With a deadline looming on Friday, April 21, 2021, for new legislation to pass the Senate, the clock is ticking down on the chance for Illinois to address the desperate need for redistricting reform.
Illinois Senate Republican Redistricting Caucus Chair Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) is calling on Senate leadership to stop blocking redistricting reform legislation from advancing and to hold a hearing on his independent redistricting legislation.
“Everyone from the Senate President to the Governor has repeatedly expressed their support for redistricting reform,” Barickman said. “We have a proposal that has had bipartisan support in both chambers. The only reason to block attempts at reform is to allow one party to produce a purely partisan map. Why else would they would be hiding from this legislation now?”
Senate Bill 1325, filed by Barickman, uses identical language from SJRCA 0004, a constitutional amendment for an independent redistricting commission that was introduced by Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) in 2019. That resolution garnered 37 co-sponsors in the Senate including 18 Democrats. A similar independent commission amendment co-sponsored by Speaker of the House Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch (D-Hillside) passed the House in 2016 with 105 YES votes.
Unfortunately for the people of Illinois, the independent redistricting legislation is being held in the Senate assignments committee, blocking it from being heard in a public committee, despite the urgent timing of the issue.
On April 21, 2021, Barickman sent a formal request to Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) to extend the Third Reading Deadline on the legislation, along with a request to Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago) asking that the legislation be released from the Assignments Committee so that it can be heard and debated in the appropriate public committee.
“The people of Illinois have been demanding that the Legislature take the power away from politicians to draw their own maps,” said Barickman. “It’s time that Democratic leaders listen to the people of Illinois and follow their own campaign promises to fix the system.”