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Redistricting Could Overshadow Budget Vote

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, June 6, 2011

Barring a handshake deal, Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg insists he'll put the budget up for a vote on Wednesday.

Steinberg: "It's getting very close to the time that we call the question and do everything we can to fund public education and public safety."

But many observers believe lawmakers won't even think about approving a budget deal until Friday.  That's when the state's Citizens Redistricting Commission will release its preliminary maps of new Senate and Assembly districts.  Democratic Assemblyman Bill Monning says he expects the maps will have some influence.

Monning: "Maybe I'm too much of a purist - I think we take an oath of office, we should be voting on what's in front of us and what's best for the people of the state of California.  That said, all of us are certainly curious to see what the Assembly lines will look like; what the Senate lines will look like."

Tea Party Republican Tim Donnelly puts it a bit more bluntly.

Donnelly: "I think politicians are always licking their finger and testing the wind."
Ben: "So that's a yes."
Donnelly: "That would be a yes."

Quinn: "I do think they will spend a lot of time looking at their new districts."

Tony Quinn co-edits the California Target Book, a non-partisan analysis of legislative and congressional elections.  He's examined the early version of the commission's maps.

Quinn: "There are going to be legislators in both parties who now currently have relatively safe gerrymandered districts who are not going to be safe.  And it's not going to be an easy vote for Republicans or for Democrats."

Quinn doesn't expect a final budget vote until after the maps are out - so Wednesday's vote may be nothing more than a drill.

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