(The Center Square) – The West Virginia Senate passed redistricting legislation, which would create single-member districts in the House of Delegates with only a minor change from the House-passed version.
The Senate voted 28-5 with one person absent to approve House Bill 301. The chamber did not make any changes to the district lines proposed in the House bill, but did amend the bill to be effective immediately upon passage. The Senate sent the legislation back to the House to concur with the change.
More than half of the state’s delegates are in multi-member districts, but a state law requires the legislature to approve a map with only single member districts during this year’s redistricting process. In the current map, districts with larger populations have multiple representatives, but in the new maps, those areas would have multiple single-member districts to ensure larger populations still receive equitable representation.
Under the current maps, there are 11 two-member districts, six three-member districts, two four-member districts and one five-member district.
The new district lines also reflect changes to the population. There was an overall loss in population since the census was last taken, but some regions have seen an uptick in overall people.
Lawmakers are also working on legislation to redraw the Congressional district lines. West Virginia currently has three lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, but population decline decreased that to two lawmakers for the upcoming election. This forced the legislature to put two incumbent Republicans into the same district who will need to fight to keep their seat in a primary against each other.
The map, as passed by the House, would put Rep. Alex Mooney and Rep. David McKinley in the same district. Both have said they intend to run.