Redistricting & Pandemic Funds major topics of 3rd Legislative Special Session

Charleston, WV – (WWNR) Governor Jim Justice has called lawmakers into a special session on redistricting. Lawmakers dealing with one less congressional seat in Washington and making changes in the House of Delegates,

Senate redistricting committee chairman Charles Trump said Senate President Craig Blair and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw plan to discuss which chamber will take the lead on the redrawn congressional districts.

West Virginia lost one of its three U.S. House seats after the 2020 Census. The two congressional districts must be drawn as close to 896,858 residents in each as possible. Ten proposed congressional maps originated in the House of Delegates. Two dozen originated in the Senate.

Making the congressional districts as compact as possible has been a challenge considering the diversity and distance between some regions, among them the growing Eastern Panhandle, the Northern Panhandle and many southern counties that have lost coal jobs and population. There’s also the question of where to put another faster-growing area — Monongalia County — as well as the most populous, Kanawha.

The 2020 Census figures show that each of the 17 Senate districts, with two senators in each, should ideally contain 105,513 people and that each delegate should represent 17,937 people.

More than a dozen public hearings were held across the state over the past few months to discuss the redistricting process.

According to Gov. Jim Justice’s agenda, lawmakers also will consider federal pandemic appropriations starting Monday.