Convention Day One

From the convention;First Day: Delegate briefings at 9:00AM ( a short course on how to figure out what’s going on at convention)10:00 AM
The first hot item for all of the California delegation( 100 strong) was a proposed concurrence on Redistricting that was going to be offered by the Oregon and Virginia delegations. If approved by two thirds of the delegates the language of the proposal would be added to the LWVUS existing position on Redistricting and Reapportionment. LWVC President Janis Hirohama encouraged all California delegates to attend the caucus hosted by Oregon and Virginia delegations to discuss the potential negative impact of that proposal on the Voters First Redistricting Initiative headed for the California November Ballot.

The LWVUS has a very broad position on Redistricting and reapportionment that was first adopted in 1966 and subsequently refined after Supreme Court rulings and emphasizes equal populations, compliance with the Voting Rights Act and all other applicable laws. Like many of the League’s positions it is broadly written so that the LWVUS and the States that use LWVUS positions have many opportunities to put forward the League’s core positions.

The new language offered by the Oregon and Virginia delegations provided a one size fits all solution to redistricting in much greater detail. One of their concerns was that Congress would someday follow through on a bill to set redistricting standards and the League would not have strong enough guiding principals to lobby effectively.

There were concerns expressed by State League’s that already had a position or had had success implementing a system that worked for their State that a more expanded, detailed position would not support what they had in place in their States. Others , expressed the concern that it contained language that might be volatile buzz words in their communities and hamper efforts to reform the redistricting process in their State.

It was interesting to hear from States who had reformed their redistricting processes and were quite happy with the outcomes. Some of the States have redistricting commissions with equal divisions that are absolutely partisan or intentionally include Leadership from the State government in combination with other non-partisan independent members.

Long into the night, Saturday,leaders of the California delegation and others worked with Oregon and VIrginia to change some of the language of the proposal before it was brought to the floor of the plenary session on Sunday for consideration. There were significant enough changes that the California Leadership told us they would reluctantly support the proposal.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco delegation ( 4 delegates and our Program Manager), pepped up from non stop meetings on our first day and a wild introduction to parliamentary proceedings and a prolonged debate about changing the Rules of Convention at the first Plenary Saturday afternoon, had our own lively debate over dinner, about the Redistricting proposal and came to consensus at the end of dinner that the whole issue needed more study and that the proposal, though well intentioned to give more guidance before the redistricting happens in 2011 should be voted down.
Ultimately, the Redistricting Concurrence was moved for consideration, and subsequently moved for adoption .After intense and impassioned debate, the motion to adopt failed the required two thirds vote .

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