Assemblyman Mike Davis
LOS ANGELES – Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill adding four key provisions to AB 420, legislation introduced by Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles) ending prison-based gerrymandering in the State of California by signing (AB 1986). Prior to (AB 420), for redistricting purposes, California followed the practice of prison gerrymandering, which counts prisoners where they are incarcerated, rather than in their last known legal residence, as required by Election Code Section 2025 of the California Constitution. (AB 1986) fine-tunes existing law (AB 420) by specifying the inmate address data provided by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is capable of identification at the census block level. It would expressly provide that inmates in federal facilities within California’s borders are not to be counted, based on the difficulty of obtaining accurate inmate population information from federal authorities. The bill would also expressly provide that inmates whose last known address who could not be ascertained are to be excluded from the count. Additionally the bill would address privacy concerns by requesting that the Commission refrain from publishing any address information that is specific to any individual inmate.
“This bill will ensure that the implementation of fair redistricting reform proceeds without any major problems,” remarked Assemblyman Davis.
“California is the 4th state to correct a serious flaw in the decennial Census,” said Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative in the Prisoners of the Census News (Oct. 9th issue). “California joins Maryland, New York and Delaware in ending the Census Bureau’s miscount of prisoners. The new law offers California voters a fairer data set on which future districts will be drawn,” explained Wagner.
A host of civil rights advocates, professional associations and unions supported the bill including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Los Angeles and Sacramento Urban Leagues, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, SEIU 1000, AFSCME, California League of Women Voters, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Teamsters, California Nurses Association, Latino Coalition of Los Angeles, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Salvadoran Business Corridor, SEIU-ULTCW, United States Veterans Initiative, Hispanic National Bar Association and many more.