State Senate holds second hearing on gerrymandering
From press release
A detailed review of legal requirements was the primary focus of the second in a series of hearings on Illinois’ partisan system of gerrymandering state legislative and congressional districts. Lawmakers heard from redistricting experts from Minnesota and from the National Conference of State Legislatures at the hearing in Springfield Tuesday, Aug. 18.
A third hearing is planned for Peoria Sept. 16. At the hearing, the Senate Committee on Redistricting is expected to turn its attention to needed reforms, including the recommendations of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s (D) non-partisan Illinois Reform Commission.
At the Springfield hearing, lawmakers heard from Peter Watson, legal counsel to the Minnesota State Senate, who discussed federal requirements for drawing legislative maps that will withstand court challenges. Watson was joined by Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures, who provided an overview of redistricting trends in other states.
Storey said the number of states that now rely on independent commissions to draw legislative boundaries has been growing. Currently, 13 states use commissions rather than leave the drawing up to legislators.
Reformers, including the Illinois Reform Commission, have said allowing legislators to draw their own districts leads to a system in which politicians pick their voters, rather than allowing the voters to pick their representatives.
More information about gerrymandering and proposed reforms can be found at www.gerrymandering.senategop.net.
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