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Text of Proposition 27, the "Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act of 2010" (California)

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This page is the complete text of the act that will become law if California Proposition 27, Elimination of Citizen Redistricting Commission (2010) is approved.

Note: Proposition 27, if approved, will alter several parts of the California Constitution. In the text displayed below, parts of the California Constitution that Proposition 27 proposes to delete are printed in strikeout type. New provisions that Proposition 27 proposes to add to the California Constitution appear in italic type to indicate that they are new.

SECTION 1. Title.

This Act shall be known and may be cited as the “Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act” or “FAIR Act.”

SECTION 2. Findings and Purpose.

The people of the State of California hereby make the following findings and declare their purpose in enacting the FAIR Act is as follows: (a) Our political leadership has failed us. California is facing an unprecedented economic crisis and we, the people (not the politicians), need to prioritize how we spend our limited funds. We are going broke. Spending unlimited millions of dollars to create multiple new bureaucracies just to decide a political game of Musical Chairs is a waste—pure and simple. Under current law, a group of unelected commissioners, making up to $1 million a year in cumulative salary, preside over a budget that cannot be cut even when state revenues are shrinking. This reform will cut wasteful spending on unnecessary bureaucracies whose sole purpose is to draw districts for politicians. This initiative reform provides a permanent cap on this kind of spending, and prohibits any spending increases without approval by the voters. It will save many millions of dollars.

(b) Under current law, three randomly selected accountants decide who can be one of the 14 unelected commissioners who head a bureaucracy that wields the power to decide who represents us. This reform will ensure that those who make the decisions are accountable to the voters and that all of their decisions are subject to approval by the voters.

(c) Voters should always have the final voice. Under current law, voters can be denied the right to pass a referendum against unfair Congressional district gerrymanders. A referendum means that we, the voters, have a right to say “no” to the Legislature, say “no” to a statute with which we disagree. Under current law, protections to ensure a transparent, open process can be changed against the will of the people. This initiative reform ensures that voters will always have the right to challenge any redistricting plan (including the Congressional plan) and that no government officials can deny the public the right to participate in the process.

(d) One-person-one-vote should mean something. But under current law, some people can count 10 percent more than others. Under current law, one district could have almost a million more people than another. That is not fair representation, it is the opposite. Historically, severely underpopulated districts were called “rotten boroughs.” This practice must be stopped. This reform will ensure that all districts are precisely the same size and that every person counts equally.

(e) Unaccountable appointed officials cannot be trusted to serve the interests of our communities. The last time unelected officials drew districts, they split twice as many cities as those drawn by people who were accountable to the voters. This fracturing of cities diminishes the power of local communities. This reform strengthens protections against splitting counties and cities. We need reform to keep our communities and neighborhoods together so everyone has representation.

(f) Sacramento has become a full-time game of Musical Chairs—where incumbent term-limited politicians serve out their maximum term in one office and then run for another office where they are a shoo-in. This must stop! Current law gives State Assembly members the homefield advantage in running for the State Senate and gives State Senators the same advantage when running for the State Assembly. This is because current law mandates that in virtually all situations each State Senator represent 100 percent of two Assembly seats; each Assembly member represents 50 percent of a Senate district. Sacramento politicians already have access to millions of dollars from lobbyists and special interest groups. Stacking districts to further disadvantage ordinary people (homeowner groups, small business, environmental and community activist groups) who don’t have access to the special interest contributions that flow to Sacramento incumbents is outrageous. This reform ends this practice.

(g) “Jim Crow” districts are a throwback to an awful bygone era. Districting by race, by class, by lifestyle or by wealth is unacceptable. Yet the same proponents who backed the current failing law have also proposed mandating that all districts be segregated according to “similar living standards” and that districts include only people with “similar work opportunities.” Californians understand these code words. The days of “country club members only” districts or of “poor people only” districts are over. This reform ensures these districts remain a thing of the past. All Californians will be treated equally.

SECTION 3. Amendment of Article II of the California Constitution.


Section 9 of Article II of the California Constitution is amended to read:

SEC. 9. (a) The referendum is the power of the electors to approve or reject statutes or parts of statutes except urgency statutes, statutes calling elections, and statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for usual current expenses of the State. None of these exceptions shall apply to any statutes or parts of statutes approving the final maps setting forth the district boundary lines for Congressional, Senate, Assembly, or State Board of Equalization districts.

(b) A referendum measure may be proposed by presenting to the Secretary of State, within 90 days after the enactment date of the statute, a petition certified to have been signed by electors equal in number to 5 percent of the votes for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election, asking that the statute or part of it be submitted to the electors. In the case of a statute enacted by a bill passed by the Legislature on or before the date the Legislature adjourns for a joint recess to reconvene in the second calendar year of the biennium of the legislative session, and in the possession of the Governor after that date, the petition may not be presented on or after January 1 next following the enactment date unless a copy of the petition is submitted to the Attorney General pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 10 of Article II before January 1.

(c) The Secretary of State shall then submit the measure at the next general election held at least 31 days after it qualifies or at a special statewide election held prior to that general election. The Governor may call a special statewide election for the measure.

SECTION 4. Amendment of Article XXI of the California Constitution.


Section 1 of Article XXI of the California Constitution is amended to read:

SECTION 1. In the year following the year in which the national census is taken under the direction of Congress at the beginning of each decade, the Legislature shall adjust the boundary lines of congressional, Congressional, State Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization districts in conformance with the following standards and process pursuant to a mapping process using the following criteria as set forth in the following order of priority:

(a) Each member of Congress shall be elected from a single-member district.

(b) Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution. The population of all congressional districts shall be reasonably equal precisely equal with other districts for the same office. If precise population equality is mathematically impossible, a population variation of no more than plus or minus one person shall be allowed. After following this criterion, the Legislature shall adjust the boundary lines according to the criteria set forth and prioritized in paragraphs (2), (3), (4), and (5) of subdivision (d) of Section 2. The Legislature shall issue, with its final map, a report that explains the basis on which it made its decisions in achieving compliance with these criteria and shall include definitions of the terms and standards used in drawing its final map.

(c) Districts shall comply with the federal Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1971 and following) and all federal law in effect at the time the districting plan is adopted.

(d) Districts shall be geographically contiguous.

(e) The geographical integrity of any city, county, city and county, or community of interest shall be respected in a manner that minimizes its division. No contiguous city, county, or city and county that has fewer persons than the ideal population of a district established by subdivision (b) shall be split except to achieve population equality, contiguity, or to comply with all federal constitutional and statutory requirements including the Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1971 and following).

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