HCA 45
Background and Procedural Information

On April 17, 2008 Illinois Republican Representatives Tom Cross, Jill Tracy, Jim Durkin, and Chapin Rose introduced Illinois House Constitutional Amendment 45.  It has not currently moved to a committee.  It is very similar to IL H.C.A. 44 except that it requires a two-thirds majority instead of a three-fifths majority in the respective legislative body, requires a District Redistricting Commission to have four instead of five members and requires the Special Master to be a retired federal judge and to use a computer program for the redistricting instead of setting no guidelines for the Special Master.    

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

Single-member districts are a requirement.   

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?

Legislative districts must “reflect minority voting strengths in compliance with all federal voting laws.” The Senate, House of Representatives and their respective District Redistricting Commissions can use voter history information.  The computer program used by the Special Master may not use any “demographic information not required to be used by this section or the United States constitutional or federal law,” including political affiliations of registered voters and previous election results.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The commission would exist only in years ending in one.  The Illinois Senate and House each have responsibility for their own redistricting plan until June 30.  A plan must receive a two-thirds majority vote.  Only the Senate can create a redistricting map for the Senate and only the House can create a redistricting map for the House.  Each body only votes for its own plan.  If a plan is not approved in the Senate the President and Minority Leader must appoint two people to serve on a Legislative District Redistricting Commission.  The House uses a similar plan except that the Speaker of the House and the House Minority Leader appoints the first four commission members to serve on a Representative District Redistricting Commission.  This Commission can approve a redistricting plan with the approval of three of the four Commission members.  If the Commission cannot reach an agreement by July 1 then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and another Supreme Court Justice selected by the Supreme Court, but from a different party than the Chief Justice will choose one person to act as a Special Master.  The Special Master will then create a final redistricting map using a computer program that the Board of Elections chooses before April 1.   
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

No.  There is no provision to foster competitive districts.

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

No.  The District Redistricting Commissions “may hold public hearing and collect information,” but it is not required to do so.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

No.  There is no provision for mid-decade redistricting.  

November 19th 2005
Redistricting reform: How best to tackle ultra-safe districts
Sacramento Bee

FairVote's Rob Richie argues in commentary running in several newspapers that redistricting reformers must challenge winner-take-all elections.

November 16th 2005
In Canada, regular folks are put to work on reforms
San Jose Mercury News

Steven Hill prescribes a citizens assembly as a solution for achieving consensus on redistricting reform in California.

November 15th 2005
Citizens Must Drive Electoral Reform
Roll Call

Heather Gerken of Harvard Law suggests a citizens assembly as one means to achieve redistricting reform and buy-in from voters.

November 13th 2005
Arnold had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

The Herald News cites Fairvote with commentary about the dangers of Gerrmandering and redistricting obstacles.

November 13th 2005
ARNOLD AGONIZES: How the election changed the governor -- and California
San Francisco Chronicle

Article discussing the recent failure of redistricting reform in California and the potential solution in letting the citizens decide through a Citizens Assembly on Election Reform.

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