The Virginia Redistricting Commission is hearing public comment on its final draft General Assembly maps, which are due on Sunday October 10. But the Commission is still presenting two sets of maps, one Republican-proposed, and one Democrat-proposed, with no clear path to a consensus on one set of maps that can win with the necessary three-fourths approval from the bipartisan commission. After the hearings this week, the commission is scheduled for a Friday meeting, with an optional Saturday meeting.
“I’m at a loss as to how to go forward,” said Co-Chair Greta Harris on October 2, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) State Central Committee (SCC) voted 37 to 31 to issue a call for an in-person drive-in-style nominating convention to be held at Liberty University (LU) on May 8 at 9 a.m. Before passing that vote, the SCC voted against changing party rules to allow an unassembled convention, and voted against holding a canvass. The nearly four-hour-long Tuesday evening Zoom meeting hit the same notes of exasperation as previous SCC Zoom meetings and again highlighted a sharp divide between the pro-convention faction, led in the meeting by Mike Ginsburg, and the pro-primary faction, led in the meeting by Jeff Ryer.
The Virginia General Assembly considered over a dozen constitutional amendments in its two chambers this session; seven of them have been passed in either the House or the Senate. Last week, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) criticized the high number.
“I recognize that times change,” he said on the Senate floor. “I recognize that Virginia has changed and I recognize that there is a new cadre of legislators who have a different perspective on what the policies of the commonwealth should be.”
The Virginia General Assembly will convene on Wednesday and a lot of conversation surrounding the annual gathering of state lawmakers this year is not on legislative agendas or hotbed issues under consideration, but on how long the session will last.
Intrigue over the session length began back in mid-November when Republican legislative leaders of the Senate and House of Delegates, Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City) and Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) announced their intention to limit the session to 30 days
Republican legislators in Virginia are sounding the alarm about risks with new provisions providing prepaid postage and drop boxes for absentee ballots. The provisions come as part of a budget amendment proposed by Governor Ralph Northam.
The amendment provides $2 million to create the ballot drop boxes and to pay postage so that voters do not have to pay to return their ballots. The General Assembly will consider the amendments sometime near the beginning of next week.