WV Senate Passes Redistricting Bill, District 10 Now To Include Nicholas County

Members of the West Virginia Senate have finally approved a map that divides the state into 17 Senatorial Districts.

The engrossed version of Senate Bill 3034 was passed by a vote of 28 yeas, 1 nay and four voting absent on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

To say the least, it has not been easy for Senate members to decide on a map that meets the West Virginia State Constitution’s requirements of ensuring districts are “compact, formed of contiguous territory, bounded by county lines, and, as nearly as practicable, equal in population.”

Since the initial introduction of the first Senatorial District map on Oct. 11, amendments have been made and debates have been held. Many of those debates were held outside of the public eye, but some were brought to light, including debate over a bill that Senator Michael Woelfel (D, Cabell-5) called a “poor bastardized map” that made its way in for consideration “in the dark of the night” without a name attached to it.

Following the arrival of that map, Woelfel reminded his fellow Senators to uphold the Constitution. He said if they don’t, the judges of the West Virginia Supreme Court will.

After his comments, Senate Redistricting Committee Chair Charles Trump (R-Morgan, 15) explained that redrawing lines is a difficult process due to population loss in some counties and growth in others. He said the process is “terribly hard and vexing.” Just before the bill’s Tuesday passage, Trump commented about the “agonizing” process, but stated that he believes this amendment provides the best redrawing of the districts.

If this amendment is the one that makes into law, District 10 will include all of Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers and Nicholas counties. It will also include a north-eastern portion of Fayette County to create a total of 107,718 residents in Senate District 10. The ideal population for each district is 105,513.

The southwestern portion of Fayette County will be included in District 9, which includes all of Raleigh and Wyoming counties. Pocahontas County will be in Senate District 11, instead of being brought into District 10 as was originally planned.

Although the bill has passed the Senate, it must now go before the House of Delegates for passage before making it to Gov. Jim Justice’s desk.

As always, The West Virginia Daily News will provide updated coverage on the redistricting process as it becomes available.

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