After four hours of grueling testimony, an Illinois Senate committee on Monday night passed along partisan lines a proposal sponsored by state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) that would alter how lawmakers redraw the state’s legislative districts in 2010 (following the latest Census figures). A measure sponsored by Senate Republicans,
and modeled after a citizen initiative supported by reform groups, was
killed. Senate Democrats contend that their proposal better protects
minority voting rights. Members of the reform community effectively admitted that their amendment could still have been manipulated by legislative leadership.
How Illinois draws its legislative maps may very well change this year.
Yesterday, the Senate Democrats introduced their proposal (SJRCA 121)
to reform how Illinois draws these crucial boundaries. The
proposal, written by State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), will be vetted
during a Senate Redistricting Committee hearing on Monday. In anticipation, WTTW's Chicago Tonight hosted a panel yesterday with Raoul, as well as the legal director of the Asian American Institute and the executive director of the League of Women Voters, which supports the competing Fair Map proposal. Watch the segment below:
To learn more about the problems with the current system and the differences between the two reform proposals, be sure to read our primer from early March and our follow-up from a few weeks ago.
House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) warned again that a judicial experience constitutional amendment
authored by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) is being used to
knock other proposed amendments off the November ballot.
With the May 3 deadline for getting a redistricting initiative on the ballot fast approaching, we look at stalled legislative efforts and check in with the citizen-led Fair Map coalition for an update on their reform campaign.
lawmakers aren't the only ones gearing up for a redistricting fight
next year. Whoever sits on the Chicago City Council will have enormous
influence over how ward maps are redrawn in 2011. We stumbled upon a
measure that demonstrates how officials at both the city and state
level are working together to head off potential challengers and preserve their power.
If there is one thing that the Illinois Senate legislative
redistricting committee has exposed since initiating public hearings
last July, it's the undemocratic nature of our legislative mapping
system. Here's our quick summary of how the current system works...