IL Residents Get First Look at Proposed State Senate Map

May 19, 2011

Democrats released their proposal for new Illinois Senate districts today but did not provide population or voting information that would shed light on how the districts would affect elections.

Senate Democrats said their proposed map would create seven districts with more than 50 percent African-American voting age population, down from eight districts. It also would create five majority-Latino districts, up from four.

Other than that, Senate Democrats simply posted maps online that show the outlines of the proposed districts. They plan public hearings on Saturday and Tuesday to provide more detail.

Senate Republicans said they were reviewing the proposal but didn't yet know enough to comment on whether it's fair and meets constitutional requirements.

There's no word on when the Illinois House will release its proposal for House districts. Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, said he did not know when voters would get to see the House proposal.

Political maps are redrawn every decade based on U.S. Census figures. Democrats are in charge because they control the Illinois House, Senate and governor's office.

State lawmakers also have to draw new congressional districts. No proposal for that task has surfaced yet. Illinois is set to lose one of its 19 U.S. House seats because of population shifts.

Democrats plan to approve the maps before the scheduled end of the legislative session on May 31. After that, a supermajority would be required to pass the maps, which would give Republican lawmakers a say in the process.

The leader of the Senate remap process, Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, did not return calls seeking more information. His office referred calls to a Senate spokeswoman who said no further details would be released today.

Story source: AP