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Santa Barbara County supervisors to hear report on redistricting commission

Santa Barbara County supervisors to hear report on redistricting commission

Current supervisorial districts

Santa Barbara County's current supervisorial district boundaries will likely change by September 2021 after an Independent Redistricting Committee redraws the lines based on the 2020 census.

A report on plans to form an independent redistricting commission is scheduled to come before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors when it meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Santa Barbara.

Marking the first update since voters approved formation of the commission last year, the report will provide the board with a tentative schedule devised by staff to meet dates required by the ordinance and a new law that will put a squeeze on adopting new district boundaries.

When voters passed Measure G in the November 2018 election, they approved certain key milestone dates for creating an independent 11-person commission to redraw supervisorial district boundaries in 2021, based on the results of the 2020 census.

However, the measure did not include timelines for the various phases of commission development to meet those timelines, and a new state law has complicated the issue, according to a report by Dennis Bozanich, deputy county executive officer.

So the County Executive Office has developed a tentative schedule that will satisfy the dates specified by the Measure G ordinance as well as recent state legislation that establishes a window for adopting a redistricting plan, Bozanich said.

Applications for the County Independent Redistricting Commission from Nov. 15 to Jan. 31, with applications to be reviewed from Feb. 3 through April 1, which is Census Day 2020.

Initial commission members will be selected by the Board of Supervisors, with additional members picked by the already-chosen commissioners, between May 1 and Sept. 15, according to the report.

The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release the county’s population data from the census in March 2021.

But commissioners will begin the redistricting process in September 2020 with an orientation, followed by two rounds of public hearings and development of a map of the supervisorial districts by June 2021, the report said.

Assembly Bill 849, signed into law last month, specifies that county redistricting plans can’t be adopted before Aug. 1 of the year following the census but the final plan must be adopted by Dec. 31, 2021.

The county timeline establishes an earlier deadline for the commission to adopt the plan and submit it to the county elections official, because with the statewide primary election set for March 8, 2022, the candidate petition process would have to start Sept. 10, 2021.

For that to happen, the new supervisorial district map would have to be approved prior to that date.

In his report, Bozanich noted the overlap of both the county and state redistricting processes with preparations for the primary election will affect nearly every jurisdiction in California, so the Legislature might move the primary election back to June, since it’s not in a presidential election year.

Bozanich said the Legislative Program Committee will monitor any proposals that might arise at the state level to remedy the problem and will report back to supervisors.


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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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