However, two recent initiatives have channeled the deep feeling of underrepresentation.
In May, a loose coalition of northern activists and residents, including an Indian tribe and the small northern city of Fort Jones, joined forces to file a federal lawsuit arguing that California’s legislative system is unconstitutional because the Legislature has not expanded with the population.
The suit, filed against the California secretary of state, Alex Padilla, who oversees election laws in California, calls for an increase in the membership of the bicameral Legislature, which since 1862 has capped the number of lawmakers at 120.
The lawsuit argues that California now has the least representative system of any state in the nation. Each State Assembly member represents nearly 500,000 people and each state senator twice that…..
The second initiative is a proposed amendment to California’s Constitution that would change the method for dividing districts of the Legislature’s upper house, the Senate. Instead of being based on population as they are now, Senate seats would be tied to regions, giving a larger voice to rural areas in the same way the federal Senate does.
“I am asking the people with power to give up some of their power in order to allow all the voices in the state to have a little bit more strength than they do right now,” said Mr. Gallagher, the assemblyman.