Lawsuit Against California Residency Requirement for Petitioners Moves Ahead

U.S. District Court Judge Philip S. Gutierrez has set a status conference for May 20 at 3 p.m. in Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County v Bowen, central district, 2:10cv-2488. He asked that all attorneys appear in person, rather than by phone, which suggests that the hearing will be about the substance of the issue in the case as well as about scheduling. The issue is the constitutionality of various California election laws that prohibit circulators from working outside their home districts. There has been no decision on the main issue so far. Instead, the U.S. District Court Judge had ruled that the plaintiffs don’t have standing, but then the 9th circuit had ruled that they do have standing, and sent the case back to the U.S. District Court for a decision.

Meanwhile, on April 29, the California Senate Appropriations Committee put SB 213 on the suspense file. SB 213 repeals all residency requirements for circulators, and if the bill were to pass swiftly, the lawsuit would be moot. But now the bill will not advance further until May 23 at the earliest.


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