Assembly Approves Cervantes Bill to Reform Local Government Transitions to District-Based Elections

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, the Assembly approved Assembly Bill 2123 by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) by a bipartisan vote of 60 to 3.

  • AB 2123 would reform the existing process for local governments to transition to district-based elections by providing for a mutually agreed-to extension of up to 90 days for local governments and potential plaintiffs to continue negotiating the transition.
  • During this period, just as under existing law, no party can commence California Voting Rights Act litigation against the local government due to their at-large election system.
  • AB 2123 is a consensus measure supported by the League of Cities, as well as voting rights organizations such as MALDEF, the ACLU, and Common Cause.

“Assembly Bill 2123 will make it easier for cities in the Inland Empire and throughout California to navigate the transition to district-based elections,” Assemblymember Cervantes said. “I am proud to bring our cities and voting rights organizations together to find a commonsense, bipartisan reform to the existing transition process.”

The bill is, in part, a response to pending litigation that the City of Norco is facing due to their at-large election system.

  • However, the bill would not affect the City of Norco directly, as this legislation cannot affect ongoing or pending litigation.
  • If enacted, AB 2123 would apply prospectively to local governments beginning January 1, 2019.

The enactment of AB 350 (2016) established the framework which governs local government transitions from at-large to district-based elections.

  • However, after the enactment of AB 350, local governments and voting rights organizations have both found that additional time is often needed to implement a successful transition.
  • Additional time would allow local governments to engage in more outreach to ensure that public input is heard while prospective districts are being drawn.
  • With additional time to mobilize, underrepresented communities would be better equipped to advocate for their interests in the drawing of district boundaries.

The bill will next be sent to the Senate to await a hearing by a Senate policy committee. You can find more information about AB 2123 here.

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Sabrina Cervantes proudly represents the 60th District of the California State Assembly, which encompasses the communities of Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Norco, and a portion of the City of Riverside.