ILGOP Chairman Schneider: Pritzker must fulfill his promise to voters on fair maps and oppose obstruction from Madigan, Cullerton
“An overwhelming majority of Illinois voters supports independent redistricting reform, but Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton have, through lawsuits and obstruction in the legislature, blocked all efforts to let the people have their voices heard. Governor Pritzker must follow through on his fair map pledge, work around Madigan and Cullerton, and empower rank-and-file Democrats to stand up to their leaders and enact meaningful change. Republican lawmakers are ready to work with Democrats on this critical issue to finally get the job done. It’s time for the people to truly be able to choose their representatives, not the other way around.” – ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider
Yesterday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has filed a constitutional amendment, HJRCA 10, that mandates the creation of an independent redistricting commission to draw legislative district boundaries. All 44 House Republicans support the measure. Only 27 Democrats are needed to pass this measure. In the past, a similar measure sponsored by former State Rep. Jack Franks received near-unanimous support in the Illinois House. The Senate sponsors of that bill were Senators Heather Steans, Melinda Bush, and former Senator Dan Biss.
And in the Senate, a past version of an independent redistricting reform proposal received bipartisan support from 39 Senate Democrats and Republicans, enough to pass the measure out of the chamber, but President Cullerton refused to call the legislation for a vote.
Governor J.B. Pritzker has stated he supports an independent redistricting commission. Pritzker even went so far as to pledge he would veto any new legislative district map drawn by the General Assembly: “Yes, I will pledge to veto [any state legislative redistricting map proposal that is in any way drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies]. We should amend the constitution to create an independent commission to draw legislative maps…”
Several leading Illinois newspapers have also recently editorialized on the need for an independent redistricting commission.
From the Chicago Sun-Times: In the glow of victory, Governor, listen to the GOP on gerrymandering
…We know we’re asking Madigan and his pals — as well as the new governor — to behave nobly, to put democracy above partisan self-interest. And we know Republican legislatures, such as Wisconsin, have been anything but noble. They have worked overtime to skew election results through gerrymandering and other means.
But what’s right is right. It’s that simple.
The makeup of the Illinois Legislature — and of every state legislature — should reflect the will of the voters, not party bosses.
From The News-Gazette editorial: Another battle for fair maps
…Nonetheless, CHANGE Illinois hasn’t given up, and it’s determined to continue to apply pressure on legislators to initiate this important change. Further, it’s possible that Pritzker could play a key role in helping to bring about that change, although it’s equally possible that Madigan and Cullerton will ignore anything he has to say.
At any rate, Doubek said she and her allies remember Pritzker’s pledge not to sign off on a gerrymandered legislative map, and they intend to remind him of it on a regular basis.
…But Madigan is a ruthless political tactician who is determined to retain gerrymandering. Using the courts, he’s twice defeated efforts to put a proposed Fair Map constitutional amendment to a public vote.
Further, one ought not get too excited about Pritzker’s anti-gerrymandering pledge because, unfortunately, campaign promises don’t count for much.
When he was governor, Democrat Pat Quinn made the same pledge Pritzker did, only to meekly sign Madigan’s gerrymandered 2011 maps into law.
From The Dispatch-Argus editorial: Seize the day, give elections back to voters
Clearly, mapmaking is a power that Madigan has no intention of ceding. So how to go forth? First, lawmakers can stop leaving the fight to others; that includes the U.S. Supreme Court. Those applauding the court’s decision to again hear a pair of gerrymandering cases this term should be careful what they wish for. The court’s new makeup has court observers worrying that the majority will protect, not reject, partisan maps.
That means Pritzker and Illinois lawmakers must take the matter out of justices’ hands by crafting a constitutional amendment that creates an independent commission to draw districts that let voters choose their political leaders and not the other way around, as well as answers the constitutional objections raised in past court challenges.
They must then demand en masse that Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton call identical bills — without amendments — for a vote. And Pritzker must sign it.
From the Chicago Tribune editorial: What will J.B. Pritzker do with his clout?
…Pritzker will stroll into office with this friendly legislature he helped install. That advantage could elevate him higher even than Madigan, the nation’s longest-serving House speaker. Will Pritzker protect his own reputation and be a governor who demands performance? Will he use his leverage to insist on a truly balanced budget? On pro-growth strategies to keep residents and employers from fleeing? On reforms voters have been clamoring for, such as fair redistricting maps and term limits for politicians?
…California Democrats led on redistricting reform. A dozen other states have followed with fairer models that include less partisan influence. Illinois voters have been begging for those changes from a recalcitrant legislature. Unless Pritzker takes a leadership role on that issue, the next legislative map, drawn in 2021 after the 2020 census, likely will be a repeat exercise in incumbent protection and hyperpartisan politicking. Democrats fashioned the last set of maps for state and federal offices behind closed doors. They drew incumbents’ homes, their churches, their friends and their voting bases into each district on a block-by-block basis. It was patently undemocratic and self-serving — politicians choosing their constituents rather than the other way around.
From the Daily Herald editorial: Time for Pritzker, Democrats to follow fair-map vow
…Voters have other ideas. More than 563,000 of them signed petitions to put a question on a 2016 ballot for a constitutional amendment to have an 11-member board devise maps. It failed in the state Supreme Court that split sharply along party lines.
This year, scores of lawmakers signed on as sponsors to put a fair-map amendment on the ballot, but it never got called by legislative leaders for a vote. Pritzker has vowed to veto any gerrymandered maps. He needs to go further by championing a new process for drafting maps in the first place. Since we’re back at Square One, let’s create a process to leave map-drawing to a commission that’s independent of politicians and lobbyists, rather than simply bipartisan.
…There’s a risk in taking the high road and playing the game in a new way. We know that, but we hope Pritzker, and Illinois Democrats, do it anyway.
In the fall of 2016, a public opinion poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found that voters in Illinois – 72% in total, a record high – overwhelmingly support an independent redistricting commission.
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