Proposition 77: Redrawing District Boundaries

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Proposition 77 calls for a change in California’s constitution that would transfer the power of drawing district lines for congressional and state legislative races from the state Legislature to a randomly selected panel of three retired judges. Currently the state Legislature, using census data from the first year of the decade, configures the districts.

California State University Stanislaus Political Science Professor Larry Giventer says if approved Proposition 77 would do more than determine who draws the district lines. "Perhaps be more important and that is it will proceed with redistricting now, mid decade rather than wait until 2010 for the next census."
A study by the California-based Rose Institute concluded that if approved, Proposition 77 would make at least ten legislative races more competitive. Douglas Johnson is a spokesman for the Institute. "There would be a significant amount of increased competition in Congressional, Assembly and state Senate races if Prop 77 were to pass."
Those supporting Prop 77 are running a number of Television ads, claiming there needs to be a change because incumbents only look out for themselves. 
There is opposition to the initiative.
Paul Hefner of Californians for Fair Representation calls the proposal a ruse. "Proposition 77 is essentially a power play. It’s sponsored by politicians who want to draw political districts more favorable to them.
 Hefner, along with many Latino groups don’t think a three-judge panel would be unbiased or representative of the state’s population.