Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) has introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 16, which would reapportion State Senate Districts to ensure each of California’s unique regions have a voice in the State Legislature.
“The Representation Equality Act would provide an important check to tyranny of the majority by allowing every region to have an equal say and representation in important policy issues. This would ensure no one region can dominate others, and would help build a consensus that better reflects the interest and concerns of all Californians,” said Assemblyman Gallagher.
Both State Senate and State Assembly districts are currently drawn based on population. This results in different regions having vastly different levels of representation in the State Legislature. For example, Los Angeles County is represented by 14 different State Senators. On the other hand, the nine counties of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, and Siskiyou share one Senator.
“Rural communities throughout the valley and foothill/Sierra regions have long been under-represented. This Constitutional Amendment will help balance the scale for the citizens in these regions so that our needs and concerns are equal to those who live in Los Angeles and San Francisco,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), a co-author of the legislation. “Every region deserves an equal say, and this is a start,” added Assemblyman Brian Dahle (R- Bieber) who is also authoring the legislation.
ACA 16 would divide the State Senate districts to better represent the diverse regions of California, while preserving the principal of one-person one-vote in the State Assembly. Specifically, the legislation would create eight (8) regions, with five (5) senators elected from each region. The five districts within each region would be determined by the Citizens Redistricting Commission in accordance to existing criteria, including population, geographic continuity, and common interests.
Citizens for Fair Representation filed a lawsuit, that alleges unequal legislative representation, on May 8, 2017 in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, in Sacramento. The group includes Mark Baird and Terry Rapoza, who are among the State of Jefferson’s leaders.
According to the website Ballotpedia, California had the highest number of residents per state Senator and Assemblymember out of all 50 states in 2010.