ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Republican members with the Illinois House of Representatives are fighting for fair maps.
Illinois House Republicans are making an effort to take the redrawing process out of the hands of politicians and into the hands of an independent commission. The GOP members drafted a Fair Maps proposal and hope to introduce it to the General Assembly soon.
Tuesday afternoon, three House Republicans including State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) proposed legislation to create an 11 member bi-partisan commission responsible for re-drawing the state’s congressional district lines every 10 years.
This isn’t the first time lawmakers have tried to implement fairer redistricting legislation. In 2016, an amendment to the ballot was struck down in a 4-3 vote by the Illinois Supreme Court.
State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) said it’s a measure that many people in Illinois supported in 2016.
“Establishing an independent commission, removed from partisan politics and subject to public
scrutiny is not only logical, but it is overwhelmingly supported by the public,” Butler said. “Nearly 600,000 Illinoisans supported an independent commission ballot initiative in 2016. Although Illinoisans were not given the chance to vote for it, there is no reason we can’t create the commission through legislative statute instead.”
“We can act during the coming Lame Duck Session, and the governor can prove he was serious about his pledge to support fairly drawn maps by calling on both sides of the aisle to act now,” Butler said.
If it passes the House and Senate and gets signed by the governor, the measure would create the Independent Redistricting Commission and aim to hold public meetings while making records available to the public.
Spain said the proposal has support from both Republicans and Democrats. He said he is confident the measure has enough support to pass.
“Gerrymandering is a corrupt tool that must be taken away from the toolbox of Speaker Mike Madigan,” Spain said. “I think it’s important and I applaud and appreciate Governor Pritzker for campaigning on the premise of independent maps and the importance they reflect for the future of the state of Illinois.”
Spain said he’s supported previous measures in the past and assured this isn’t a plan for Republicans to gain more votes in districts.
“I think the process has to be fair and to me, this has nothing to do with electing more Republicans to the legislature; people might chuckle at that, but it really is truly about transforming how our state government works, and right now we have many members who are elected without opposition,” Spain said.
First-year State Rep. Jackie Haas, (R-Kankakee) said gerrymandering is a problem in her district.
“This disregarding of village and township lines disadvantages the residents of these villages,” Haas said.”It’s inexplicable that someone who lives in Momence can be represented by someone who lives in the area, but someone across the street from them cannot. Unfortunately, this example is not the only case.”
Spain and the other state representatives said the General Assembly must figure out the new legislative maps for the next 10 years by the end of June.
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