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West Virginia redistricting committee sets public hearings

PARKERSBURG — The West Virginia Legislature Joint Committee on Redistricting announced Friday the format for the public hearings that start next week.

Residents can state their opinions about congressional and legislative boundary lines at the hearings.

The state Constitution requires the Legislature to redraw district lines every 10 years based on the U.S. Census to reflect any population changes. Due to the delay in the federal government releasing Census data, specific population numbers will not be available and the committee will not be presenting proposed maps.

Legislators will not respond to questions, following House Rule 84 governing public hearings.

All 12 in-person public hearings will be held from 6-8 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. to begin the registration process for anyone who would like to be guaranteed an opportunity speak. Residents need to be present to sign in by 6 p.m.

The events will begin shortly after 6 p.m. with welcome remarks and a reminder of the procedures. The number of people who sign in to speak at each hearing will be divided by the amount of time available for the event to determine the amount of time each person will have to speak, according to House Rule 84.

A red light will indicate when each speaker has reached the time limit and will be asked to conclude remarks before announcing the next speaker.

All attendees will be given an informational brochure with reminders of how the redistricting process works according to the state Constitution and information about how to provide suggestions throughout the process, all of which may be found at https://www.wvlegislature.gov/redistricting.cfm.

The hearing in Parkersburg is scheduled Sept. 16 at the Judge Donald F. Black Courthouse Annex on Market Street.

The multi-delegate House District 10 in Wood County will be split into three separate single-delegate districts, according to state law adopted in 2018 and beginning with the 2022 election.

All multi-delegate districts will be split into single-delegate districts in West Virginia.

A hundred delegates are from 67 districts in the House of Delegates, comprised of 11 two-member districts, six three-member districts, two four-member districts and one five-member district.

West Virginia for the 2022 election will losing one of three representatives to the House of Representatives. District 1 encompasses the Northern Panhandle and stretches south, including Wood County. District 2 includes Eastern Panhandle counties and goes westward to the Ohio River, including Jackson, Wirt, Calhoun and Roane counties. District 3 covers the southern counties of West Virginia.

The Joint Committee will prepare a redistricting proposal to the House and Senate.

The hearings start Tuesday in Putnam County with the other hearings scheduled later at Chief Logan Lodge Hotel Conference Center, Tamarack, the Summersville Arena & Conference Center, Stonewall Resort State Park, Monongalia County Extension Services & 4H Center at Mylan Park, the Martinsburg Sheriff’s Office Meeting Room, Keyser VFD Station 2, Wheeling Independence Hall, the Cabell County and the the Culture Center in Charleston.

Three virtual public hearings will be announced at a later date.

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