(The Center Square) – Democrats put out revised legislative maps for redrawing the state’s political boundaries Thursday afternoon that they say factors in feedback from residents and advocacy groups.
“After 50 public hearings across the state and listening to hours of testimony, the House and Senate Democrats have put together a product our state can be proud of,” said state Rep. Lisa Hernandez, chair of the House Redistricting Committee. “What should stand out about this proposed map is how similar districts look compared to our current map.
She said the changes were based on feedback, including criticism from Republicans.
“The changes we made not only reflect testimony provided the last couple of days from members of the public, but also include revisions to address concerns raised by Republicans,” Hernandez said.
Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said the revised maps were on par with those released last week.
“Round two of the House Democratic legislative maps are as dishonest as the ones released last Friday,” he said in a statement. “The House Democrats turned their back on Illinoisans and every advocacy group who has an interest in honest government. Despite the flowery rhetoric about these changes, the Illinois House Democrats allowed their members to draw their own legislative districts with phony data.”
Durkin called on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to veto the maps.
“It is now on Governor Pritzker to live up to his pledge in 2019 and veto this poor excuse for democracy,” Durkin said.
Pritzker pledged to veto any maps drawn by politicians and party leaders during his campaign for governor in 2018. The governor has since said he’d veto any “unfair” maps.
Changes include those requested by the Orthodox Jewish community to keep the community together, Democrats said in a news release. The revised map also restores the southern part of the North Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago to its current legislative district.
House and Senate Democrats also released new boundaries for the Cook County Board of Review, which helps taxpayers calculate tax obligations for the county’s property owners.
The proposed map relied on population information from the American Community Survey’s 5-year estimate for 2019. The Census Bureau is expected to release more accurate data later this year. The pandemic delayed the release of that data. Census officials expect to release the more granular data near Sept. 30, but that would occur after Illinois’ constitutional requirement for lawmakers to submit the maps to the governor. That would trigger a process that could result in Republicans taking control of the map-making process.
“This proposed map is the product of countless hours of testimony from advocacy, community, and grassroots organizations, as well as individuals who care deeply about their communities,” state Sen. Omar Aquino, chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee, said in a statement.