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?

June 18th 2006
Where politicians dare to tread
San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board endorses the British Columbia Citizens Assembly approach to electoral reform, specifically noting the potential for proportional representation in California.

March 21st 2006
Real redistricting reform is proportional representation
San Francisco Examiner

Rob Dickinson of Californians for Electoral Reform writes a commentary on how recent proposals to make the redistricting process fairer miss the mark. For real progress in how we elect our representatives, we need to turn to proportional voting.

March 1st 2006
Tanner redistricting bill gains Senate sponsor
The Hill

Senator Tim Johnson introduced a companion bill to Rep. John Tanner's federal redistricting reform legislation. The identical bills, supported by FairVote, would set up state commissions to handle redistricting only once a decade.

December 20th 2005
Overhaul of state electoral system sought

Following on the heels of the defeat of redistricting reform in California, Republican and Democratic legislators plan on introducing legislation to create a citizens assembly for election reform and discuss proportional voting for the state.

December 11th 2005
A Dramatic Idea for Election Reform
New York Times

A Times reader highlights the fundamental weakness of any single-member district-based system: gerrymandering is unavoidable.

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