Illinois House Democrats are proposing their own plan for changing the way the state’s legislative districts are drawn. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has made redistricting reform a key component of his “turnaround agenda,” but Democrats say a Republican proposal and one being pushed by a group called Independent Maps wouldn’t adequately take into account minority populations when drawing boundaries, a claim supporters dispute. Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said he filed the new proposal because he doesn’t believe the other plan would pass constitutional muster due to its lack of protection for minority voters.
“It’s a federal requirement, and that wasn’t even addressed,” Franks said. “So I thought that if we were going to try to save the ability to have a fair map amendment that this was the only way to do it.”
The proposed constitutional amendment, which would go before voters statewide in November if it’s approved by a three-fifths majority in the House and Senate, is schedule for a committee hearing Monday. House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, “is prepared to support it,” spokesman Steve Brown said.
Under the proposal, the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and the most senior justice of the opposite political party would appoint an eight-member Independent Redistricting Commission. If the commission were unable to agree to a map by the deadline, the justices would appoint a ninth member.