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Villines Pushes for Citizen Panel to Redefine Political Districts

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The Assembly Republican leader is hoping to rekindle debate over creating a new way to draw the state's political boundaries -- and create more competitive elections. Supporters are hopeful this is the year it can get done. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines wants a citizens’ commission to do the job. His plan calls for four Democrats, four Republicans and three unaffiliated Californians -- all drawn from lists of registered voters. That differs from the Assembly Speaker's plan that would have a politically appointed body do the work.

Villines says ordinary citizens are up to the task.

Villines : If we have faith in the people to decide matters of life and death already as members of a jury, I don't think it's a stretch, nor should we fear having citizens draw our political lines.

Supporters say there's leverage to get something done this year. Democrats are backing a ballot measure to change lawmakers' term limits.   But Governor Schwarzenegger has said he will not support such a move unless there is also a ballot measure to reform the way political districts are drawn.

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