California Allows State Lawmakers to Effectively Live Outside Their Districts

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By NTD Newsroom
October 2, 2018US News
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A bill allowing lawmakers to effectively live outside of their districts was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on Sep. 29.

Senate Bill 1250 protects California’s 120 state lawmakers from prosecution regarding their primary residences.

According to California law, state legislators can only represent an area where his or her primary residence is located. The law also states that the address appearing on elected officials’ filed affidavit of voter registration is presumed to be his or her domicile, which must be a “place in which his or her habitation is fixed, wherein the person has the intention of remaining, and to which, whenever he or she is absent, the person has the intention of returning,” according to the bill.

Since lawmakers’ jobs often required them to leave their district and travel to the capitol, and they often owned multiple properties, they always faced the risk of having to prove their primary residence was indeed in their district.

However, state legislators are now allowed to enroll their children in out-of-district schools, receive mail at a residence outside of their district, claim homeowner’s exemption for a residence outside of their district, or have a spouse that lives and works in an out-of-district home, among other exclusions.

Lawn At California State Capitol Reflects State Of Drought
The lawn in front of the California State Capitol is seen in Sacramento, Calif. on June 18, 2014. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In 2014, State Senator Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) was convicted of voter fraud and perjury after prosecutors demonstrated that his primary residence wasn’t the one where he registered to vote. As a result, Wright was sentenced to 90 days in jail and later resigned from the Senate. But thanks to the crowded condition of the jails, he was released after staying for less than two hours.

Four years later, Sen. Steven Bradford, from the same district Wright represented, authored S.B. 1250, which allows a total of nine circumstances where legislators may have another residence that might appear to be their primary residence.

“SB 1250 does not expand residency requirements for incoming candidates, nor does this bill encourage candidates to run if they do not represent the best interests of their constituents,” said Sen. Steven Bradford in a statement.

“This bill is about allowing all legislators, who must travel and live in our state capital, to be effective leaders for our respective districts’ without the fear of being targeted by overzealous prosecutors or political adversaries.”

Previous opponents of SB 1250 included the California Common Cause and American Civil Liberties Union of California. However, they changed their status to neutral for the final version of the bill, since it didn’t change current residency law.

Correction:
A previous version of this article stated that California Common Cause and American Civil Liberties Union of California opposed the final version of the bill. The Epoch Times regrets the error.

From The Epoch Times

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