Seeks to put an end to gerrymandering in Illinois
Seeking to empower voters throughout the state and put an end to Illinois’ longstanding history of gerrymandering, State Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) is sponsoring legislation to remove politicians from the redistricting process.
Senate Bill 1325, otherwise known as the People’s Independent Maps Act, would change the redistricting process so that a 16-member Independent Commission appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court would create the redistricting plans for Legislative, Representative, and Congressional Districts. Currently, state law allows legislators to draw district boundaries.
“As a member of the Senate Redistricting Committee, I’ve heard firsthand from witnesses who have voiced their concerns about the lack of transparency and communication in our state’s redistricting process,” said Sen. Plummer. “Politicians should not be picking their voters. Allowing them to do so only perpetuates an undeniably corrupt and broken system of power.”
Under the People’s Independent Maps Act, legislators would be able to recuse themselves from the map process all together. The Act also implements the following changes to Illinois’ redistricting process:
- Gives the Supreme Court the power to appoint 16 independent, citizen commissioners to the Independent Redistricting Commission within 30 days of becoming law.
- Requires the makeup of the Commission to reflect the ethnic, gender and racial demographics of the state.
- Provides that party affiliation would be evenly split in addition to members without party affiliation.
- Prohibits legislators, state employees and lobbyists from serving on the commission.
- Requires the Commission to hold at least 10 public hearings throughout the state before adopting a plan, with at least four hearings after a map is proposed.
- Provides that the Commission will release a map within 30 days of receipt of the census redistricting data.
- Applies only to the 2021 redistricting cycle.
“This isn’t a new concept nor is it a partisan push. In fact, our very own Governor has publically said he supports a fair map,” said Sen. Plummer. “But now it’s time to put action behind words. The people of this state need to be certain that we are moving forward, and away from the same corrupt actions that have dictated Illinois’ past.”
Sen. Plummer serves as a member of the Senate Redistricting Committee and as the Sub-Minority Spokesmen for the Southern Illinois Redistricting and the Southwestern Illinois Redistricting Subcommittees.
In previous committee hearings, Sen. Plummer has heard from minority and good government advocacy groups who have asked for Democrat lawmakers to not use American Community Survey (ACS) data, which is just a sampling of the population and not a complete representation of the state’s diverse ethnic and racial demographics. Sen. Plummer agrees with these groups and believes relying on this data could disenfranchise many Illinoisans, especially minorities and those living in rural areas.
“We have an opportunity here to ensure that the people of Illinois are represented in this process, but the only way forward is with complete census data and an independent redistricting commission,” said Sen. Plummer. “We must remove politicians from the process.”
The People’s Independent Maps Act, Senate Bill 1325, uses identical language from SJRCA 0004, a constitutional amendment for an independent redistricting commission, which garnered bipartisan support in the Senate in 2019.