Legislative assembly

Redistributing a key portion of the Illinois Fall General Assembly session


Posted on October 21, 2021 at 10:23 a.m.

Last updated on October 21, 2021 10:23 AM

BY KAY SHIPMAN, FARMWEEK

The General Assembly published its draft proposed parliamentary constituencies two weeks ago and held a series of hearings on the draft map during the first week of its fall session. A final vote is expected next week. The proposed card will be sent to Governor JB Pritzker for his action once approved by the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, a Chicago federal court ruled that the state’s legislative district maps drawn up in June were unconstitutional. These maps were developed prior to the release of US Census data.

Based on the 2020 census, Illinois is losing a congressional district due to population changes. The proposed map contains 17 new neighborhoods. The map can be viewed on the Illinois House or Senate websites. Go to ilhousedems.com/redistricting or Ilsenateredistricting.com, then click on the tab that says “Congress Proposal”.

This interactive map allows people to enter an address and see where it is in the proposed neighborhoods. Just click on the magnifying glass at the top left of the page, then enter the address. Zoom in and out to see where it is in a proposed new neighborhood.

Some political experts believe the proposed card would favor Democratic candidates in 14 and Republican candidates in three of the new districts. The current Illinois delegation includes 13 Democrats and five Republicans.

Most current members of Congress are drawn to districts where they reside only. However, in two of the new neighborhoods, this is not the case. Outgoing Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Channahon is placed in a district with first-year Democratic Rep. Marie Newman of LaGrange. In addition, Republican Reps Darin LaHood of Peoria and freshman Mary Miller of Oakland have been consolidated into one district.

Unlike the Illinois General Assembly candidates who must live in the district they represent once elected, members of Congress do not have to live in their district. They just have to reside in Illinois, but politically it has never been popular.

Redistribution experts also publicly projected that the Congress map, once approved, would undoubtedly be challenged in federal court. It is believed that the Federal Cards Challenge will follow similar legal arguments on minority representation, such as the State Legislature‘s Card Challenge based on the Federal Voting Rights Act.

While the federal court ruled that the first maps of the state’s legislative districts were unconstitutional and violated the “one person, one vote” doctrine, the three judges did not order new maps to be drawn by a commission of bipartite redistribution. A second set of maps of the state’s legislative districts were approved in a special legislative session and signed by Pritzker in September. In their ruling, the judges said this second set of state district maps was the point from which to develop new ones.

The court ordered those who brought the lawsuit, Republican legislative leaders in the General Assembly and the Mexican Legal Defense and Education Fund, to submit proposed changes in November. Democrats will be allowed to respond to the proposals before the court rules on the legality of subsequent cards.


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