Virginia's Democratic legislative leaders will decide today whether to try to override Republican Gov. John N. Dalton's veto of their latest House redistricting plan.
House Speaker A.L. Philpott (D-Henry) said the leadership also will set a date for a special General Assembly session that will either attempt the override or make a fourth attempt at redrawing the House districts to conform to 1980 Census figures.
Dalton approved a state Senate's redistricting plan Monday but vetoed the House plan, saying that its districts were neither compact nor contiguous as mandated by the state constitution. Dalton suggested the House draw up a new plan putting each of the 100 delegates in an individual district.
A two-thirds vote from both the House and Senate would be needed to override Dalton's veto. Democratic legislators said yesterday 67 votes needed in the 100-member House to override would be easier to rally than the 27 votes necessary in the 40-member Senate. Democrats control 74 seats in the House and 31 seats in the Senate.
A spokesman for Dalton refused to say what type of plan the governor would accept. "I think you're going to have to wait and see," said Dalton spokesman Charles Davis. "We don't want to be in a position of telegraphing what he Dalton will or won't do."
The House is under a federal court order to submit a new plan before Feb. 1. The court, which rejected an earlier House plan because population variances between districts were too large, has hinted strongly that it will impose its own single-member plan if the House submits another plan that violates constitutional guarantees of equal representation.