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SB-139 Independent redistricting commissions.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/12/2019 04:00 AM
SB139:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  March 07, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 139


Introduced by Senator Allen
(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Gonzalez and Salas)
(Coauthor: Senator Hertzberg)

January 17, 2019


An act to amend Sections 23001 and 23003 23001, 23003, and 23004 of, and to add Section 23005 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 139, as amended, Allen. Independent redistricting commissions.
Existing law authorizes a local jurisdiction, defined as including a county, general law city, school district, community college district, or special district, to establish an independent redistricting commission, a hybrid redistricting commission, or an advisory redistricting commission to change, or recommend changes to, the district boundaries of the legislative body of the local jurisdiction. Existing law provides for the establishment of the County of Los Angeles Citizens Redistricting Commission and the County of San Diego Independent Redistricting Commission.
This bill would would, with certain exceptions, require a county with more than 250,000 residents on and after January 1, 2019, and on and after January 1 of every subsequent year ending in the number 9, to establish an a 10-member independent redistricting commission to adopt the county’s supervisorial districts after each federal decennial census. If a county subject to that requirement does not establish an independent redistricting commission on or before July 1, 2020, and July 1 of every subsequent year ending in the number 0, the bill would require a nine-member independent redistricting commission to be established census pursuant to a specified procedure. The bill would require a commission established pursuant to those procedures to take steps to encourage county residents to participate in the redistricting process, and would specify certain procedures for the commission’s hearing process relating to notice, the number of hearings, and translation of hearings. The bill would require the county to provide for reasonable funding and staffing of the commission. By increasing the duties of counties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would clarify that a local jurisdiction that is partially or wholly located in the County of Los Angeles or the County of San Diego may contract with the County of Los Angeles Citizens Redistricting Commission and the County of San Diego Independent Redistricting Commission to adopt the local jurisdiction’s election district boundaries.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 23001 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

23001.
 (a) This chapter applies to a local jurisdiction in which the legislative body is elected by or from districts.
(b) A local jurisdiction may establish by resolution, ordinance, or charter amendment an independent redistricting commission, a hybrid redistricting commission, or an advisory redistricting commission to change the legislative body’s district boundaries or to recommend to the legislative body changes to those district boundaries.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) or any other law, a county with more than 250,000 residents on and after January 1, 2019, and on January 1 of every subsequent year ending in the number nine, shall establish an independent redistricting commission pursuant to Section 23005 to adopt the county’s supervisorial districts after each federal decennial census.
(d) For purposes of subdivision (c), the estimate of a county’s population by the Department of Finance pursuant to Section 2227 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is determinative.
(e) Subdivision (c) does not apply to a county which adopted a ballot measure establishing an independent redistricting commission before January 1, 2019, unless that commission is subsequently repealed or invalidated by a court.
(f) This chapter does not apply to the following:
(1) A charter city and county.
(2) The County of Los Angeles, unless the commission established by Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section 21530) of this division is repealed or invalidated by a court.
(3) The County of San Diego, unless the commission established by Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 21550) of this division is repealed or invalidated by a court.

SEC. 2.

 Section 23003 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

23003.
 (a) This section applies to hybrid redistricting commissions and independent redistricting commissions.
(b) Each member of the commission shall be at least 18 years old and a resident of the local jurisdiction. Notwithstanding any other law, the local jurisdiction may prescribe the manner in which members are appointed to the commission, provided that the jurisdiction uses an application process open to all eligible residents and provided that the commissioners are not directly appointed by the legislative body or an elected official of the local jurisdiction.
(c) A person shall not be appointed to serve on the commission if the person or any family member of the person has been elected or appointed to, or been a candidate for, an elective office of the local jurisdiction in the eight years preceding the person’s application.
(d) A person shall not be appointed to serve on the commission if either of the following applies:
(1) The person or the person’s spouse has done any of the following in the eight years preceding the person’s application:
(A) Served as an officer of, employee of, or paid consultant to, a campaign committee or a candidate for elective office of the local jurisdiction.
(B) Served as an officer of, employee of, or paid consultant to, a political party or as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee.
(C) Served as a staff member or a consultant to, or who has contracted with, a currently serving elected officer of the local jurisdiction.
(D) Been registered to lobby the local jurisdiction.
(E) Contributed five hundred dollars ($500) or more in a year to any candidate for an elective office of the local jurisdiction. The local jurisdiction may adjust this amount by the cumulative change in the California Consumer Price Index, or its successor, in every year ending in zero.
(2) A family member of the person, other than the person’s spouse, has done any of the following in the four years preceding the person’s application:
(A) Served as an officer of, employee of, or paid consultant to, a campaign committee or a candidate for elective office of the local jurisdiction.
(B) Served as an officer of, employee of, or paid consultant to, a political party or as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee.
(C) Served as a staff member of or consultant to, or has contracted with, a currently serving elected officer of the local jurisdiction.
(D) Been registered to lobby the local jurisdiction.
(E) Contributed five hundred dollars ($500) or more in a year to any candidate for an elective office of the local jurisdiction. The local jurisdiction may adjust this amount by the cumulative change in the California Consumer Price Index, or its successor, in every year ending in zero.
(e) A member of the commission shall not do any of the following:
(1) While serving on the commission, endorse, work for, volunteer for, or make a campaign contribution to, a candidate for an elective office of the local jurisdiction.
(2) Be a candidate for an elective office of the local jurisdiction if any of the following is true:
(A) Less than five years has elapsed since the date of the member’s appointment to the commission.
(B) The election for that office will be conducted using district boundaries that were adopted by the commission on which the member served, and those district boundaries have not been subsequently readopted by a commission after the end of the member’s term on the commission.
(C) The election for that office will be conducted using district boundaries that were adopted by a legislative body pursuant to a recommendation by the commission on which the member served, and those district boundaries have not been subsequently readopted by a legislative body pursuant to a recommendation by a commission after the end of the member’s term on the commission.
(3) For four years commencing with the date of the member’s appointment to the commission:
(A) Accept employment as a staff member of, or consultant to, an elected official or candidate for elective office of the local jurisdiction.
(B) Receive a noncompetitively bid contract with the local jurisdiction.
(C) Register as a lobbyist for the local jurisdiction.
(4) For two years commencing with the date of the member’s appointment to the commission, accept an appointment to an office of the local jurisdiction.
(f) The commission shall not be comprised entirely of members who are registered to vote with the same political party preference.
(g) Each member of the commission shall be a designated employee in the conflict of interest code for the commission pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 87300) of Chapter 7 of Title 9 of the Government Code.
(h) The commission is subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code) and the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).
(i) The commission shall be subject to the same redistricting deadlines, requirements, and restrictions that would otherwise apply to a legislative body. A local jurisdiction may also impose additional requirements and restrictions on the commission, on members of the commission, or on applicants to the commission in excess of those prescribed by this section.
(j) The commission shall publish a map of the proposed new district boundaries and make that map available to the public for at least seven days before that map may be adopted. The commission shall hold at least three public hearings preceding the hearing at which the new boundaries are adopted.
(k) The commission shall not draw districts for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against a political party or an incumbent or political candidate.
(l) District boundaries adopted by an independent redistricting commission or adopted by a legislative body from recommendations provided by a hybrid redistricting commission, shall not be altered by the legislative body or the commission until after the next federal decennial census occurs, unless those boundaries have been invalidated by a final judgment or order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as may be necessary to account for changes to a jurisdiction’s territory, including changes through annexation or consolidation.
(m) For the purposes of subdivisions (c) and (d), “local jurisdiction” does not include a local jurisdiction that contracts with a county independent redistricting commission pursuant to Section 23004.

SEC. 3.

 Section 23004 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

23004.
 (a) A local jurisdiction, except for a county, may contract with a county in which the local jurisdiction is partially or wholly located that has established an independent redistricting commission to have that commission adopt the local jurisdiction’s election district boundaries. The county independent redistricting commission shall hold at least three public hearings in the local jurisdiction before adopting those boundaries.
(b) A local jurisdiction that is partially or wholly located within the County of Los Angeles or the County of San Diego may, with the approval of the board of supervisors of the county in which the local jurisdiction is located, contract with the independent redistricting commission established by Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section 21530) or Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 21550) of this division to adopt the local jurisdiction’s election district boundaries.

SEC. 3.SEC. 4.

 Section 23005 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

23005.
 (a) The following definitions apply to this section:
(1) “Board” means the board of supervisors of a county.
(2) “County” means a county described in subdivision (b).
(3) “County elections official” means a county’s registrar of voters.
(4) “Screening panel” means the screening panel created pursuant to subdivision (d).
(b) In any county described in subdivision (c) of Section 23001 that has not established an independent redistricting commission on or before July 1, 2020, and on or before July 1 in every year ending in the number zero thereafter, 23001, a county independent redistricting commission shall be established pursuant to this section. The commission shall consist of nine 10 members who shall be appointed on or before March 1, 2021, and on or before March 1 in each year ending in the number one thereafter. The political party preferences of the commission members, as shown on the members’ most recent affidavits of registration, shall be as proportional as possible to the total number of voters who are registered with each political party in that county or who decline to state or do not indicate a political party preference, based on voter registration at the most recent statewide election. However, a majority of commissioners shall not be registered with the same political party.
(c) (1) The commission selection process described in this section is designed to produce a commission that is independent from the influence of the board and reasonably representative of the county’s diversity.
(2) A commission member shall engage in conduct that is impartial and that reinforces public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process.
(d) (1) To aid in the nomination of qualified applicants to the commission, the county elections official shall establish a three-member screening panel pursuant to this subdivision. The screening panel shall include one of each of the following:
(A) A retired judge or a former member of a county civil grand jury.
(B) A professor of law, government, political science, or public policy public policy, or a similar field who teaches at an accredited institution of postsecondary education.
(C) A representative of a nonprofit nonpartisan good government organization that is located in, or has members who reside in, the county and that is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (26 U.S.C. Sec. 501(c)(3)).
(2) The county elections official shall randomly select members of the screening panel from a pool of qualified applicants. The county elections official shall recruit qualified applicants for the screening panel over a period of no less than two consecutive months.
(3) A member of the screening panel is subject to the requirements of subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), (c) and (d) of Section 23003.
(e) (1) Each member of a commission established pursuant to this section shall meet the requirements of Section 23003. Each of subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 23003 and shall be a voter who has been continuously registered with the same political party preference or with no political party preference either during the five years immediately preceding the date of the member’s appointment to the commission or since the member registered to vote for the first time, whichever is shorter.
(2)  Each commissioner shall also possess experience that demonstrates all of the following:

(1)

(A) Analytical skills relevant to the redistricting process and voting rights and the ability to comprehend and apply applicable state and federal legal requirements.

(2)

(B) Impartiality.

(3)

(C) An appreciation for the diverse demographics and geography of the county.
(f) (1) The county elections official shall request the assistance of neighborhood associations, community groups, civic organizations, and civil rights organizations to encourage eligible residents of the county to serve on the commission.
(2) An interested person meeting the qualifications specified in subdivision (e) may submit an application to the county elections official to be considered for membership on the commission. The county elections official shall designate an application period of at least two months.
(3) The county elections official shall review applications for membership on the commission and eliminate applicants who do not meet the criteria specified in subdivision (e). paragraph (1) of subdivision (e). The county may rely on an applicant’s certification that, to the best of the applicant’s knowledge, the applicant meets the requirements of this section. During the application period the county elections official shall maintain and periodically update a public list of qualifying applicants. applicants and shall review any allegations that an applicant on that list is ineligible to serve on the commission. If those allegations are substantiated the county elections official shall remove the applicant from consideration.
(g) (1) After the conclusion of the application process described in subdivision (f), members of the commission shall be selected pursuant to the following process:
(A) At a public hearing and after receiving public comment the screening panel shall nominate for membership on the commission no less than 35 30 and no more than 45 40 of the most qualified applicants, based on the criteria specified in subdivision (e). The screening panel shall nominate at least four three applicants from each supervisorial district. A member of the board, or an agent for a member of the board, shall not communicate with the screening panel or a member of the screening panel except at a public hearing. The political party preferences of the pool of nominees, as shown on the nominees’ most recent affidavits of registration, shall be approximately proportional to the number of voters who are registered with each political party in the county or who decline to state or do not indicate a party preference, based on voter registration at the most recent statewide election.
(B) From the applicants nominated pursuant to subparagraph (A), the county elections official shall create an applicant subpool The county elections official shall review the applications of the applicants nominated pursuant to subparagraph (A) and remove from consideration any applicant who does not meet the eligibility criteria specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (e). The county elections official shall divide the remaining nominees into five subpools corresponding to each of the five supervisorial district districts in the county.
(C) At a regularly scheduled meeting of the board the county elections official shall randomly select one commissioner nominee from each of the five subpools described in subparagraph (B). Those five nominees shall be appointed to the commission unless, if those nominees were appointed, it would be impossible to create a commission with members whose political party preferences would comply with subdivision (b). In that event the county elections official shall repeat the random selection as necessary until the composition of the political preferences of the selected nominees would make it possible to create a commission that complies with subdivision (b).
(D) The commissioners selected pursuant to subparagraph (C) shall review the remaining applicants in the subpools described in subparagraph (B) and shall appoint four five additional applicants to the commission. The four five appointees shall be chosen based on relevant experience, analytical skills, and ability to be impartial, and to ensure that the commission reflects the county’s diversity, including racial, ethnic, geographic, and gender diversity. However, formulas or specific ratios shall not be applied for this purpose. The commissioners selected pursuant to subparagraph (C) shall also ensure that the commission as a whole meets the requirement of subdivision (f) of Section 23003. consider political party preference and select applicants so that the composition of the political party preferences of the members of the commission comply with subdivision (b).
(E) The commissioners selected pursuant to subparagraph (C) shall select two applicants from the subpools described in paragraph (B) to serve as alternates. The commission may, by majority vote, appoint an alternate applicant from the pool of nominees described in subdivision (A) to fill a vacancy that may occur on the commission.

(2)At any time during the selection process and before a nominated applicant is appointed to the commission, the county elections official may eliminate a nominated applicant if the county elections official learns that the nominated applicant does not meet the criteria specified in subdivision (e).

commission, provided that the appointed applicant is registered with the same political party preference as the departed commissioner.
(2) A member of the board, or an agent for a member of the board, shall not communicate with either the screening panel or a member of the screening panel regarding whom to nominate for consideration on the commission, or with the commissioners selected pursuant to subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) regarding whom to appoint to the commission, except at a public hearing.
(3) The term of office of each member of the commission expires upon the appointment of the first member of a successor commission.
(4) Five members of the commission shall constitute a quorum. Five or more affirmative votes of the commission are required to take an official action.
(h) (1) The commission shall conduct at least five public hearings, with at least one public hearing held in each supervisorial district, before adopting a final map. The commission shall schedule hearings at various times and on various days of the week to accommodate a variety of work schedules and to reach the largest possible audience.
(2) Notwithstanding Section 54954.2 of the Government Code, the commission shall publish the agenda for any public hearing on the county’s internet website at least seven days before the hearing. The agenda shall include a copy of any draft map that is eligible for adoption.
(3) (A) The commission shall provide a live translation of a hearing held pursuant to this section in an applicable language if a request for translation is made at least 72 hours before the hearing.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph “applicable language” means a language spoken by members of a language minority group who reside in the county and who are greater than or equal to 3 percent of the total voting age residents of the county in number.
(i) The commission shall take steps to encourage county residents to participate in the redistricting public review process. These steps may include the following:
(1) Providing information through media, social media, and public service announcements.
(2) Providing information through neighborhood associations, community groups, civic organizations, and civil rights organizations.
(3) Posting information on the county’s internet website that explains the redistricting process and the procedures for testifying during a hearing or submitting written testimony directly to the commission.
(j) The board shall provide for reasonable funding and staffing of the commission.
(k) With any final map that the commission adopts, the commission shall issue a report that explains the basis on which it made its decisions.

SEC. 5.

 The amendment of Section 23004 of the Elections Code made by this act does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law.

SEC. 4.SEC. 6.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.