Rep. Breen Seeks to Include Congressional Districts in Remapping Constitutional Amendment Question

Calling a Democrat lawmaker’s proposal to change how legislative maps are drawn in Illinois a “half-measure,” State Representative Peter Breen has filed an amendment to HJRCA 58 that would add congressional maps to the redistricting legislation.

“It’s time for the General Assembly to take politics out of map drawing,” said Breen. “The proposed constitutional amendment rushed through by House Democrats is only a half-measure, omitting our horribly broken process of drawing congressional districts. The congressional map drawn by those same House Democrats in 2011 was a joke: they assigned Congressmen from Wrigleyville to represent Elmhurst and from Wheaton to represent folks at the Wisconsin border. If House Democrats were truly interested in reform, instead of just scoring political points, they would accept this simple amendment to clean up the map drawing process for all of the maps drawn by the General Assembly.”

HJRCA 58 was filed less than one week ago as a Democrat response to Republican efforts to get a fair map proposal on the November ballot. This newest constitutional amendment request would provide for the creation of an independent redistricting commission comprised of eight members chosen equally between the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and the most senior justice from the opposing political party. The measure also provides that if the commission of eight does not reach consensus on a plan these justices will appoint a ninth member to break the tie. The Illinois Supreme Court would have exclusive jurisdiction over redistricting.

The constitutional amendment would also include prioritized criteria for the new districts including (in order of importance):
  • Substantially equal in population;
  • Provide racial/language minorities with equal opportunity in the political process and opportunity to elect candidates of their choice;
  • Provide racial/language minorities who constitute less than voting-age majority with the opportunity to substantially influence the outcome of an election;
  • Be contiguous;
  • Be compact;
  • Respect integrity of units of local government;
  • Respect communities that share common social or economic interests;
  • Bar discrimination against or in favor of any political party or individual.
The Amendment, if approved by a 3/5 majority of the House and Senate, would appear on the November ballot with new maps to take effect for those elected beginning in 2022. The bill is currently being considered by the House.

Click on the image above to hear more about this bill amendment.