SB 453

Background and Procedural Information:
2007 Bill Text S.B. 453 introduced by Sen. Moore establishes an independent redistricting commission for congressional districts.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
Implied. The bill requires that districts be created by dividing the population by the number of districts required by federal law. Current federal law requires single member districts for congressional seats.

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
Yes. No district shall be drawn for the purpose or with the effect of diluting the voting strength of a group based on race, ethnicity or language minority status, or for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a political party, or any individual. In drawing district lines, the Commission shall not consider residential address, party affiliation, or partisan voting history of any individual or groups of individuals, except to the extent necessary to avoid dilution of voting strength based on race, ethnicity or language minority status.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
The Commission shall consist of seven member commissioners. The Governor shall appoint a dean or professor of law or political science or government at an institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth; the Attorney General shall appoint a retired justice who resides in the Commonwealth; and the Secretary of the Commonwealth, shall appoint an expert in civil rights law who is a resident of the Commonwealth. The House Speaker, the House Minority Leader, the Senate President, and the Senate Minority Leader shall each nominate three individuals. The appointees chosen by the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of the Commonwealth shall then select one of the three nominees named by each said official.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Yes. The public shall be afforded the opportunity to submit proposed maps for consideration by the Commission and the Commission shall make map-making software available for public use.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

November 19th 2005
Redistricting reform: How best to tackle ultra-safe districts
Sacramento Bee

FairVote's Rob Richie argues in commentary running in several newspapers that redistricting reformers must challenge winner-take-all elections.

November 16th 2005
In Canada, regular folks are put to work on reforms
San Jose Mercury News

Steven Hill prescribes a citizens assembly as a solution for achieving consensus on redistricting reform in California.

November 15th 2005
Citizens Must Drive Electoral Reform
Roll Call

Heather Gerken of Harvard Law suggests a citizens assembly as one means to achieve redistricting reform and buy-in from voters.

November 13th 2005
Arnold had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

The Herald News cites Fairvote with commentary about the dangers of Gerrmandering and redistricting obstacles.

November 13th 2005
ARNOLD AGONIZES: How the election changed the governor -- and California
San Francisco Chronicle

Article discussing the recent failure of redistricting reform in California and the potential solution in letting the citizens decide through a Citizens Assembly on Election Reform.

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