A Democratic bid to transfer the highly coveted political power of drawing legislative boundaries from state lawmakers to the Democratically controlled Illinois Supreme Court overwhelmingly passed the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. The proposed amendment to Illinois’ constitution sailed through the House on a 105-7 vote and now must be approved by a three-fifths majority in the state Senate by Friday in order to be placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. Since Democrats controlled the state legislature and the governor’s office after the 2010 census, they won the once-a-decade right to draw new legislative district boundaries. The process enabled the party to build super-majorities in both the Senate and House.
“The power we presently have is only to protect incumbents,” said Representative Jack Franks, a Democrat from Chicago’s far northwest suburbs who sponsored the amendment.
Republican Governor Bruce Rauner campaigned to take away legislative redistricting responsibilities from the General Assembly but instead backs a different proposal.
Under Franks’ plan, the Illinois Supreme Court would appoint an eight-member redistricting commission to oversee the drawing of 118 House districts and 59 state Senate districts beginning with the 2022 elections.