Assembly Bill 2494 creates a public citizen-run independent redistricting commission
- Michael Dyar
- Legislative Director
KINGS COUNTY – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) applauded the signing of Assembly Bill (AB) 2494, which will reform the Kern County redistricting process by creating an independent redistricting commission modeled after the Statewide commission that voters approved in 2008. The independent commission will be made up of voters who live in Kern County, including Republicans, Democrats, and Decline to State to ensure that all voices are heard in the redistricting process.
“AB 2494 ensures that voters will choose their elected officials and not the other way around,” said Assemblymember Salas. “The independent commission will bring transparency and protect taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars wasted on unconstitutional political maps like in 2017 when the Board of Supervisors was sued. This bill is a continuation of my work to safeguard our free and fair elections. Kern County voters will be empowered to draw fair districts that reflect their own communities and remove the practice of Supervisors dividing up communities for their own political gain.”
“The Dolores Huerta Foundation is thrilled that the legislature heard the residents of Kern County and passed AB 2494, establishing an Independent Redistricting Commission for the Kern County Board of Supervisors beginning in 2030,” said the Dolores Huerta Foundation. “For the first time Kern County residents will draw local lines, resolving the inherent conflict of interest that exists whenever politicians draw their own districts. AB2494 puts the power to elect leaders back where it belongs, in the hands of the voters. We are profoundly grateful to the community members who advocated for the bill and Asm. Salas for his leadership.”
The Kern County Board of Supervisors has a history of disenfranchising voters of color during the redistricting process, and has been successfully sued twice for violating the voting rights of Latino voters. The most recent lawsuit came in 2017, when a federal court found the Kern County Supervisors disenfranchised Latino voters and cost Kern taxpayers $12 million dollars. Kern County Supervisors had to be legally compelled to draw two Voting Rights Act districts, one of which became the seat for the first Latino Supervisor in Kern County history. Assemblymember Salas secured in the 2022-23 State Budget $1 million for Kern County to set up the Citizens Redistricting Commission in 2030, during the next statewide redistricting process.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.