CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates adopted House Bill 301 to establish 100 single-member Delegate districts in the state.
The bill was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 79 to 20. One Delegate was absent from the vote. The bill will now head to the West Virginia State Senate for debate.
“The Joint Committee on Redistricting worked very hard all summer and fall to craft a plan that will give every West Virginian an equal voice in the House of Delegates,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay. “For the first time in decades, West Virginia will have 100 single-member House Districts.
“This plan will result in representation in the House that is both more uniform and more equitable for every citizen of the state.”
Over the summer, members of the Joint Committee on Redistricting held 16 public hearings across the state to ask the citizens of West Virginia how they thought the districts should be drawn.
Single-member districts are required to be drawn this year because of a law passed in 2018. This will change the current 67 districts to 100.
“We are dealing with population loss, but we’ve also had population shifts, and those facts are both reflected in the maps you saw today,” House Redistricting Committee Chairman Gary Howell, R-Mineral, said in describing the bill on the floor. “We’ve taken great care to keep counties and municipalities whole as much as possible where it’s been requested, and you’ll see a few instances when the opposite was asked of us.
“We’ve also tried to be mindful of communities of interest as much as possible, and those are considered to be groups of any size with similar interests, concerns and values.”
The 100 Delegates come from 67 districts, with 22 members elected from 11 two-member districts 18 legislators elected from six three-member districts eight legislators elected from two four-member districts; and five legislators elected from a five-member district.