RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers approved a proposed change to the state’s constitution on Friday that supporters said would curb political gerrymandering, prompting an outcry by some Democrats who called it harmful to African Americans.
The state House narrowly voted to approve the proposed constitutional amendment that would task a bipartisan commission made up of lawmakers and citizens with drawing new congressional and legislative maps every 10 years. The measure, which critics called deeply flawed, passed last year with broad bipartisan support now heads to voters for a final decision in the fall.
Virginia lawmakers also gave final passage Friday to a sweeping energy bill that would overhaul how the state’s utilities generate electricity, a measure environmental groups and other renewable energy advocates considered a historic step toward addressing climate change.
The state Senate advanced the Virginia Clean Economy Act on a vote of 22-17, sending the bill to Gov. Ralph Northam a day after the House passed it. The measure was a top priority of leaders of the new Democratic majority that took control of the General Assembly in last fall’s elections.