Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for producing data related to the American people and our economy. The information is vital for the allocation of federal funding to local communities. Another group is tasked with taking that information and mapping out legislative districts for the next 10 years – the West Virginia Legislature.
The West Virginia Constitution mandates that the arrangements of senatorial and delegate districts be done as soon as possible following each succeeding census. This means that lawmakers are tasked with drawing lines which determine representation in the statehouse. A Redistricting Committee is formed and comprised of current legislators. Once the Redistricting Committee meets and formulates the drawing of district lines, the entire legislature convenes for a special session to pass the Redistricting Bill, similar to other pieces of legislation.
This year could be particularly daunting for the Redistricting Committee for which I am a member. Due to population loss, West Virginia is losing a congressional seat. This means a new line will have to be drawn separating the state into two congressional districts. Further complicating matters, the legislature previously passed legislation eliminating multi-member districts within the House of Delegates. Now, 100 single member districts will be drawn in the state.
Public meetings are now being held throughout the state related to the redistricting process. That information will be compiled for consideration by the Redistricting Committee. Information on the process and location for public hearings can be found by visiting the following: https://www.wvlegislature.gov/redistricting.cfm