Republican lawmakers are calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to keep a campaign promise and veto the proposed legislative maps released by Democrats Friday night.
Redistricting is the process of redrawing the boundaries of district maps for both chambers of the state legislature, as well as other units of government. The process is completed every 10 years following the U.S. Census, but final census figures are not yet available.
Democrats control both the Illinois House and Senate, giving them the upper hand on the redistricting process and the drawing of district boundaries.
During a news conference Monday, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said the new maps are drawn mainly so Democrats can keep their political power in the state.
“We we’ve seen here today is the lowest of lows for the House Democrats, which quite frankly, I did not think was possible after Mike Madigan disappeared,” Durkin said.
Democrats, in a news release Friday, said the proposed maps took into account “robust public input” and population data from the American Community Survey. The map would consolidate districts, forcing some incumbents, mostly Republicans, to face off against each other in 2022.
“This proposed map amplifies the diverse voices of the people of Illinois, allows communities to be represented by people of their choice and ensures that every person in our state has a say in government,” said state Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, chairperson of the House Redistricting Committee.
State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said some of the proposed House map makes no sense, including a Central Illinois town in his district.
“Peterburg’s House district goes all the way to the Quad Cities now,” Butler said. “What does Petersburg have in common with Rock Island?”
Republican leaders are continuing to call for an independent map commission. In the meantime, they are asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker to veto the proposed maps, saying if he doesn’t voters will be disenfranchised.
“The map is inherently flawed and we are not adequately representing them in the legislature,” said state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville. “This error in their process will have lasting effects on Illinois residents if it is allowed to pass.”
A request for comment from the governor’s office went unanswered.
The redistricting committees said they plan to hold four hearings this week to gather feedback from the public before lawmakers vote on the maps.
4 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 – Joint House and Senate Hearing 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 – House Hearing 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 26 – Joint House and Senate Hearing 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 26 – Senate Hearing
These will be hybrid hearings with the opportunity for in-person and virtual testimony.