Democratic lawmakers are once again seeking to enact nonpartisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin, with legislation introduced Tuesday. State government in Wisconsin has been under one-party Republican rule since 2011. Democrats tried and failed to pass similar legislation in 2012. Asked why Democrats didn’t implement these reforms when they last held a majority in 2009 and 2010, Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, said, “Something should have been done,” adding that he was supportive of it at the time. “That was a mistake, and that’s a pox on our party and a pox on any party that doesn’t do the right thing,” Hansen said. “But it does not excuse the opportunity we have now.”
The state’s legislative districts were last redrawn in 2011 by Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the Legislature. Under the Democrats’ proposal, the authority to redraw districts would be given to a new Redistricting Advisory Commission and nonpartisan drafting attorneys.
Asked whether the proposal is a non-starter among the Republican majority, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, responded with a simple “yes.”
Democrats argue the state’s districts are so heavily gerrymandered that legislators no longer fear a response at the ballot box to their actions in office.