AB 764 and AB 1248 will help end gerrymandering in California and bring local redistricting into alignment with statewide and congressional redistricting standards
SACRAMENTO – A package of statewide redistricting reform bills that would help end gerrymandering and the abuse of local redistricting processes in California passed through the Assembly on Tuesday, May 30th, marking a major hurdle in the legislature.
Backed by civil rights, good government, and community organizations, AB 764 (Bryan) and AB 1248 (Bryan and Allen) would empower communities in the redistricting process and would help end gerrymandering at the local level by strengthening current redistricting protections and establishing independent redistricting commissions for larger local jurisdictions.
“The process of redistricting is crucial for determining representation of communities in government for the next decade,” said Laurel Brodzinsky, Legislative Director of California Common Cause. “These bills ensure that process is transparent, participatory, and driven by the community, rather than by politicians.”
AB 764 strengthens and expands 2019’s FAIR MAPS Act (FMA), which required cities and counties to use standardized, fair redistricting criteria that prioritize communities when drawing district lines. AB 764 strengthens the FMA’s redistricting criteria, public engagement requirements, and transparency measures, and would extend certain provisions to additional local governments, like school boards. It would also prohibit incumbent-protection gerrymandering and would give the public greater control over a process that fundamentally should belong to them.
Under AB 1248, counties and cities with a population over 300,000 people, and school districts and community college districts with a population over 500,000 people, would be required to establish an independent redistricting commission before the 2030 redistricting cycle. If they do not act on their own to design and establish a commission that meets their local needs, they would be required to utilize a more detailed default commission structure outlined in state law.
“We need to build on the success of the FAIR MAPS Act and expand the use of independent redistricting commissions to give diverse communities even more robust tools to ensure that their voices are heard, gerrymandering is eradicated, and our democracy can thrive,” said Dora Rose, deputy director of The League of Women Voters of California, primary sponsor of AB 764 and AB 1248.
“In San Francisco, many of us remember the litany of issues that eroded public trust in the redistricting process,” said Sietse Goffard, senior voting rights program coordinator at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, primary sponsor of AB 764. “Stories like these illustrate the importance of AB 764 and AB 1248 and the urgent need to create more transparent, independent, and fair redistricting that invites the input of all Californians.”
“Through independent commissions, residents have a platform to share what unites their neighbors and communities,” said Faith Lee, legislative director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California (AJSOCAL), primary sponsor of AB 1248. “They are able to learn from each other to identify district lines that empower those most often disenfranchised and underrepresented by partisan mapping.”
AB 1248 is sponsored by California Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of California, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Southern California. AB 764 is sponsored by California Common Cause, ACLU California Action, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, and the League of Women Voters of California.