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State lawmakers seek independent panel for L.A. County redistricting

State lawmakers seek independent panel for L.A. County redistricting
State lawmakerspropose handing drawing maps forL.A. County supervisorial districts to an independent commission. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors would be stripped of its ability to redraw its own district boundaries and the job would be given to an independent, citizen-run commission under a proposal advanced Tuesday by state lawmakers.

The Senate Elections Committee voted to approve the independent redistricting process called for in a bill by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). Final approval by the full Senate and Assembly is still required.

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With redistricting conducted after each federal census, the state measure would create an independent redistricting commission to go into effect Dec. 31, 2020.

"For a county with over ten million residents, which is greater than the population of forty one US states, it is imperative that we have a fair, impartial process for drawing district boundaries," Lara said in a statement.

San Diego County has already received state approval to establish a redistricting commission.

Modeled after a process approved by voters for the state Legislature's last redistricting process, the bill calls for interested registered voters in the county to file applications to volunteer, and 60 finalists would be recommended by the county registrar-recorder. A random drawing would then select eight of the commission members who would use the remaining pool to select the final six members.

The membership will be balanced by political affiliation, ethnicity and other factors.

The process was praised when it was used to redraw state legislative districts in 2011.

"Having political district lines drawn so that communities of interest are respected and protected will enable groups of constituents who share common concerns by virtue of where they live to have a more powerful voice in the political process," Lara said in support of SB 958.

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