconstitutional districts drawn by Republicans since 2011, and we must rectify them immediately.”
House Democratic Leader David Toscano first sent Speaker Cox October 30 this year. The District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled at the end of June that eleven districts violate the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution by illegally packing African Americans, effectively diluting their voting power., calling on the Republicans to comply with the court’s suggestion that the General Assembly redraw the districts by
Toscano repeated his request to Speaker Cox in August 24whether they intend to complete the new maps by the October 30 deadline., following the court’s order that House Republicans state by
Delegate Toscano wrote in the second letter, “We have a constitutional responsibility to draw fair district boundaries and do it as quickly as possible. We should move forward without expending more taxpayer monies on this case.”
The protracted defense by House Republicans of these unconstitutional districts have already cost taxpayers almost $5 million.
The Speaker did not directly respond to either letter.
House Democrats have called for redistricting reform in Virginia for years. Their bills have overwhelmingly been killed in Republican-majority committees without reaching the House floor.