Washington Senate Panel Hears Voting Rights Bill - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington Senate Panel Hears Voting Rights Bill

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - A state Senate committee is considering legislation to make it easier for minorities to get elected to local government posts.

The Senate Government Operations Committee heard testimony Tuesday on the Washington Voting Rights Act. The act would encourage cities, counties, school districts, and others to switch from at-large to district elections in areas where large minority groups are present.

The act passed the state House earlier this month.
Bill proponents say the state's minority groups, particularly Hispanics, are underrepresented at the local level.
Critics say the measure is unnecessary and costly.
Republican Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn is the committee chair. She said it was unlikely her committee would advance it.