Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lawmakers to push measure to reorganize state Senate

Two Assembly members are reportedly moving forward with a proposed state constitutional amendment to reorganize the state Senate to provide more rural representation, which I blogged about in February.

Republican Assemblymen James Gallagher of Yuba City (top photo) and Brian Dahle of Bieber want to create eight Senate districts statewide based on region, with five senators from each district. As it is now, there are a dozen senators from Los Angeles County alone.

Gallagher and Dahle want to push a bill through the Legislature to put such a measure on the ballot.

Dahle unveiled the plan during a panel discussion at the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference in Anderson. Asked then how he plans to get the bill passed, Dahle said he and Gallagher will appeal to lawmakers and their constituents from places like the Inland Empire, the Central Valley and the Bay Area, which would get more representation under their proposal, and hope enough voters from coastal Southern California agree that a more equitable system is needed.

He points to the makeup of Congress, where House districts are based on population but two senators are chosen from each state.

The proposal was to be rolled out in February but was tabled because Gallagher, who is leading the effort, was busy dealing with the Oroville Dam situation.

Interestingly, Dahle was asked during the panel discussion if he supported the State of Jefferson movement, and he said he didn't believe such a break from California was possible. But I wonder if it would be more possible for the Jefferson region to achieve statehood, perhaps as a tradeoff for District of Columbia statehood, than for it to persuade Los Angeles to give the region five of its state senators.

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