Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 25, 2011
Federal suit challenges California's new congressional districts

Rebuffed by the California Supreme Court, a former Republican congressman and four others filed suit this week in federal court to overturn the state's newly drawn congressional maps.

The lawsuit by Mariposa Republican George Radanovich, who left Congress in January, marks the latest of numerous attacks by GOP interests against districts drawn for the first time by an independent citizens commission.

Radanovich's federal suit contends that the panel violated federal voting-rights law and the U.S. Constitution by seeking to protect three African American incumbents in the drawing of three Los Angeles congressional districts.

Redistricting Commissioner Stan Forbes, the current rotating chairman, defended maps drawn by the 14-member panel created by voter passage of Proposition 11 in 2008. The commission consists of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters not affiliated with either party.

"The commission carefully considered the drawing of each districts and our decisions were fully briefed by our Voting Rights Act counsel," Forbes said. "We expect our maps, once again, to withstand any legal challenges."

U.S. Reps. Karen Bass, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson, all Democrats, are the incumbents whose districts are the lawsuit's focus.

November 25, 2011
Four more California ballot proposals cleared for circulation

Four more proposed ballot initiatives were cleared earlier this week for signature gathering in California, which means there are a grand total of 30 initiatives and referendums now in circulation.

The latest four would tax oil and natural gas extracted in California; abolish all of the state's environmental laws and agencies and establish rights to carbon dioxide and "universal heal thyself care," among other things; legalize marijuana for adults 19 and older; and tax Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances.

Proponents face a deadline of April 19 for submitting signatures. All but the proposal to abolish environmental laws and agencies must submit nearly 505,000 valid signatures. Backers of the anti-environmental proposal must submit nearly 808,000.

Learn more about the proposals at the secretary of state's web site.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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