10:00 PM PST on Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Enormous population growth means that Riverside County, more than almost anywhere in the country, is in line for a significant increase in congressional and legislative representation in the next political remapping, according to an analysis released Wednesday.

The new study by the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College was part of a capital conference on next year’s redrawing of political lines and the workings of the state’s first-ever Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Results of this year’s national census won’t be released until April. Wednesday’s study relied on other census data and local information, such as building permits, to estimate the current populations of California congressional and state legislative seats.

Without exception, Inland Southern California districts in place since 2001 are bursting at the seams, the study found.

Palm Springs Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s 45th Congressional District, for example, is 256,000 people above the projected 2010 average, the most in the state.

Hemet Sen. Bill Emmerson’s 37th Senate District has 319,000 too many people. Every Assembly district in the region is similarly over-populated.

The result: More Inland seats next year. The unknown is what they will look like.

Riverside County has added an estimated 750,000 people since 2000, about 60 percent of them Latino. The latest census data peg the county as 43.1 percent Latino.

Federal law requires redistricting plans that encourage, or at least don’t diminish, voters’ ability in heavily nonwhite areas to elect members of their own community.

The redistricting commission could decide to create Inland districts along those lines. A likely consequence would be more competitive races in the region.

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