This cat just happened to be Senator Henry Marsh, who attended the Inauguration in D.C. The rats had been plotting this one for a long time, as you will see. The mice didn’t take long to metamorphose into rats.
RICHMOND — Senate Republicans pushed a re-drawn state political map past flabbergasted Democrats on Monday, pulling off what would amount to a mid-decade redistricting of Senate lines if the plan gets approval from the House and governor and stands up to anticipated legal challenges.
The bill, approved 20 to 19, would revamp the Senate map to concentrate minority voters in a new Southside district and would change most, if not all, existing district lines. Democrats, still scrambling Monday night to figure out the impact, said they thought that the new map would make at least five districts held by Democrats heavily Republican. The map puts two sitting senators, R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Emmett W. Hanger Jr. (R-Augusta), into a single district.
Under the Virginia Constitution, the General Assembly draws new Senate and House districts once a decade, after the decennial census, in years ending in one. Legislators have tweaked the lines in off years, sometimes at the behest of registrars who discover problems such as split precincts. But this measure went far beyond the typical off-year tinkering.
The new map, which would take effect in 2015, caught Democrats and even Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) off guard. It was tacked onto a bill left over from last year that sought “technical adjustments” to House district boundaries, not a sweeping change in Senate lines. The measure was unveiled on the floor as a 36-page amendment. Debate was limited to 30 minutes.
The Virginia Senate is split 20-20. State Republicans don’t feel they can count on Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling as their tie breaker. As it turned out, the bill did draw harsh criticism from Lt. Gov. Bolling. Senator Henry Marsh (D-Richmond) was out of town at the Inauguration. Today is also a state holiday. Why is the Senate conducting business, especially on a state and federal holiday that also is Inauguration Day. It would stand to reason that Democrats from Virginia might be attending the Inauguration.
Some say that the bill clearly violates the Virginia Constitution.
Article II, Section 6 of the Virginia Constitution
“Members of the House of Representatives of the United States and members
of the Senate and of the House of Delegates of the General Assembly
shall be elected from electoral districts established by the General
Assembly. Every electoral district shall be composed of contiguous and
compact territory and shall be so constituted as to give, as nearly as
is practicable, representation in proportion to the population of the
district. The General Assembly shall reapportion the Commonwealth into
electoral districts in accordance with this section in the year 2011 and
every ten years thereafter.”
I believe that this is 2013. The state Republicans have cheated to get their own way. Winning at any cost it seems. State Senator Democrats were outraged. Several uttered that McDonnell could forget his transportation bill. Understandably, the democrats feel back-stabbed.
According to the Richmond Times Dispatch:
Democrats were shocked by the move, vowing to oppose the new plan in court as an unconstitutional redo of Senate district boundaries.
Even if McDonnell did sign the bill, which is by no means a certainty, any change to Virginia’s district boundaries requires approval by a federal judge or the U.S. Justice Department because of the state’s history of racial discrimination. How will state Republicans own up to just wanting to screw over the Democrats rather than racially throw an election?
Under the State Constitution, the legislature redraws boundary lines each 10 years after the national census is taken in the zero years. McDonnell signed a bill creating new legislative boundaries last back in April 2011.
Va. Republicans’ redistricting maneuver draws criticism:
The story heats up! Governor McDonnell: “I certainly don’t think that’s a good way to do business,” said McDonnell, adding, “This was not an initiative that I advocated.”