Followups – November 2014
Judges rule Virginia’s congressional redistricting maps are unconstitutional
In early October a three-judge federal panel ruled that Virginia’s congressional redistricting maps, passed by the General Assembly in 2012, are unconstitutional because they pack too many minority voters into one district.
The 2-1 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia orders the legislature to come up with new maps by April.
The decision focuses on Virginia’s 3rd District, a “minority majority” district that runs from Richmond to Hampton Roads. U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat, has held the seat since the early 1990s. The Washington Post says the percentage of minorities among the district’s voting age adults rose from 53 to 56 percent when boundaries were redrawn two years ago.
If the judges’ ruling is not overturned on appeal, the redrawn 3rd District could affect the makeup of other districts, possibly challenging the Republican Party’s 8-3 majority in the commonwealth’s congressional delegation.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that, because the governor must approve new congressional maps, the ruling could give Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe new leverage with a legislature dominated by Republicans.
Earlier this year, McAuliffe lost a months-long bid to expand Medicaid coverage in Virginia when a Democratic state senator resigned, giving Republicans control of both the Senate and House of Delegates.
The columns of Virginia Business’ publisher, Bernie Niemeier, and editor, Robert Powell, have explored the need for an independent, bipartisan redistricting commission for several years, most recently in the October issue.
Discount airline suspends service
Newport News-based discount airliner PeoplExpress suspended service in September after encountering problems with crew availability, maintenance and aircraft, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
One of the airline’s two planes was damaged when it was hit by a vendor’s truck.
Based at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, PeoplExpress began operations in late June.
Virginia Business looked at PeoplExpress’ plans in an Eastern Virginia Regional View story in the August issue.