Backers of an initiative that would replace the state Senate and Assembly with a nonpartisan single-house legislature have received authorization to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Wednesday.
The initiative initially calls for a 250-member Legislature in 2022. Starting in 2024, the Legislature would have one legislator for every 80,000 to 100,000 people in California. The number of legislators would be updated every 10 years to reflect population changes as reported by the national Census.
Legislators would serve four-year terms and could serve for no more than 12 years.
The Legislature currently consists of 40 senators serving four-year terms and 80 members of the Assembly serving two-year terms. There is a 12-year term limit for legislators.
Author Sharon Durst said her initiative would result in “an improved, more accountable government.”
If the initiative were to become law, there would be one-time costs of hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the State Capitol in Sacramento, with ongoing increased building maintenance costs of a few million dollars annually, according to an analysis made by the Gabriel Petek, a legislative analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
The analysis also found there would be increased state costs of millions of dollars per year to oversee elections, increased county costs of up to the low tens of millions of dollars annually to administer elections and increased state costs of millions of dollars each decade for the Citizen Redistricting Commission.
Valid signatures from 997,139 registered voters — 8% of the total votes cast for governor in the 2018 general election — must be submitted by April 20 to qualify the measure for the November 2020 ballot, Padilla said.
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