Controversial legislation forcing the city of Asheville to have districts for city council members could pick up the support of Buncombe County Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn if the bill is amended on the Senate floor. An elections committee advanced SB813 this morning. Van Duyn says the bill will be on the Senate floor on Monday.
Van Duyn said she thanked bill sponsor Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville for compromising from requiring six districts to five with one council member elected at large. She said she'd like to have seen more compromise but this was "the best she could get," noting that Republicans have a super-majority in the legislature and can do what they want. She told BPR she would support the bill if it's amended to hold elections in even-numbered years "when more people vote." She said she gave Edwards no guarantees about how the city would react. Council members and Mayor Esther Manheimer have indicated they could bring litigation. The legislation is not popular in the city, where 75% of Asheville voters rejected the idea in a November referendum. BPR also recently reported that public comments solicited by the legislature were overwhelmingly against the idea.
You can hear the full conversation with Van Duyn at the audio link above.