California’s first citizens redistricting commission, authorized by the passage of Proposition 11 in 2008, will begin accepting applications on December 15. Prop. 11, also known as the Voters First Act, assigns the task of setting the geographic boundaries of the state’s 120 legislative districts and four Board of Equalization districts to a 14-member citizens commission. Previously, redistricting was the responsibility of the state legislature. State Auditor Elaine Howle discussed the process of developing the commission in a recent Capitol Weekly interview.
What if we accepted that small measures are inadequate for reinvigorating a stalemated state legislature? What if the situation calls for big ideas, radical proposals? The New America Foundation has one: Personalized Full Representation for the 21st Century (PFR21), “a system of representation by means of regionally based legislative elections that will allow the state’s citizens to set the agenda for their regions and for the state as a whole.”
Just in time for the November 4 election, the Reason Foundation has released a slew of reports on California ballot measures. The bond measures Prop. 1A High Speed Rail, Prop. 3 Children’s Hospitals, Prop. 10 Alternative Fuel Vehicles, and Prop. 12 Veterans’ Bonds, are treated in a single report. Prop 1A, Prop. 5 on Nonviolent Offenders, and Prop. 11 on Redistricting are covered more thoroughly in separate studies. For another perspective on the redistricting initiative, see the report from the Center for Governmental Studies. If after reading these you’re still undecided, check out the abundant resources on the ballot measures compiled by the Institute of Governmental Studies Library at Election 2008 Hot Topics.
In early March, the Citizens Fair Districting Act was added at the Attorney General’s Office as a pending initiative. According to an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, the measure “is expected to clear the secretary of state’s office and be ready for sponsors to gather signatures this week or next.”