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SCA 3 (Lowenthal), Redistricting Reform for California

August 19, 2006

REDISTRICTING UPDATE: KEEP UP THE PRESSURE FOR SCA 3!

With your support, the League of Women Voters of California has been a leader in the attempt to establish an independent citizens redistricting commission for California. For more than a year, we have worked with legislators, staff, and a broad coalition of public interest groups for a legislative reform measure that will be put before the voters. YOUR CONTINUING ACTION IS URGENTLY NEEDED if redistricting reform is to have a chance of success before the 2005-2006 legislative session ends on August 31.

This has been a tumultuous week for SCA 3 (Lowenthal and Ashburn), our reform bill. A week ago, its prospects looked shaky in light of legislators' discussions about linking redistricting reform to the extension of legislative term limits, an issue that has not had the careful public consideration that redistricting has. We told our senators that SCA 3 was a strong bill ready for a floor vote with no linkage to term limits, and on Wednesday the Senate responded by passing SCA 3 on a 27-11 vote!

Now, the bill must be considered by the Assembly, with a hearing, possible amendments, and a floor vote. Confusion reigned on Thursday over when the bill would be transmitted from the Senate to the Assembly. In addition, an attempt was made in the Assembly to pass a bill assigning an unfavorable description to SCA 3 if it makes it to the ballot; fortunately, that attempt failed.

The week ended on a quiet note, but there is an urgent need for the Assembly to receive SCA 3, schedule it for a committee hearing, and bring it to a vote of the full house in time for transmittal back to the Senate and final action before the session ends.

ACTION NEEDED:

Contact Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (916-319-2046, speaker.nunez@assembly.ca.gov) and Minority Floor Leader George Plescia (916-319-2075, assemblymember.plescia@assembly.ca.gov) immediately and urge them to give SCA 3 a committee hearing and a vote of the full Assembly next week. Urge them to act quickly so that final legislative action can be taken before the end of the session on August 31.

Then, contact your own assembly member to urge a "yes" vote on SCA 3. (Contact information is available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html.) Ask your representative whether he or she plans to vote in favor of the bill, and let us know of any concerns he or she expresses.

Please share this alert with your friends and colleagues; legislators need to hear from as many concerned voters as possible!

BACKGROUND: SCA 3 by Senators Alan Lowenthal and Roy Ashburn embodies the basic elements of redistricting reform advocated by the LWVC:

  • an independent citizens redistricting commission that reflects the diversity of our state
  • an open process for public input and scrutiny
  • sound criteria for the drawing of plans.

Provisions regarding each of those elements have been carefully worked out over many hours of hearings, legislative discussion meetings, and coalition meetings. The legislative process is working as it should to consider diverse suggestions and craft a measure that represents the best possible approach to reform.

Passage by August 31 is crucial if we want to avoid starting from scratch in next year's legislature! Although some thought is still being given to placing SCA 3 on the November 2006 ballot, it is most likely that, if passed by August 31, the measure will go on the next statewide ballot (June 2008).

Learn more about redistricting reform and SCA 3.

LWVC REDISTRICTING POSITION: Support a state redistricting process and standards that promote fair and effective representation in the state legislature and in the house of representatives with maximum opportunity for public scrutiny. Support of a bipartisan commission as the preferred redistricting body.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Trudy Schafer, LWVC Program Director/Advocate, tschafer@lwvc.org, 916-442-9210.

KEEP US INFORMED: Send an e-mail to advocacy@lwvc.org to let us know what action you have taken and any responses you receive.

 

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