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Virginia General Assembly meets for special session to discuss redistricting

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia General Assembly met Thursday to discuss redrawing the House of Delegates districts.

That's after a federal court ordered Virginia to do so earlier this year.  The court said 11 districts, including many in Richmond and Petersburg sorted voters based on skin color in 2011 --- which was when the maps were originally constructed. Republicans led that effort in 2011, and argue that the maps should remain as they are.

Republican leaders plan to appeal the decision to redistrict to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Virginia House of Delegates speaker, Kirk Cox made the following statement after the special session was called: "We fully intend to continue to pursue both our request for a stay from the Eastern District Court and our appeal to the United States Supreme Court," said Cox. "Drawing a map that can withstand legal scrutiny is neither a quick nor simple process. The General Assembly must establish criteria, hold committee meetings, and gather public input from across the Commonwealth.”

Democrat Lamont Bagby spoke about the plan to craft a new map Wednesday.

"We are moving forward with responding to the court order -- working collectively -- hopefully across party lines and with the government's office to craft a map that meets the criteria set forth by the court order," said Bagby.

The court gave a deadline of Oct. 30 for that new map to be crafted.