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.  

June 18th 2006
Where politicians dare to tread
San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board endorses the British Columbia Citizens Assembly approach to electoral reform, specifically noting the potential for proportional representation in California.

March 21st 2006
Real redistricting reform is proportional representation
San Francisco Examiner

Rob Dickinson of Californians for Electoral Reform writes a commentary on how recent proposals to make the redistricting process fairer miss the mark. For real progress in how we elect our representatives, we need to turn to proportional voting.

March 1st 2006
Tanner redistricting bill gains Senate sponsor
The Hill

Senator Tim Johnson introduced a companion bill to Rep. John Tanner's federal redistricting reform legislation. The identical bills, supported by FairVote, would set up state commissions to handle redistricting only once a decade.

December 20th 2005
Overhaul of state electoral system sought

Following on the heels of the defeat of redistricting reform in California, Republican and Democratic legislators plan on introducing legislation to create a citizens assembly for election reform and discuss proportional voting for the state.

December 11th 2005
A Dramatic Idea for Election Reform
New York Times

A Times reader highlights the fundamental weakness of any single-member district-based system: gerrymandering is unavoidable.

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