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.  

October 23rd 2005
Who Should Redistrict?

The New York Times Magazine explains the dilemmas many states, including California, face as they attempt to create competitive and fair congressional districts. Dean Murphy cites FairVote's statistics.

October 15th 2005
Wamp fresh leadership for sagging Republicans
The Tennessean

According to FairVote's Ryan O'Donnell, the Republican party should seize the opportunity to embrace electoral reforms, and take the lead on ending gerrymandering.

October 5th 2005
Mapping the way to a better system
Boston Herald

Why Massachusetts should turn a critical eye towards gerrymandering. This article mentions Fairvote.

October 2nd 2005
Several states may change redistricting process
L.A. Times

Discussion of redistricting practices in California, Massachusetts and Florida. Mentions Tanner's bill.

September 25th 2005
Local GOP breaks with governor to oppose redistricting
Auburn Journal

An article about the debate over a proposal that would give a panel of judges the responsibility of redistricting

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