Virginia's Senate passed a Democratic-backed congressional redistricting plan that would expand the number of minority influence districts from just one of 11 districts to two. And the House of Delegates promptly rejected it.
Along party lines Thursday, the Senate voted 22-15 for Sen. Mamie Locke's bill Democratic-backed bill and the House voted 30-56 against it.
That sets a conference committee that will try over the next few weeks to resolve partisan differences with racial overtones between the two bills.
Del. Bill Janis, the House sponsor, said the Senate bill violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the black majority in Rep. Bobby Scott's 3rd District, Virginia's lone black majority district.
Locke says Virginia's 20 percent black population warrants two black influence congressional districts.
The House also has other business. It is expected to elect Paul Nardo to succeed House Clerk Bruce Jamerson. Nardo has been the top adviser to Republican House Speaker Bill Howell.
Jamerson, who was clerk for 20 years, committed suicide in April. A State Police investigation concluded he used a handgun that House clerks had passed along to their successors for generations.
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