Illinois Democrats Unveil New Redistricting Plan

Democratic state senators in Illinois have recently introduced a plan to change the process the state uses to draw its legislative districts. On Wednesday, the plan was passed by the Senate’s redistricting committee. It faces a harder battle in the House, however, where the Democratic majority is not as strong.

The current process allows the legislature to draw redistricting maps. If they are unable to meet a deadline, an eight-member, bipartisan committee with a ninth member selected at random in case of a tie draws the new maps. In the past four redistricting cycles, the ninth member has been necessary.

Under the plan proposed by Democrats, legislators in both state houses would draw a map which would then be passed on to the governor for approval. If a map either failed to pass both houses or was vetoed by the governor, then the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and another justice from the opposite political party would select an independent and non-partisan person to draw the map. The plan also requires legislators to have public meetings about redistricting

Republican State Senators also submitted a plan recently, called the Fair Map Amendment. For more information on that proposal, please see our earlier story on the subject. The amendment died on Monday, however, after failing to be passed by the Senate redistricting committee. Republicans, led by the Illinois League of Women Voters, are currently collecting signatures to get the measure included on the ballot as an initiative.

The amendment proposed by Democrats would need to be approved by three-fifths of each house in order to be put on the November ballot for approval by voters.

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