SACRAMENTO — The Assembly’s redistricting committee Monday approved its rules for drawing new legislative and congressional districts, but no one at the hearing was very happy about the time allotted for public scrutiny of the new district lines.
However, lawmakers insisted they would try to provide as much time as possible for the public to analyze and critique the final district maps before the Legislature approves than in September.
The Legislature will be redrawing Assembly, Senate and congressional district lines this summer to reflect the population changes revealed by the 2000 census. The lines will determine the shape and makeup of the state’s legislative and congressional delegations for the next decade and influence which party controls Congress and the Legislature.
The rules, approved by an 8-0 vote of the Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendment Committee, call for eight public hearings around the state before the plans are drawn. The hearings start May 4 in San Diego.
That was an increase of one from the number of hearings proposed last week.
Voter organizations, civil rights groups and lawmakers were more concerned Monday about later public hearings on the final redistricting plans. The rules currently call for only one day of notice before two days of public hearings on those plans.
“Two days of hearings following one day of notice is very minimal. I think you can do better,” said Trudy Schafer of the League of Women Voters.
Alan Clayton of the California Latino Re-Districting Coalition said at least five days are needed to look at the complicated plans and talk to communities around the state about impact of the plans.
“I would like an opportunity for meaningful input from other than members of this house on the maps,” added Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach.
The committee chairman, Assemblyman John Longville, a Rialto Democrat, said it was difficult to specify time for notice and hearings on the final plans because both houses would be involved and lawmakers would be facing deadlines.
“It is our intent to make that notice the absolutely maximum possible. It depends on how close to the deadline we are,” he said.
He said the committee might amend its rules later to add additional time for public hearings on the final maps.
On the Net:
The committee’s Web page is http://www.assembly.ca.gov/erca