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HGOPs unveil independent map commission proposal

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2019

* Press release…

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) today announced that he, along with the entire House Republican caucus, has filed HJRCA 10, a constitutional amendment for the independent drawing of legislative maps.

“Governor Pritzker has urged the legislature to create an independent commission to draw legislative maps, so House Republicans are proposing to do just that,” said Leader Durkin. “Not only are we answering the Governor’s call on this issue, but we are also prepared to provide the majority of the votes required to pass this out of the House and on to the Senate. So I call on my Democratic colleagues to join us and Governor Pritzker in supporting the independent drawing of legislative maps and pass HJRCA 10 this legislative session.”

HJRCA 10 would establish an independent commission, comprised of 11 members, charged with proposing a legislative map. The commission would be required to hold public hearings both before and after releasing a proposed plan.

The map would need to receive the affirmative vote of at least seven commissioners, including two from each political party whose candidate for Governor received the most and second-most votes and two commissioners not affiliated with each such political party.

If the commission fails to adopt a new map by June 30 of the year following the decennial census, the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and the next senior Justice, not of the same party as the Chief Justice, will be required to appoint a Special Commissioner for Redistricting that must adopt and file a map by August 31 of the same year.

* I can see one big Democratic objection right away

the redistricting plan shall respect the geographic integrity of units of local government

That could wind up packing Chicagoans into the city.

* The process for choosing mapmakers starts with the Auditor General, who would select a pool of 30 potential “Reviewers,” then draw three names out of a hat. The three Reviewers would in turn choose 100 potential commissioners. Each of the four legislative leaders would be allowed to strike five people from that list and then a lottery would be held to choose seven commissioners, with two Democrats, two Republicans and three unaffiliated people. The four leaders would each get to appoint one commissioner from those not selected.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

47 Comments
  1. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    I’m sure MJM will put this matter under review immediately.


  2. - Anon - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===the redistricting plan shall respect the geographic integrity of units of local government===

    Taking what works for Iowa and expecting it to work for Cook County is kind of silly.


  3. - Been There - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===three unaffiliated people===
    That made me laugh


  4. - curtis - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    Looking forward to seeing this be re-referred to rules.


  5. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    Point 1 - It’s the House, not the Senate, so boundaries should be based upon census, not governmental units.

    Point 2 - ILGOP LOL, They think they’re still relevant.


  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    Rich has a great find in there. These maps will always be political. Republicans are welcome to begin supporting a nationwide proposal; until then i’m not rolling with partisan gerrymandering for red states and complicated nonpartisan approaches for blue states.

    Keep the crocodile tears coming, Durkin.


  7. - Groucho - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    This will never ever ever never happen.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:26 pm:

    Wonder why MJM fought so hard, even after losing seats in 2016?

    This.

    With 74 seats, and Madigan isn’t a fan of having a super-majority, the Dems are now in a position to draw a “fair map” as they can see it, work with others in some way, and try (as this Governor is in favor of fair maps) to convince Pritzker to sign a map that the Dems draw with the appearance of being fair.

    How awful was the past governor that I fine he lost, even if it means this map isn’t at all that great.

    Raunerism. The fallout if Raunerism includes the map.


  9. - TominChicago - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    I am fine with this, (except for the geographic integrity part) so long as they add one more section, namely, “This provision will become effective for the redistricting immediately following the enactment of a similar independent redistricting mechanism in every other state in the union.”


  10. - wondering - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    If you’re losing the game, try to change the rules of the game. Go away GOP.


  11. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:34 pm:

    We all know this has a snowball’s chance, but this is the kind of issue a superminority GOP should be pushing. It has some grassroots popularity, and J.B. said it, so they should hold him to it. Beats just being angry and saying no all the time.


  12. - Steve - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    Why would a Democrat vote for this? Why should there be an independent commission ? Where is the commission listed in the Illinois State Constitution?


  13. - Roman - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    Few large metropolitan areas are divided into as many units of local government as Northeastern Illinois. Any map that adheres to that principle too closely is likely to run into trouble with the Voting Rights Act in federal court. Also, will the commission respect the “geographic integrity” of Chicago neighborhoods and wards? A single Chicago ward is more populous than 75 percent of Illinois’ counties.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    The main reason you’d like to control the map, I think, isn’t for the “sugar high” you get with “Yay, we get more seats because… “

    While it’s nice to draw more competitive districts, toss up districts, the real goal is to look at trends and draw “marginal” or “competitive” districts that will trend your way in a cycle of two.

    “Look at Senate District 60, House Districts 119 and 120. The senate district is a toss up, 119 leans GOP, 120, total toss-up. In a cycle or two, the senate district is trending Dem, 120 should be solid Dem and 119 will probably trend Dem but could be a competitive Tier One race”

    The map is for ten years, not ten minutes.

    Good maps allow for a leaning without obvious partisanship.

    Great maps look to the trends to see in 2 cycles how much can be gained with a “fair map” of just 4 years ago.


  15. - Perrid - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    “Why should there be an independent commission”

    Uh, because voters should choose their representatives? Have you seen the current (federal congressional) map, which has the 2 halves of the 4th joined by 1 street, or has the 17th and 18th spiraling around each other like a yin/yang symbol to snag Peoria, or how they managed to snake parts of Springfield, Champagne, and Bloomington into the 13th? They didn’t even try to hide their shenanigans.

    I don’t hate the general idea of choosing people largely based on chance.


  16. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    MJM is not looking to draw “his” fair map, he’s looking to do another kriss-kross and kill -any- fair map. If Dems have supermajority, they’ll just override JB, who will shrug and say “I kept my promise.”

    As for the GOP plan, if it packs Chicagoans in the city it’d be unconstitutional - the districts have to be roughly identical in population. My understanding from volunteering for the last petition drive is that you can do this a little, but ultimately there’s a partisan trade-off: you’ll have to extend some of your less populated safe districts further and put them at risk.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    ===…he’s looking to do another kriss-kross and kill -any- fair map.===

    “One person’s alleged fair map is another’s…”


  18. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    ===The map would need to receive the affirmative vote of at least seven commissioners, including two from each political party whose candidate for Governor received the most and second-most votes and two commissioners not affiliated with each such political party.===

    So this would change the current practice that always ends up with Jesse White picking a name out of a hat to a new process with the Supreme Court picking a name out of a hat? Do I have that right?


  19. - So_Ill - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    ==Republicans are welcome to begin supporting a nationwide proposal; until then i’m not rolling with partisan gerrymandering for red states and complicated nonpartisan approaches for blue states.==

    Yep.


  20. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    Durkin strikes out with this approach. He tosses a partisan bomb when JB has been trying to present a desire for bipartisanship. IMHO, Durkin would have been better served by asking JB to work with him on the creation of a bipartisan committee to look at fair ways to do remap.


  21. - cover - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    = The map is for ten years, not ten minutes. =

    And this was a fatal error committed by the House GOP when they drew the map following the 1990 Census, they tried to protect existing members in areas already trending more Democratic. Madigan won 4 out of 5 times on the GOP map.


  22. - Jibba - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    Few true nonpartisans exist, so it may be difficult to form a nonpartisan commission. Also, between packing and cracking, there are plenty of ways to rig the boundaries. However, if a few general rules can be agreed, fairer maps can be made.

    The biggest differences in opinions are between urban and rural voters. Therefore, the idea of local units of government being the starting point of a district is sound. You just have to adjust the rules for larger cities and for districts that contain larger populations, Iike congressional districts. Room for schenanigans? Always.


  23. - Midwest Indy - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    While I applaud Rep. Durkin for what I believe is a good faith effort, the messaging works best when it is presented in unity with all stakeholders.

    I expect Durkin wants to use this as a token of the HGOP’s perception of relevance & action. From a tactical standpoint, no member or leader in any ILGOP faction is in a position to publicly call on any elected democrat to join their crusade. Seek the agreed bill or sit quietly while you’re still allowed in the room.


  24. - muon - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    LCD - packing Chicagoans into districts entirely in the city isn’t unconstitutional as long as the populations are substantially equal. What would be unconstitutional would be packing minorities into fewer districts than required by Federal law. What an amendment like this would mean is that Chicago would have fewer reps in the GA than they do now, and the suburbs would have more.


  25. - jim - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    “That could wind up packing Chicagoans into the city.”

    Rich, you mean residents of the city would be included in legislative districts made up of territory included in the city — what an outrage.
    .


  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    47th @2:12: Provisions like that one practically guarantee that the courts will draw the map every time.


  27. - Generic Drone - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    I was hopeful until I read all these comments


  28. - walker - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    Durkin appears to be banking on this as a major political differentiator. And if there is any shot at all to change the mapping process, it must be initiated this year. Building public awareness and support is a long-term challenge.

    Many concerned voters do favor Durkin’s proposition. However, most voters are currently unaware of this issue, and care most about taxes.


  29. - CC - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:53 pm:

    “Durkin would have been better served by asking JB to work with him on the creation of a bipartisan committee to look at fair ways to do remap.”

    Yup.


  30. - muon - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Midwest Indy - one place to look for a bipartisan amendment is HJRCA 58 of the 99th GA, sponsored by Jack Franks. It got a vote in the House and received overwhelming support, but was not called in the Senate. It also used a commission, selected by a more direct process by the Justices, and included criteria not entirely different from Durkin’s amendment.


  31. - however(s) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    ‘respecting’ geographic integrity is not a requirement to completely defer to those boundaries


  32. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    ===Durkin would have been better served by asking JB to work with him on the creation of a bipartisan committee to look at fair ways to do remap.===

    - Norseman -,

    This is the best path, especially politically, but it “looks” like, ironically, the play is to make a run at a bipartisan map in a partisan way by framing it as bipartisan but roll it out as a stand alone partisan thought.

    It almost begs for the retort…

    “… but aren’t you all in a super minority status, by every political measure?”


  33. - Chicago Bars - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 3:18 pm:

    Might pick up a few votes if they’d change “three unaffiliated people” to “3 nobodies that nobody sent”


  34. - The Dude Abides - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    The SCOTUS is going to hear a couple partisan cases this Spring as per how far states can go in drawing Districts that favor one party over another.
    For now it would make sense to sit back and see how that works out. As mentioned by previous posters, red states are not playing nice but a blue state like Illinois should?
    Elections have consequences, Durkin and Brady accepted Rauner’s money and stood by and let the politically inept Governor set their party back years. Now they want to discuss drawing maps to make it more favorable to their party.
    Don’t expect anything to happen anytime soon.


  35. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    muon - I mean it’s a limit on how much you could do it. You’d expect a fair map to have a lot of districts within the city boundaries. If you take the Illinois House, each district would be approximately 110,000 and the city’s population is 2.7 million - I don’t know how “contorted” you could get and minimize spillover.

    Also, from a partisan p.o.v., putting some of the “border” voters into a suburban district could cause trouble for the Dems. You may make an extra-concentrated-with-Dem Evanston district out of Evanston but put the more conservative voters farther north into a district that now is in-play. That said, I’m not endorsing the GOP plan at all - I think there should be something about the shape of the districts beyond “contiguous”


  36. - muon - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 3:38 pm:

    Dude - states run by both parties are passing amendments. Michigan and Missouri just passed redistricting reform amendments last year. Ohio passed one in 2015. Our Midwestern neighbors are clearly moving ahead. Outside of the Midwest, Colorado and Utah passed amendments to switch to commissions last year.

    I do think that it will be instructive to see what SCOTUS say about partisan redistricting, but this is a good time to start the discussion and make any changes to a proposal after a court decision. There will be ample time to change it in advance of 2020. But getting an agreed framework in place doesn’t need to wait.


  37. - muon - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    LCD - other than the areas where the city boundaries are irregular, I wouldn’t expect the district boundaries to be particularly irregular. The exception would be if boundaries needed to be irregular to comply with the Voting Rights Act, and and that would apply under any redistricting process.


  38. - Anon-I-Guess - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    The Rube Goldberg style selection committee would not have a prayer of coming to an agreement. It is designed to fail whether they know it or not.


  39. - Jibba - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 3:50 pm:

    There is only one city in Illinois large enough to be split into more than one Senate district and more than 2 House districts. That means about 75% of Illinoisans would be addressed by a local government-based redistributing. Just a reminder that Chicago is the exception, not the rule.

    Sure we need to consider the problems, but there are also advantages, such as ensuring representation by unique populations not possible elsewhere, such as Latino, Polish, Jewish, etc.


  40. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    What a bunch of Whigs.


  41. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 4:03 pm:

    Packing as many minorities as possible into as few districts as possible is a feature, not a bug.

    You are wasting time, Leader Durkin.


  42. - Jibba - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    There is a fine line between ensuring representation of a population versus packing. One of the many reasons it is difficult to identify unlawful redistributing from a legal standpoint.

    And one of the inherent drawbacks of a geographically based system. A population of unique character is by nature not widely distributed and is subject to self packing.


  43. - Anon - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 5:13 pm:

    The geographic integrity is easily read as a constitutional imperative as part of “communities of interest” prong - i.e. keeping units of government together to the extent practical and not splitting them up.


  44. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 6:06 pm:

    The proposed process for selecting the mapmakers is almost as convoluted as the way Venice selected their doges.


  45. - Rabid - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 6:40 pm:

    A no brainer from “the party with the second most votes”,let us do the thinking for you


  46. - Harvest76 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 8:37 pm:

    Is this the ILGOP hail Mary pass for seats?


  47. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Jan 22, 19 @ 11:06 pm:

    Ignores state and federal voting rights act act. Bug loser in federal courts


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