House Redistricting Hearing in Champaign Saturday
An Illinois House hearing Saturday in Champaign is just one of many being held by both chambers of the General Assembly, as work gets underway on drawing new legislative districts for the 2012 election.
But Republican lawmakers say the hearing schedule falls short of what's needed to get proper public input for the redistricting process. State Representative Chapin Rose of Mahomet said the House Redistricting Committee has scheduled no hearings for rural areas in the southern third of the state. Rose said the committee should hold another round of hearings once proposed district maps are drawn up.
"Once that committee meets in Springfield or Chicago, what we're saying is we should bring it back to statewide, so that people in Urbana have a chance to look at it, people in Carbondale have a chance to look at it, or wherever," Rose said.
Rose said that Democrats need to keep their promises about an open and transparent redistricting process since they control both legislative chambers and the governor's office.
A spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan said the redistricting process has been open so far. Steve Brown said many of the challenges in the process are not political, but technical and legal.
"Because Illinois does have to comply with the Voting Rights Act and address minority population issues, almost every ten years, these maps are reviewed by the federal courts, and found whether they're in compliance or not," Brown said. "And if not, they have to be corrected."
The House Redistricting Committee hearing in Champaign is set for Saturday, April 15th at 1 PM at the Tony Noel Ag Building at Parkland College. Also on Saturday, the Illinois Senate Redistricting Committee will hold its own hearing at 12 PM, at Kankakee Community College.