Illinois Dems OK new legislative maps over criticism

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Illinois Democrats unveiled a newer version of their revised state legislative boundary map Tuesday. Forty-five minutes later, lawmakers met in committee and by the end of the day, the House, along a party-line vote, passed the measure.

Republicans slammed the lack of transparency.

“I’m very disappointed by this process, but unfortunately not at all surprised,” Rep. Avery Bourne (R- Litchfield) said.

“We’ve just allocated the very bare minimum of public notice,” Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) said.

The redrawn map, which will favor the Democratic Party over the next decade, uses U.S. census data released in early August. There were 11th hour tweaks that few people knew about. Even Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), the Democratic chair of the redistricting effort, said she couldn’t address the last minute changes.

Reform groups called the mapmaking process a charade.

Madeleine Doubek of Change Illinois said:

“Illinois majority lawmakers disrespected and disregarded constituents and valuable community input in redrawing and ramming through revised state representative and senate district maps Tuesday after census data revealed their first maps violated the Constitution’s one person, one vote principle.”

Also overnight, the Senate passed energy legislation that would keep two Exelon power plants open and address Governor Pritzker’s climate change concerns. 

“I’m worried about the nuclear power plant worker staring up at the ceiling worried about whether she’s going to have a job. I’m worried about the small business owner deciding whether or not to make even more investments in Illinois,” Senate President Don Harmon said. “And I’m worried about young people like my 17-year-old who are worried about whether the grownup are ever going to get serious about climate change.”

Senators expect the House will tweak the bill they just passed but they want to move the legislation to keep talking going and stave off potential disaster.

Experts say if the nuclear plants close 28,000 jobs will be lost and local property taxes will go up $149 million.

Pritzker’s spokeswoman said, “The Governor’s Office looks forward to working with members of the House to finalize an energy package that puts consumers and climate first.”

Before adjourning, the House voted down Governor Pritzker’s proposed changes to ethics reform that the General Assembly passed in the Spring.  The bill, which good-government groups said lacked teeth, is dead.

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