Redistricting Update - Final Maps Tentatively Approved

New legislative, congressional and Board of Equalization boundaries were tentatively approved today by California's Citizen Redistricting Commission.  Final action will be taken August 15th on the maps, which are expected to be used for next year's statewide races.

The 53-district congressional plan nearly was killed by Republicans, receiving no votes from GOP members Michael Ward and Jodie Filkins Webber.  Three other Republicans on the panel gave the maps thumbs up. The 14-member citizens commission consists of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, five apiece, with four independent or minor-party members.  Map approvals require support from three members of each bloc.  Only Ward opposed the 80-district Assembly map and the four-district Board of Equalization map.

Once the final vote is taken on August 15th, expect the litigation to begin.  California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said this week that his party is considering either filing a lawsuit or launching a referendum to fight some or all of the maps.

The commission also is bracing for other challenges.  It has hired two high-powered law firms to defend the maps, and the state has set aside $1.5 million to bankroll litigation costs.