Redistricting Reform Measure Signed into Law

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

 

Sacramento, CA – Legislation authored by Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) allowing counties and general law cities to establish independent redistricting commissions was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown today.

“This is a good government policy that will bring a refreshing level of independence to what historically has been a highly politicized process,” Senator Allen said.

Current law permits counties and general law cities to create redistricting commissions but limits them to an advisory role only.  Under existing law, with the lone exception of charter cities, the recommendations of local redistricting commissions can be advisory only.

The legislation, SB 1108, permits all cities and counties to establish redistricting commissions with the power to create and adopt new city council and supervisorial districts.  The new law 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, 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.

“This is a big step forward for redistricting reform at the local level. We’ve seen many charter cities take the admirable step of adopting independent citizens redistricting commissions. Now this option is available to all cities and all counties in the state,” said Nicolas Heidorn, Director of Legislative Affairs for California Common Cause.
 

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