CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State lawmakers will hold their final legislative redistribution hearings this week with virtual events starting Monday.
The West Virginia Joint Legislature Committee on Redistribution has hosted several in-person events since July; the last such hearing took place last Thursday in Parkersburg.
Lawmakers are responsible for drawing new districts for the state legislature and the United States House of Representatives every ten years due to new census data. West Virginia was one of three states whose population declined between 2010 and 2020, and the state will lose one of its three House of Representatives districts due to its population change.
The series of virtual hearings begins Monday and focuses on residents of the state’s congressional districts.
“We have to be careful not to leave any part of the state alone,” US Representative David McKinley, RW.Va., told MetroNews Talkline on Friday.
McKinley represents the 1st District, which includes the northern Panhandle and the towns of Morgantown, Parkersburg and Wheeling. The congressman opposes having a congressional district with the state’s two handcuffs due to population growth around Morgantown and the Eastern Panhandle. He added that southern West Virginia should not be in its own separate district, noting the region’s population decline.
âI would love to see the success we’ve had with high tech at Fairmont, extend that to the high tech components that we have in Kanawha County,â he said. âThere are things that can be done. “
District 2 runs from the Ohio River to the Potomac River and includes Charleston and the Eastern Panhandle. Representative Alex Mooney, RW.Va., represents District 2 since January 2015 and resides in Charles Town. The 3rd District, represented by Representative Carol Miller, RW.Va., as of January 2019, has Huntington and much of southern West Virginia.
Hearings are broken down by Congressional Districts:
– The first hearing will take place on Monday. The event is aimed at residents of the 1st Congressional District, which includes Barbour, Brooke, Doddridge, Gilmer, Grant, Hancock, Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Mineral, Monongalia, Ohio, Pleasants, Preston, Ritchie, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler , Wetzel and Wood counties
– The second hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, concerns residents of the 2nd district, which includes Berkeley, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Hampshire, Hardy, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Morgan, Pendleton, Putnam, Randolph, Roane, Upshur and the Wirt counties.
– Wednesday’s third hearing is for residents of the 3rd District, which consists of Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Greenbrier, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, Wayne, Webster and the counties of Wyoming.
The registration deadline was Friday. Those who have registered for the hearings can register as of 5:45 p.m. on their respective day. Those who have not registered for the hearing can view the forums at https://www.wvlegislature.gov/redistricting.cfm.
The state legislature will hold a special session in October to discuss and approve new maps.