CA Congressional redistricting reform measure qualifies for November ballot

Breaking news from the California Secretary of State’s office: the proposed initiative that would give the Citizens Redistricting Commission control of California’s Congressional redistricting has qualified for the November 2010 ballot. The “Voters First for Congress” proposal, sponsored by Charles Munger, Jr., qualified with 842,260 “valid or projected valid” signatures. The measure needed at least 694,354 valid signatures to qualify.

According to the official ballot summary, the measure “Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission. Redistricting commission is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party. Requires that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Probably no significant change in state redistricting costs. (09-0027.)”

Full text of the proposal is available here.

The looming question is whether the initiative that would abolish the redistricting commission will also qualify. That proposal is backed by Speaker Pelosi and Representative Howard Berman. Their proposal was struggling until it received a multi-million dollar cash infusion from Hollywood mogul and major Democratic donor Haim Saban. The same Mr. Saban previously made a six-figure donation to the original measure to create the Commission. The story behind that donation was discussed earlier on this blog.

(Hat tip to Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert.)

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