ROANOKE, W.Va. – The West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Committee on Redistricting held a hearing on the state’s impending congressional redistricting.
On Tuesday, a public hearing was held at Stonewall Resort State Park to receive the public’s input on redistricting. The redrawing of the state’s congressional and legislative boundary lines is looked at every 10 years, using the most recent U.S. Census data. Officials said that census data could be released as early as Sept. 30.
“We know that this year, unfortunately, West Virginia loses a congressman for the next 10 years. Instead of having three elected members of the House of Representatives, we will only have two. So, we have to draw the state of West Virginia, we have to draw two congressional districts in the state of West Virginia, where we now have three,” said Sen. Charles Trump, R–Morgan County.
Once all of the public hearing are finished by the Joint Committee on Redistricting, the House of Delegates and State Senate will consider all of the information gathered and initiate reports and maps to draft a redistricting bill.
“I think what they are going to have to try to figure out is, do they want to continue the relationship that we’ve developed over the last, well, for me, 70-some years being in West Virginia and being 12 years in Congress? If I can continue that, I’d like to do that, but that’s going to be up to the voters to decide and the people in Charleston how they want to change the designation,” said Rep. David McKinley, R–W.Va.
Trump said the state needs as much representation in the nation’s capital as possible, and that the population of the state has been in decline. That decline, along with the growth in population in other states, means that West Virginia goes from three to two representatives.
“The state has to grow, and we are trying to create the changes and reforms in the state that will allow economic growth and population growth,” Trump said.
When asked which representatives will stay and which one will be losing a seat, Trump said, “It is unknown at this point. It will be determined by the districts that are drawn. As a matter of simple geometry, when you take the state and divide it into two districts, it is impossible to do that without pairing at least two congressman who are incumbents now in the same district with each other.”
After all the information is collected, the West Virginia Legislature will have to go into session, and the Senate and House committees will have to meet. A redistricting of the state for the House of Delegates districts, Senate districts and congressional districts will be placed in a bill that will have to pass both houses of the legislature, and finally be signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice. A special legislative session could happen as early as October.
The next public hearing will be held Aug. 12 in Morgantown at the Hazel and J.W. Ruby Community Center.
- Aug. 17: Martinsburg Sheriff’s Office Meeting Room, 501 Raleigh St., Martinsburg
- Aug. 18: Keyser VFD Station 2, 1550 Cornell St., Keyser
- Aug. 24: Wheeling Independence Hall, 1528 Market St., Wheeling
- Aug. 26: Cabell County Court House, Courtroom #1 Judge Paul Farell’s Courtroom, 750 5th Ave., Huntington
- Sept. 9: The Cultural Center, Building 9, Capitol Complex, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E., Charleston
- Sept. 16: Judge Donald F. Black Courthouse Annex, 317 Market St., Parkersburg