Sacramento, CA – Legislation authored by Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) to allow counties and general law cities to establish independent redistricting commissions passed the legislature today on a vote of 35 – 3 in the state Senate.
“This is a good government policy that will bring a refreshing level of independence to what historically has been a very politicized process across the state,” Senator Allen said.
Current law permits counties and general law cities to create redistricting commissions but limits them to an advisory role only. With the lone exception of charter cities, local redistricting commissions are not authorized to establish new districts.
SB 1108 would permit all cities and counties to establish redistricting commissions with the power to create and adopt new city council and supervisorial districts. The bill includes criteria for the selection of commission members that ensures they will be independent and free of conflicts of interest. Like the state redistricting commission that draws legislative district lines, local commission members may have no familial, political, or professional relationships with any officeholders or candidates in the city or county. A commission may not be comprised entirely of members registered to vote with the same political party.
“A reformed redistricting process greatly strengthens representative democracy and reduces voter cynicism,” Helen L. Hutchison, President of the League of Women Voters of California said in support of the bill.
SB 1108 received bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature. Governor Jerry Brown now has until September 30 to sign it into law.
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