Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Newsom Vetoes Bill co-Authored by Arambula Requiring Local Independent Redistricting Panels
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 6 months ago on
October 9, 2023

Share

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed legislation that would have required dozens of his state’s largest cities, counties, and educational districts to use independent commissions to draw voting districts, dealing a setback to “redistricting reform” advocates.

“We’re frustrated, confused, and deeply disappointed,” Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of voting rights group California Common Cause, said Monday. He added: “We were hopeful that this was an opportunity for California to show the rest of the nation what it looks like to put gerrymandering behind us.”

Assembly Bill 1248, which was co-authored by Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, required a city or county with more than 300,000 residents, or a school district or community college district with more than 500,000 residents, to establish an independent redistricting commission.

California’s local redistricting methods came under scrutiny last year following a leaked recording of a private discussion among several Los Angeles City Council members. The officials — all Latino Democrats — used crude and racist comments while plotting to bolster their political power at the expense of Black voters.

Newsom vetoed a pair bills Saturday that would have taken away redistricting power from elected officials in Los Angeles and dozens of other jurisdictions and instead given the responsibility to independent commissions of local residents.

Second Time Newsom Has Vetoed Local Independent Redistricting Commissions

In a statement, the Democratic governor said he supported the “goal of ensuring community control over the redistricting process” but was concerned a mandate to create independent commissions could end up costing the state tens of millions of dollars. It marked the second time in four years that he has vetoed legislation requiring independent redistricting commissions for some local governments.

Had Newsom signed the measure, California could have become the first state to mandate redistricting commissions for local jurisdictions over certain sizes, said Dan Vicuna, national director of redistricting and representation for Common Cause.

Boundaries for state and local legislative districts must be redrawn every 10 years to align with the latest U.S. census figures. Historically, that process has been carried out by elected officials who have a political interest in shaping districts to their advantage — a tactic known as gerrymandering.

But California voters shifted the responsibility for drawing U.S. House and state legislative districts to an independent panel of citizens following the 2010 census. Since then, voters in Colorado, Michigan, New York, Utah, and Virginia have created redistricting commissions with varying levels of independence.

Some cities — including Austin, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico — also have adopted independent redistricting commissions. But such commissions remain relatively rare in local governments.

Some California Cities Have Independent Redistricting

In California, a 2016 state law allowed, but didn’t require, counties and cities to create redistricting commissions. More than a dozen have voluntarily done so, and separate state laws have specifically mandated redistricting commissions for Los Angeles County, San Diego County, and a few other counties.

But the city of Los Angeles is among many local governments that remain in charge of drawing their own districts. A panel of academic experts recommended this year that independent commissions composed of city residents be used for future redistricting of the Los Angeles City Council and school board.

The legislation vetoed by Newsom would have applied more broadly. It sought to require independent redistricting commissions in all cities and counties with more than 300,000 residents and in community college or public school districts with more than 500,000 residents. Elected officials, political candidates, their larger financial donors, and lobbyists would have been excluded from the commissions.

Despite the veto, the California legislation still could provide a model ahead of the next round of redistricting based on the 2030 census, said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Marymount University Law School in Los Angeles who created the All About Redistricting website.

“Advocates will certainly press the issue in other states,” Levitt said, “and I’d be surprised if at least some other states didn’t seriously consider what California declined to do.”

Newsom did sign separate legislation Saturday that also is intended to discourage gerrymandering. It tightens redistricting criteria by prohibiting local entities from adopting districts for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against incumbents.

 

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

DON'T MISS

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

DON'T MISS

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

DON'T MISS

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

DON'T MISS

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

DON'T MISS

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

DON'T MISS

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

DON'T MISS

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

DON'T MISS

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

DON'T MISS

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

UP NEXT

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

UP NEXT

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

UP NEXT

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

UP NEXT

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

UP NEXT

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

UP NEXT

This Week’s Weather Will Take Us from Fleece to Flip-Flops

UP NEXT

NBA Play-in Game Preview: West Games on Tuesday, East Games on Wednesday, Eliminations on Friday

UP NEXT

Biden’s Embrace of Trump’s Tariffs Could Spell Trouble for His Reelection: Fareed Zakaria

UP NEXT

Alton Brown Wants to Find Good Eats in Fresno

UP NEXT

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

12 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

12 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

Local /

13 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

14 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

14 hours ago

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

14 hours ago

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

15 hours ago

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

16 hours ago

Ethiopia’s Lemma Wins, Fresno’s Albertson 7th in Boston Marathon. Kenya’s Obiri Retains Women Title.

16 hours ago

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

16 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

Alright, cats and kittens, straphang onto your beanies because I’m about to lay a news flash on you that’s so whimsically wild it coul...

11 hours ago

Fresno Monopoly Edition
11 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

11 hours ago

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

11 hours ago

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

12 hours ago

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

12 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

Local /
13 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

14 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

14 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend