Last Wednesday, the Senate approved “second passage” of a constitutional amendment to establish a new, independent body to oversee the process of redrawing state legislative district lines after the 2020 census.  The proposal will be on the November ballot, and will take effect if approved by voters.

For the last four redistricting cycles, the line drawing process was undertaken by the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment, known as LATFOR.  LATFOR was controlled by the parties in the majority in each house, and critics charge that it drew lines that were designed to bolster those majorities.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, the new redistricting commission would have 10 members. The four leaders of the Democrats and Republicans in the Assembly and the Senate would each get two appointments. Those eight members would then pick two people who have not been enrolled in a major political party for five years.

Good government groups are split on the proposal, with some saying that it will be ineffective, while others argue that it will force compromise.