Virginia House, Senate wrangle over redistricting

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's Senate has passed a Democratic-backed congressional redistricting plan that would expand the number of minority influence districts from just one of 11 districts to two.

The 22-15 party-line vote sets up a conflict between Sen. Mamie Locke's bill and a Republican House bill that makes marginal changes to existing districts and favors all 11 incumbent congressmen.

The House will likely reject the Senate's plan Thursday evening and establish a conference committee to resolve partisan differences with racial overtones between the two bills.

Del. Bill Janis, the House sponsor, says the Senate bill dilutes 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.