Election Section

Davis signs bills aimed at status quo in Legislature, Congress

Friday September 28, 2001

Gov.Gray Davis has signed redistricting 

bills that will probably allow 

Democrats to dominate California’s 

Legislature and congres-sional 

delegation for the next decade. 

But the bipartisan measures 

also tend to strengthen Republicans’ 

hold on the seats they have 

now and may keep Democrats 

from winning a majority in the 

House of Representatives next 


“This reapportionment effort 

was a most cooperative bipartisan 

endeavor,” the Democratic 

governor said Thursday. “No 

plan is perfect, but the maps produced 

this year are fair and balanced.” 

Legislators are required to 

approve new districts for them-selves 

and the state’s congres-sional 

representatives every 10 

years to reflect population 

changes revealed by federal cen-sus. 

If one party controls the 

process it can draw the lines to 

try to create more winnable seats 

for its candidates. 

Democrats were firmly in 

charge of redistricting in Califor-nia 

this year because of their big 

majorities in the Legislature and 

the presence of Davis in the governor’s office. 

But Democrats decided to use 

the process to solidify their hold 

on the seats they have now 

instead of trying to draw several 

more Democratic leaning districts. 

That decision avoided a 

Republican Party challenge to 

the plans in court or through a 

voter referendum. 

However, a Democrat is likely 

to win the additional congres-sional 

seat that the state was 

awarded because of its popula-tion 

growth in the 1990s. That 

new seat is in Los Angeles 


Democrats currently hold 

26 of the 40 seats in the 

state Senate, 50 of the 80 

seats in the state Assembly 

and 32 of California’s 52 

seats in the House of Repre-sentatives. 

Davis said the plans were put 

together by “extremely diverse” 

legislative committees that 

included blacks, Latinos, Asians, 

gays and women. 

But some of the new districts 

have come under fire from Latino 

and Asian organizations that 

say the lines reduce the clout of 

minority group voters. 

And some female lawmakers 

have complained the 

Senate and congressional 

plans would prevent a number 

of assemblywomen from 

moving up the political ladder.