By Katherine Geyer
Signal Staff Writer
Several measures in Sacramento are seeking to take redistricting power out of the hands of lawmakers and into the hands of an appointed commission.
Aiming to limit political influence when drawing boundaries, two state senators and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez have each proposed constitutional amendments to form an appointed commission to draw district boundaries throughout the state.
Under current state law, it’s up to the legislators to draw the lines, but many have criticized the system because of the influence of politics in the redistricting process.
“I think an independent commission could remove some of the politics out of it and have communities that have shared interests be represented by the same person,” said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita.
Smyth’s district includes parts of Glendale, but does not include Castaic.
“Right now, it doesn’t really mesh. It doesn’t make sense to have the Santa Clarita Valley split like it is,” he said. “I believe an independent redistricting proposal would create more parity in the legislature and would more adequately reflect the attitudes of the state of California.”
Under the proposal put forth by Nunez, D-Los Angeles, there would be a diverse, bipartisan commission of 11 members, who have not recently held or run for an office. ACA 1 would require that commissioners would not have connections with the governor, legislators, members of Congress or the Board of Equalization.
Through SCA 9, state Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, has proposed creating an 11-member commission nominated by a panel of 10 retired judges. There would be four Republicans, four Democrats and three members unaffiliated with either party. Ashburn’s proposal does not include congressional boundaries, which some, including Smyth, say is critical to redistricting reform.
State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, has proposed SCA 10, which would have a panel of judges nominate independent citizens who would then be selected by legislative leaders.