Pritzker’s silence on revised maps ‘deafening,’ state Senator says

(The Center Square) – With a pending lawsuit over legislative maps Illinois Democrats sent Gov. J.B. Pritzker weeks ago, Republicans are asking what’s the holdup on approval.

Every ten years, states redraw political boundaries, including where districts will be for the next decade for state Senators and Representatives. This year, final data was delayed because of the pandemic.

Democrats passed maps along party lines in May, saying they had the obligation to pass maps by a June 30 deadline in the state constitution. The governor enacted them, despite pledging as a candidate he would veto maps drawn by politicians.

Republicans filed a lawsuit, as did the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, saying the maps were based on estimates and are not valid.

After final Census data was released in August, Democrats passed revised maps. They sent those to the governor on Sept. 2. Pritzker has yet to act.

State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, suggested the governor scrap the Democrat’s map.

“I voted no, so veto would be my recommendation,” Batinick said.

“What’s the delay,” said state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington. “I don’t think many people even realize that he hasn’t signed these maps. They thought it was a foregone conclusion and yet we haven’t seen anything.”

Democrats contend their maps are fair and represent the diversity of the state. MALDEF said the revised maps take away Latino representation despite their population growing.

Barickman said the governor needs to lead on this and veto the maps.

“He should stand proudly with his pen, he should veto it and say ‘you know what, Illinoisans, I’m sorry I got it wrong the first time but I’m gonna get it right this time and I’m going to veto these maps,’” Barickman said. “I think his silence on this issue right now is deafening.”

Pritzker’s office has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

The next hearing in the federal case Republicans and MALDEF have against the maps is Oct. 7. It’s unclear when the panel of judges in the Northern District of Illinois will rule on a motion for summary judgment and if they’ll install a federal monitor over the process.

Republicans are pushing for the bipartisan commission to take over the process, as prescribed by the Illinois Constitution.

Legislators have yet to approve maps for Illinois congressional districts. The state is losing one seat in Congress because of population loss.

Maps would be necessary for individuals running in various districts across the state to know the boundaries. Petitioning for access to the June 2022 primary is in January.

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