Virginia State House Speaker Kills GOP ‘Dirty Trick’

The Virginia House of Delegates killed a plan by the state Senate GOP to redraw legislative lines Wednesday. The Senate GOP plan emerged out of a surprise vote on Inaguration Day that took advantage of the absence of a Democratic state senator, a civil rights leader who had traveled to Washington, DC for the inauguration. Democrats called it a “dirty trick” and Republican state leaders like Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling condemned the move.

Now, the Senate GOP’s redistricting plan — which critics said was aimed at gerrymandering the state to put more Republicans in office — is dead. On Wednesday, the Washington Post previewed the legislative move state House Speaker William Howell (R) used to scuttle the Senate GOP plan:

As speaker, Howell can decide whether the redistricting plan is germane to the legislation to which it was attached. If he rules that it isn’t, he would kill the measure and rid the General Assembly of an issue that has inflamed partisan tensions and threatened to derail Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s bid for a standout legacy in his last year in office.

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