Congressman Lowenthal Applauds Passage of HR 1 and His Redistricting Reform Act

March 8, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today applauded the passage of H.R. 1 in the House of Representatives. H.R. 1, the For the People Act, is a comprehensive voting rights, election security, and anti-corruption legislative package. This important legislation incorporates the Congressman's Redistricting Reform Act, a bill co-led by Congressman Lowenthal, House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Julia Brownley, and Rep. John Sarbanes which would require states implement independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional districts, thus removing politicians from the process and lessen the possibility of partisan gerrymandering.

"I am thrilled by the passage of the For the People Act, H.R. 1. This broad sweeping legislation is the most important piece of legislation to pass out of the House in a nearly a decade. Our democracy must be fair, secure, and representative of the people. This legislation will go a long way in restoring the faith and confidence in the voters that their voices, and votes, are heard. It is for these reasons that I'm angry Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel has stated that he will not even hold a vote on H.R. 1. Voters feel disenfranchised by a system that is dominated by gerrymandered districts and dark money, while remaining fearful that voter systems can be hacked or sabotaged. The American people deserve more from their government."

The Redistricting Reform Act language in H.R. 1 is a key component to protecting the voice of the people in the process. The Founders built the House of Representatives to be the chamber closest to the people, and therefore, must be accountable to the voters. For far too long, politicians from both parties have used gerrymandering to draw their own districts, choosing who will be voting for them. Requiring States to implement independent redistricting commissions, similar to California and Arizona, will restore the peoples voice in the process and make politicians accountable to the voters.

Congressman Lowenthal has been a longtime champion of redistricting reform and fought to end the practice of gerrymandering. The first bill he introduced in Congress, the Let the People Draw the Lines Act which, like the Redistricting Reform Act, required states to implement independent redistricting commissions to end gerrymandering of Congressional districts and give citizens more direct control over the redistricting process.

In 2015, Congressman Lowenthal led the bipartisan Member of Congress amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court supporting the right of citizens to establish independent redistricting commissions in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

In September 2017, Congressman Lowenthal also led the bipartisan Member of Congress amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court for Gill v. Whitford regarding extreme partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin, and later that year, he joined with colleagues in sending a bipartisan Member of Congress amicus brief in Benisek v. Lamone regarding extreme partisan gerrymandering in Maryland.

On Friday, he introduced a bipartisan amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in two pending gerrymandering cases before the Court that could stop the undemocratic partisan gerrymandering of political districts.

Congressman Lowenthal also introduced bipartisan House Resolution 36, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that congressional redistricting should be reformed to remove political gerrymandering.

While serving in the California State Legislature, Congressman Lowenthal introduced legislation to stop politicians from drawing their own legislative districts. This legislation helped paved the way for what eventually would become the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Click here to see Congressman Lowenthal's statement on the House Floor.

You can see Congressman Lowenthal's Op-Ed on H.R. 1 and Independent Redistricting Commissions here:  Op-ed at the Long Beach Gazettes.