BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SCA 3
          Author:   Lowenthal (D) and Ashburn (R), et al
          Amended:  8/10/06 in Senate
          Vote:     27

           
           SENATE ELECTIONS, REAP. & CONST. AMEND. COM  :  4-1, 6/29/05 
          AYES:  Bowen, Dunn, Murray, Romero
          NOES:  Battin
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Poochigian

           SENATE ELECTIONS, REAP. & CONST. AMEND. COM  :  3-1, 3/15/06
          AYES:  Bowen, Murray, Romero
          NOES:  Battin
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Poochigian

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  9-3, 5/25/06
          AYES:  Murray, Alarcon, Alquist, Ashburn, Escutia, Florez,  
            Ortiz, Romero, Torlakson
          NOES:  Aanestad, Battin, Poochigian
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Dutton


           SUBJECT  :    Elections:  redistricting

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This Constitutional Amendment provides for an 11  
          member Independent Redistricting Commission to reapportion  
          legislative and congressional districts, and grants the  
          California Supreme Court original and exclusive  
          jurisdiction over all challenges to a redistricting plan  
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          adopted by the Commission.

           Senate Floor Amendments  of 8/10/06 provide for all of the  
          following regarding the Independent Redistricting  
          Commission (IRC) and its duties:  (1) deletes requirement  
          to "nest" Senate and Assembly districts, (2) prohibits  
          specified campaign contributors from serving on the IRC,  
          (3) includes Superior Court Judges as candidates for the  
          panel that will nominate candidates for appointment to the  
          IRC, (4) requires the Fair Political Practices Commission  
          to appoint the three members of the IRC that are not  
          affiliated with of one of the two major political parties,  
          (5), specifies a three-stage hearing process by which the  
          IRC shall display, consider and adopt maps for new  
          districts, and (6) requires the IRC to issue a report  
          explaining the basis on which it made decisions regarding  
          compliance with redistricting criteria.
           
          Senate Floor Amendments  of 6/13/06 make various conforming  
          and substantive changes in response to concerns expressed  
          in policy committee.

           ANALYSIS  :    Current law provides that in the year  
          following the year in which the federal decennial census is  
          taken, the Legislature shall adjust the boundary lines of  
          the Senate, Assembly, congressional, and Board of  
          Equalization districts in conformance with the following  
          standards:

          1.Each member of the Senate, Assembly, Congress, and the  
            Board of Equalization shall be elected from a  
            single-member district.

          2.The population of all districts of a particular type  
            shall be reasonably equal.

          3.Every district shall be contiguous.

          4.Districts of each type shall be numbered consecutively  
            commencing at the northern boundary of the State and  
            ending at the southern boundary.

          5.The geographical integrity of any city, county, or city  
            and county, or of any geographical region shall be  

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            respected to the extent possible without violating the  
            requirements of any other subdivision of this section.

          In 1926, the people passed the so-called Federal Plan of  
          Reapportionment which divided the State into 40 Senatorial  
          districts based upon counties and 80 Assembly districts as  
          equal in population as possible.  Under this initiative a  
          reapportionment commission was created composed of the  
          Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Surveyor General,  
          Secretary of State, and State Superintendent of Public  
          Instruction.  In 1942, the Surveyor General was replaced by  
          the Controller on the Commission.  In 1964 in the court  
          case  Reynolds v. Sims  , the United States Supreme Court  
          declared the federal plans unconstitutional.  The  
          Commission tried to reapportion districts after the  
          Legislature failed in 1971.  In 1972, the state Supreme  
          Court in  Reinecke v. the Legislature  declared the  
          reapportionment Commission unconstitutional.  The court  
          indicated the Commission could only reapportion move  
          districts based on the federal plan.  Because the federal  
          plan was unconstitutional, so was the Commission.

          This Constitutional Amendment provides for the appointment  
          of a 11 member Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC)  
          which would establish congressional, Assembly, Senate, and  
          State Board of Equalization districts by February 28 of  
          each year ending in the number one, as follows:

           IRC Eligibility
           
          No more than four members of the IRC may be members of the  
          same political party and no more than two may reside in the  
          same county. 

          Each member must be continuously registered with the same  
          political party, or registered as unaffiliated with a  
          political party, for three or more years immediately  
          preceding appointment.

          Within the three years immediately preceding an  
          appointment, neither a commission member, nor a member of  
          his/her immediate family may have done any of the  
          following:  (1) been appointed to, elected to, or have been  
          a candidate for any public office, (2) served as an officer  

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          of a political party, or as on officer, paid staff, or paid  
          consultant of a candidate's campaign committee, (3) been a  
          registered lobbyist or an employee of, or a consultant to a  
          registered lobbyist. 

          Legislative and congressional staff and consultants,  
          persons under contract with the Legislature, and any person  
          who has contributed $10,000 or more to, has a financial  
          relationship with, or is an immediate family member of, the  
          Governor, a Member of the Legislature, a Member of  
          Congress, or a member of the State Board of Equalization,  
          are not eligible to serve as members of the IRC.

          During their terms, and for three years thereafter, IRC  
          members shall be ineligible for public office in this State  
          or for registration as a paid lobbyist.

          This bill also defines a member of a person's "immediate  
          family" as one with whom the person has a bona fide  
          relationship established through blood, marriage, or  
          adoption.

           IRC Appointments
           
          Requires the Judicial Council, panelists, Members of the  
          Legislature, and the Fair Political Practices Commission or  
          its successor agency, to work to ensure that the panelists,  
          pool of candidates, and commissioners, as applicable, are  
          representative of this state's racial, ethnic, cultural,  
          geographic, and gender diversity.

          Requires a panel of 10 retired superior court judges or  
          judges of the Court of Appeal, appointed by the Judicial  
          Council, to nominate candidates for appointment to the  
          commission.  The Judicial Council is to adopt rules and  
          procedures for appointing qualified panelists and for  
          selecting alternates in the event that a panelist is unable  
          to carry out his or her duties.  Of the 10 panelists, 5  
          shall be registered with each of the two largest political  
          parties in California based on party registration.  Each  
          panelist shall be a registered voter in this State who has  
          been continuously registered with the same political party  
          for three or more years immediately preceding his or her  
          appointment. 

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          By January 8 of each year ending in the number one, the  
          panel shall establish a pool of qualified persons who are  
          willing to serve on the commission, and submit a list of  
          the names of those persons to the President pro Tempore of  
          the Senate, the minority floor leader of the Senate, the  
          Speaker of the Assembly, the minority floor leader of the  
          Assembly, and the Fair Political Practices Commission or  
          its successor agency. 

          The pool of candidates shall consist of 55 nominees, with  
          20 nominees from each of the two largest political parties  
          in California based on party registration, and 15 who are  
          not registered with either of the two largest political  
          parties in this State. 

          No later than January 31 of each year ending in the number  
          one, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, the minority  
          floor leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly and  
          the minority floor leader of the Assembly may each strike  
          from the pool of candidates up to two candidates.  Each  
          legislative leader shall, in the following order, appoint  
          to the commission from the remaining candidates in the pool  
          two candidates who are registered with the same political  
          party as that legislative leader:

          1.The President pro Tempore of the Senate.
          2.The minority floor leader of the Senate.
          3.The Speaker of the Assembly.
          4.The minority floor leader of the Assembly. 

          The Fair Political Practices Commission, or its successor  
          agency, shall appoint three persons, by random selection  
          from the pool of candidates, who are not registered with  
          either of the two largest political parties in this State,  
          under a public process that is open to disclosure.

          The 11 members of the commission shall select one of the  
          three members appointed by the FPPC to serve as the chair  
          of the commission.

          The amendment also provided for procedures for removal of  
          commission members and the filling of vacancies.


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           IRC Proceedings
           
          Six members of the IRC, one of whom is the chairperson or  
          vice chairperson, would constitute a quorum and six or more  
          affirmative votes would be required for any official  
          action. 

          The IRC could only conduct business in meetings open to the  
          public and noticed at least 14 days in advance.

          With specified exceptions, the records of the IRC  
          pertaining to redistricting, and all relevant data would be  
          open to inspection.  Ex-parte communications with members  
          would be prohibited.

          The IRC would be required to display the maps of  
          congressional, Assembly, Senate, and State Board of  
          Equalization districts to the public for comment for at  
          least 30 days.  The Assembly or the Senate, or both, may  
          act within this period to make recommendations to the  
          Commission by majority or by minority report, which must be  
          considered by the IRC.  The Commission would then establish  
          final boundaries for these districts and certify them to  
          the Secretary of State.

          Actions by the Commission are all majority vote except the  
          final vote on the districts which will be by majority vote  
          of the Commission which much include at least one Democrat,  
          one Republican and one other.

          The Legislature would be required to make the necessary  
          appropriation adequate to meet the IRC's estimated expenses  
          in the annual Budget Bill.  

          The panel and the IRC would have procurement and  
          contracting authority and may hire staff and consultants,  
          exempt from civil service, including legal representation.   


          The Supreme Court will have original and exclusive  
          jurisdiction in all proceedings in which a plan adopted by  
          the IRC is challenged.

           Redistricting Criteria

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          Each member of the Senate, Assembly, Congress, and the  
          State Board of Equalization would continue to be elected  
          from single-member districts.  

          Party registration and voting history data must be excluded  
          from the mapping process but may be used to test maps for  
          compliance with other specified goals.  The places of  
          residence of incumbents or candidates may not be identified  
          or considered in the creation of a map, but may be  
          considered in establishing the boundaries of final maps.

          The IRC would establish districts to achieve the following  
          goals:

          1.Districts must comply with the federal Voting Rights Act  
            of 1965.

          2.Districts must each have equal population with other  
            districts for the same office, to the extent practicable  
            in compliance with the United States Constitution.

          3.Districts must be geographically contiguous to the extent  
            practicable.

          4.District boundaries must respect communities of interest  
            to the extent practicable.

          5.District lines must use visible geographic features and  
            city and county boundaries.

          6.Districts must be geographically compact to the extent  
            practicable.

          The commission shall establish and implement an open and  
          noticed hearing process for public input and deliberation.   
          The hearing process shall include at least the following  
          three stages:  (A) one or more hearings to receive public  
          input before the commission draws any maps; (B) one or more  
          hearings following the initial drawing and display of  
          commission maps; and (C) one or more hearings following the  
          drawing and display of the final maps.

           Background

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           Other States
           
          According to the National Conference of State Legislatures  
          (NCSL), since the landmark Supreme Court decisions of the  
          1960s that established the one-person, one-vote principle,  
          a number of states have shifted redistricting of state  
          legislative district lines from the Legislature to a board  
          or commission.  There are 12 states that give first and  
          final authority for legislative redistricting to a group  
          other than the Legislature.  Alaska, Idaho and Arizona were  
          the most recent states to join this group, using a  
          commission for the first time in the 2000 round of  
          redistricting. 

          There are pros and cons to removing the redistricting  
          process from the traditional legislative process and the  
          track record of success by commissions is inconsistent in  
          terms of having plans overturned by courts.  Some people  
          often mistakenly assume commissions will be less partisan  
          than legislatures when conducting redistricting, but  
          whether that actually occurs depends largely on the design  
          of the board or commission.

          Critics of the current redistricting process argue  
          congressional and legislative elections aren't competitive  
          largely due to the process of adopting new districts.   
          Arizona voters approved a state constitutional amendment in  
          the late 1990s, moving redistricting from the Legislature  
          to the five-member Arizona Independent Redistricting  
          Commission that must have at least one member who is not  
          from the two major political parties and must draw  
          districts using a specific list of criteria, including  
          making the districts competitive if at all possible.  In  
          2004, an Arizona state Superior Court overturned the plans  
          produced by the Arizona Independent Redistricting  
          Commission for failing to meet the competitiveness  
          criteria, in addition to other violations of the state  
          Constitution.

          The commissions vary greatly from state to state in terms  
          of their make-up. Most of them include appointments made by  
          legislative leaders. 


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           Recent Redistricting Initiatives
           
          Proposition 119, which failed passage in 1990 by a 36  
          percent to 64 percent vote, would have created a 12-person  
          Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission appointed by  
          a panel of three retired state appellate justices from a  
          list of voters nominated by nonprofit, nonpartisan  
          organizations.  The Commission was to adjust boundaries of  
          California Senate, Assembly, congressional, and Board of  
          Equalization districts by reviewing submitted plans and  
          adopting a plan or amending a plan which complied with  
          specified standards including a one percent population  
          variance and the "nesting" of Senate and Assembly  
          districts.

          Two similar measures failed passage in the early 1980s.   
          Proposition 14, failed passage in 1982 by a 45.5 percent to  
          55.5 percent vote and Proposition 39 failed passage in 1984  
          on a 44.8 percent to 55.2 percent vote.

          Proposition 118, which also failed passage in 1990 on a 33  
          percent to 67 percent vote, would have enacted new  
          redistricting criteria and provided that all Senate seats  
          stand for election during the same years as opposed to the  
          current staggered schedule.  Proposition 118 did not create  
          a redistricting commission but left that responsibility  
          with the Legislature.

          Proposition 77, another initiative intended to create a  
          redistricting panel, failed passage by a 59.8 percent to  
          40.2 percent vote on the November 8, 2005 Statewide Special  
          Election ballot.  The initiative would have required a  
          three-member panel of retired judges, selected by  
          legislative leaders, to adopt a new redistricting plan for  
          California's Senate, Assembly, congressional and Board of  
          Equalization districts immediately upon passage and again  
          after each federal decennial census.  The panel would have  
          been required to consider legislative and public proposals  
          and comments and hold public hearings.  The redistricting  
          plan would have become effective immediately when adopted  
          by the panel and then automatically submitted to the voters  
          for approval.  If voters subsequently rejected the plan,  
          the process would repeat itself.  The criteria the panel  
          would have followed included the following:

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          1.Population equality.

          2."Nesting" of Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization  
            districts.

          3.Respect for city and county borders.

          4.Compactness.

          5.A prohibition on splitting of census blocks except when  
            constitutionally required.

          6.No consideration of potential effects on incumbents or  
            political parties.  No data regarding the residence of an  
            incumbent or other candidate or the party affiliation or  
            voting history of electors may be used in the preparation  
            of plans, except as required by federal law.

          The proponent of Proposition 77 is sponsoring yet another  
          redistricting commission initiative that is currently  
          eligible for circulation.  This measure would create an  
          11-member commission selected randomly from voter rolls by  
          the Secretary of State.  

           Communities of Interest 
           
          The term "community of interest" is not defined by statute  
          but is generally considered a group of persons united by  
          shared characteristics, interests, values, history,  
          culture, ethnicity, background, economic ties, etc., that  
          may or may not coincide with a specific governmental  
          boundary.  For example, a river may form a boundary between  
          two cities or counties, but the entire river valley may  
          comprise a recognized community of interest. 

           Census Tracts
           
          According to the United States Census Bureau, census tracts  
          are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of  
          a county.  Census tracts usually have between 2,500 and  
          8,000 persons and, when first delineated, are designed to  
          be homogeneous with respect to population characteristics,  
          economic status, and living conditions.  Census tracts do  

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          not cross county boundaries.  The spatial size of census  
          tracts varies widely depending on the density of  
          settlement.  Census tract boundaries are delineated with  
          the intention of being maintained over a long time so that  
          statistical comparisons can be made from census to census.   
          However, physical changes in street patterns caused by  
          highway construction, new development, etc., may require  
          occasional revisions; census tracts occasionally are split  
          due to large population growth, or combined as a result of  
          substantial population decline.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

          This bill requires the Governor in 2009, and annually  
          thereafter, to include in the Governor's Budget an amount  
          of funding sufficient to meet the estimated redistricting  
          expenses and to make office space available for the  
          operation of the Commission.  It requires the Legislature  
          to make the necessary appropriation in the annual Budget  
          Bill.

          Although costs for the commission are unknown at this time,  
          this program is being modeled after an Arizona initiative  
          and costs for that commission in 2001 were estimated at $6  
          million.   In addition, costs for the Secretary of State  
          are estimated at $55,000 per page for ballot printing,  
          processing and mailing.  Recent initiatives have been four  
          to six pages long totaling election costs of between  
          $220,000 and $330,000.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/14/06)

          Mayor of Cupertino Richard Lowenthal
          American Association of Retired Persons
          California Common Cause
          California Metals Coalition
          California Nurses Association
          CALPIRG
          League of Women Voters of California
          People for the American Way
          Valley Industry and Commerce Association

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
                                                                             
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          "in California, as in many other states in the country, the  
          task of redistricting rests solely in the hands of the  
          state Legislature.  This task is regarded as the most  
          political act undertaken by the state Legislature.   
          Redistricting by the Legislature has resulted in  
          safe-district seats solely based on partisanship.  Safer  
          district seats are either uncontested or won by very large  
          margins, and elections are often determined in primaries.   
          This has led to more legislative and budget gridlock in the  
          state Legislature in past years, and a general feeling that  
          boundaries have served politicians' needs over the needs of  
          the people of California.  In response to the people of the  
          State of California whom have expressed their desire that  
          the Legislature take steps to enhance government  
          responsiveness, restore trust through transparency, and  
          eliminate barriers to access and participation."

          The League of Women Voters of California state that this  
          bill represents a major step toward instituting our goals  
          of redistricting reform, nonpartisan redistricting by a  
          diverse, independent commission, an open, transparent  
          process for maximum public input and scrutiny, and sound  
          criteria for drawing district lines.  Polls taken shortly  
          after the November election showed that large numbers of  
          Californians support redistricting reform in principle.   
          They state they are firmly committed to putting that  
          principle into practice through the legislative process.   
          They appreciate the willingness to consider the suggestions  
          they and other public interest groups have made for  
          improving the specific provisions of this bill, such as  
          increasing the size of the commission to 11 in order to  
          make it more representative of the diversity of California.


          DLW:nl  8/14/06   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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