The Citizens Redistricting Commission has released their first draft maps of redrawn Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization districts. Created by Californians who voted for it in a 2008 ballot measure, the five Democrats, five Republicans and four “decline to state” voters on the Commission have been tasked with the job once held by lawmakers every ten years. Legislators often came under fire when drawing district lines as for fear such a process would necessarily protect incumbents from any political challenges.
The release of the first draft of redrawn redistrict lines comes just days before the June 15th budget deal deadline, and has many wondering what impact (if any) redistricting will have on the budget logjam Californians have grown used to in recent years. While Republicans have typically put their foot down on tax hikes and Democrats have stayed adamant about limiting spending cuts, the $10 billion deficit slated to follow us into the nest fiscal year could change based on the lines drawn. Will members whose districts have been redrawn to be more competitive now find themselves breaking party lines over the budget in order to keep their seat as their constituency base changes? Only time will tell…and, as always, the Planning and Conservation League will keep you posted on any developments regarding the budget or redistricting that may impact environmental decisions made in the Capitol.