State House Democrats reveal new legislative map
SUN-TIMES MEDIA May 20, 2011 9:24PM
To see the House legislative redistricting map, go to www.ilhousedems.com/redistricting/?page—id=514.
Updated: June 22, 2011 7:32PM
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois House Democrats posted a map of newly drawn legislative districts Friday, but refused to offer any demographic information showing how minority-population shifts influenced their mapmaking.
The 118 House districts that comprised the map were shaped using 2010 U.S. Census data that showed marked declines in African-American populations and a significant uptick in Latino populations.
An aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, would offer no insight into how the map was drawn or into the demographic make-up of each district, insisting only that the once-a-decade exercise in legislative mapmaking adhered to the Constitution and federal law.
“It follows the law. That’s what I know. That’s the way it’s always been done,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.
Republicans were bracing for the likelihood that Democratic cartographers would take aim at their GOP rivals by merging incumbent House Republicans into the same districts, which happened Thursday in the Senate map.
“I have no reason to think that any of this was done based on personal animus,” said Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago, co-chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, which will hold a Sunday hearing in Chicago to review the map.
It appears the map places at least two Lake County two lawmakers in the same district. Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, and Sidney Mathias, R-Buffalo Grove, have been lumped in the same 59th House District.
“When they stick it to you, you can’t just completely set that aside,” said Mathias.
Other proposed districts would consolidate Democratic areas. The Springfield and Decatur areas, for instance, are now represented by Republicans, but the new map would carve out the most Democratic parts of the region and link them, creating a district likely to turn blue.
The plan for House districts comes a day after Senate Democrats released a similar proposal for their seats. A plan for new congressional districts is coming soon.
Political boundaries have to be redrawn after each census to reflect population changes. The result shapes Illinois politics for a full decade.
Democrats control the Illinois Legislature, so they should be able to pass whatever they want without taking Republican concerns into account. Gov. Pat Quinn would be likely to sign any plan sent to him by his fellow Democrats.
House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, said the legislative maps look “very punitive to the Republicans” so far.