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*** UPDATED x1 - Common Cause, ICPR support bill *** Madigan backs remap reform proposal

Monday, Apr 18, 2016

* Dan Petrella

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. […]

Jim Bray, a spokesman for Independent Maps, said Franks’ concerns about what his group’s proposed amendment would mean for minority voters are unfounded.

“The Independent Maps Amendment has strong minority voting rights protections and probably the strongest in the nation of any of these statutes or constitutional amendments,” Bray said.

Speaker Madigan “is prepared to support” Franks’ proposal, which you can see in full by clicking here.

* The Independent Maps folks spent a fortune on a failed effort to get their idea on the ballot in 2014, and are now spending even more to get a revised proposal on the ballot this November.

They ought to continue moving forward with their effort, but also be prepared to negotiate with Franks. If Madigan is serious about putting this on the ballot, that would be an historic “turnaround,” and could take us a step closer to ending the impasse and finally getting a much-needed reform in Illinois. We don’t need competing ballot measures on the same topic.

Get. This. Done.

*** UPDATE ***  Brian Gladstein of Common Cause Illinois and Sarah Brune of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform have both signed on as proponents of the Franks measure. I’m told ICPR will ask for some changes, including an issue with the proposal’s meeting notice requirements - the same issue it had with the Independent Maps proposal.

But these witness slips in favor of the Franks proposal will definitely put pressure on everybody to keep partisan politics out of it. Make the needed changes and pass the darned thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


35 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 9:57 am:

    Surprise!


  2. - interesting - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    In my opinion, Representative Franks amendment is much better than the Independent Map. I’ve always wondered why they came up with a convoluted nomination process and kept the General Assembly involved. Franks’ proposal totally takes the General Assembly out of this. It also adds real, significant minority protections and transparency requirements. It also prohibits those who draw the map from running for the General Assembly, something that is missing from the Indep Map proposal.

    A happy surprise


  3. - Juice - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:10 am:

    interesting, because you can only do a constitutional amendment by petition if you are amending the structure and procedure of the GA, they’re kind of stuck keeping them in the game.


  4. - illlinifan - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:13 am:

    Much needs to be made of this with the point being made that it is independent of a budget. Madigan has consistently said not to tie these reforms to the budget, but have them move independent of that process. This may be the start.


  5. - downsta te commissioner - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:14 am:

    Looks like it is picking up a lot of co-sponsors…Madigan’s support may have more to do with the effective dates than the actual results down the road. It would appear to be better than what we have now…


  6. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:15 am:

    Wow Franks proposal looks pretty serious. i was expecting a wayered down version of today as a way to keep the same old system but provide a faux reform cover…. nope franks has soome good stuff in there geared at a truly independet process.


  7. - Political Animal - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:30 am:

    So SCOTUS has basically baked unequal treatment under the law into the Constitution.

    Maps should be drawn without any consideration what so ever to the characteristics of the persons in the district. Otherwise you still have Gerrymandering.


  8. - Political Animal - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:38 am:

    Also, giving this power to judges in Illinois isn’t much better than giving it to the Legislature. They are both very political and very entrenched in the status quo.

    This amendment hardly seems like an improvement.


  9. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    So this redistricting plan gets filed . . . and I assume gets eventually voted upon by the same gang (GA) that gerrymandered previous districts? If the GA rejects? And that is reform?


  10. - Very fed up - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    As long as members of the GA and sitting governor are kept far far away from the process has to be an improvement.


  11. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    And if the justices can’t agree on the 9th commission member?


  12. - Langhorne - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    I just knew madigan would have a couple CAs coming along. Steal rauners Thunder. No room for term limits, darn it.

    Whatever will the caucuses do?


  13. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    Louis, you’re priceless. If your guy proposes it, you call it reform. The Dems propose it, you call it a sham.

    Do you have any substantive concerns?


  14. - walker - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    Good.

    This, plus the property tax freeze and DCEO changes already passed, are some TA “wins” for Rauner to tout. We’ll see if that moves this process along.

    Hopefully he won’t go the previous route of “Whatever. Still not enough.”


  15. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:03 am:

    ===So SCOTUS has basically baked unequal treatment under the law into the Constitution.

    Maps should be drawn without any consideration what so ever to the characteristics of the persons in the district. Otherwise you still have Gerrymandering. ===

    As long as US elections are predicated on “first past the post,” you’re going to have greatly reduced (and disproportionately small) minority representation if you don’t allow for minority majority districts. Deal with it-in this case the gerrymander is healthy for the country.


  16. - walker - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:10 am:

    Update: Kaboom!

    Jack Franks ain’t no mushroom.


  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:15 am:

    Reliance on judicial districts and supreme court justices in this proposal seems to invite a federal equal protection one-person-one-vote challenge to Illinois’ judicial election districts, especially if those districts will be used to select persons with quasi-legislative power.


  18. - Hamlet's Ghost - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:19 am:

    Multi-member districts and ranked voting would e far more effective at ending gerrymandering than squabbling over who draws the maps.

    That said, I hope the Franks proposal is tweaked as needed to satisfy groups such as Common Cause and then passes both the IL House and IL Senate with a unanimous vote.

    Get it done and move on to other issues.


  19. - RNUG - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:20 am:

    That’s the second of three CAs per election cycle.


  20. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:20 am:

    Norseman, I expressed my concerns. What are yours?


  21. - The Captain - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:21 am:

    Unless I’m reading this wrong this would only apply to General Assembly redistricting and not Illinois congressional districts. GA redistricting is a zero sum game so I’ve always thought the hype around it was way overblown, but we keep losing a congressional seat so congressional redistricting actually does have winners/losers, there’s more at stake there.

    The other interesting language here if I’m reading it correctly is that the boundaries of state senate districts and state house districts would no longer be intertwined. Under the old language the 1st senate district was cut in half and one part became the 1st house district and the other part the 2nd house district, under this new language you could draw each chamber’s boundaries without taking into account the boundaries of the districts in the other chamber. I can’t recall any discussion on this topic previously, not sure of the backstory that lead to this proposed change.


  22. - lake county democrat - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:22 am:

    I’ll wait for more analysis, but at first blush it looks pretty similar to the current Independent Map proposal. The “protect minorities” thing is smoke (other states have done similar anti-gerrymandering reforms, like California, and this has not been an issue). The Supreme Court requires districts to be roughly proportional in population, geographic integrity might mean one or two less guaranteed minority reps but in those cases it would likely give the same minorities additional voting power in the contiguous district).

    Political Animal - I feel ya, but don’t let the good be slave to the perfect.


  23. - NorsemanR - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:29 am:

    Louis, you need your Snickers bar. Your reading comprehension is a little off. You criticized the folks who are introducing the proposal. My concern is there is no mechanism to deal with the situation where the Chief Justice and the other party’s justice can’t agree on the tie-breaking commission member.


  24. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:31 am:

    ===That’s the second of three CAs per election cycle.===

    Incorrect. Read the Constitution. “The General Assembly shall not submit proposed amendments to more than three Articles of the Constitution at any one election.”


  25. - jim - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    It requires the willing suspension of disbelief to think that Madigan, an adamant opponent of redistricting reform, has suddenly become its greatest champion.


  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    ===an adamant opponent of redistricting reform, has suddenly become its greatest champion===

    Who said he was?

    This might be a ruse, or MJM might have been told that his lawyers couldn’t keep the other proposal off the ballot, so this would be better than theirs.


  27. - lake county democrat - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 11:51 am:

    Rich - is it possible that Madigan is putting this on the ballot to confuse and split the vote? What happens if both were to pass? It’s one of his political tricks in primaries to run fake candidates to peel off votes.


  28. - NorsemanR - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 12:01 pm:

    === This might be a ruse, or MJM might have been told that his lawyers couldn’t keep the other proposal off the ballot, so this would be better than theirs. ===

    Or, he decided to take Rich Miller’s great advice that it was in the Dems interests to get ahead of the game and change the remap process.


  29. - Political Animal - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 1:34 pm:

    ==As long as US elections are predicated on “first past the post,” you’re going to have greatly reduced (and disproportionately small) minority representation if you don’t allow for minority majority districts. Deal with it-in this case the gerrymander is healthy for the country.==

    Whether racial map drawing is good for the country depends on a lot of things and is quite subjective.

    First up would be, is it better to have some say in several elections or all of the say in one election? Former, you can influence many leaders. Latter, you get one handpicked leader who’s outweighed by all the other leaders over whom you gave up all representative claim.

    And anyway, seems like a clear violation of the 14th.


  30. - Delimma - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 2:12 pm:

    Does anyone believe that the governor would drop the rest of the turn around agenda if he got legislative map reform? This is a smokescreen for the real goal. Everything so far has been about one thing, and one thing only. That thing has NOTHING to do with legislative maps.


  31. - Graduated College Student - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    ===Whether racial map drawing is good for the country depends on a lot of things and is quite subjective.===

    Let’s look at this. The 1970 Census (1st on post-VRA, but before the racial gerrymander push) had the United States with 87.7% white, 11.1% black, and 4.4% hispanic. The Congress elected in 1972, which was the first election following the 1970 Census reapportionment. 3% of that Congress’ membership was African-American. I suspect this is somewhat suboptimal in achieving a representative body.

    ===First up would be, is it better to have some say in several elections or all of the say in one election?===

    There’s only one way to ensure you have a seat at the table, and that’s to actually be elected…so yeah, controlling say in a few elections rather than a small voice in many.

    ===Former, you can influence many leaders.===

    That’s the theory. Historically, the practice is you get a lot of doors slammed in your face or laughed out of the room.

    ===Latter, you get one handpicked leader who’s outweighed by all the other leaders over whom you gave up all representative claim.===

    Until it’s time for a close committee or chamber-wide vote, at which time your seat at the table is going to pay off.

    ===And anyway, seems like a clear violation of the 14th.===

    Not necessarily. So long as it passes the strict scrutiny test, it’s good.


  32. - Chicagonk - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 3:13 pm:

    So what happens when both questions end up on the ballot and they both pass?


  33. - Mama - Monday, Apr 18, 16 @ 3:29 pm:

    Will the Republicans vote for the Dems’ map proposal?


  34. - scott aster - Tuesday, Apr 19, 16 @ 4:37 am:

    OK NorsemanR…..you think MJM likes that strategy.


  35. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 19, 16 @ 6:22 am:

    Scott Aster, it’s a strategy he feels he needs to use, like or not.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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