New bill could let citizens, not politicians draw district lines
Important redistricting legislation authored by Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, and Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines passed the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee today with bipartisan support. The measure would create a new independent citizens’ commission to draw district lines.
“Make no mistake, the only way to truly reform our redistricting system is to remove any connection at all to politicians and partisan insiders and trust the people to draw our district lines,” said Assemblyman Anthony Adams, Vice Chair of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee. “Today’s bipartisan vote represents an important step forward in our effort to restore a healthy democracy in California, and I will continue to fight to restore the voice of the people to our redistricting process.”
Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 (Adams/Villines) will create an independent citizens’ commission comprised of randomly-selected voters to draw the district lines for the Legislature, Board of Equalization and state congressional delegation, comprised of 4 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and 3 unaffiliated members. They would be required to draw compact, contiguous districts that keep communities of interest together and maximize competition, where possible.
The principles behind ACA 4 have been praised by nonpartisan, government reform groups, including Voices of Reform (co-chaired by Dan Schnur and Fred Keeley), California Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.
“We applaud the Assembly for recognizing the need for genuine redistricting reform,” said Dan Schnur, Voices of Reform Co-Chair. “While neither bill is perfect, both represent significant progress in eliminating the conflict of interest that currently allows legislators to create their own districts and will provide independence and accountability to the redistricting process.”
“The most important next step is for all of the legislative proposals that have been introduced so far to be considered on their merits and distilled into a viable measure for the February ‘08 ballot as soon as possible,” said Fred Keeley, Voices of Reform Co-Chair.
ACA 4 will next be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.