The Citizens First Amendment (SJRCA 121) includes landmark transparency and public input provisions as well as reforms which will change redistricting in
“After a comprehensive review of the state’s redistricting process one thing is abundantly clear - Illinois can no longer redistrict by lottery,” Chairman Kwame Raoul. “Any reform to the state’s redistricting process must ensure that everyone can participate and guarantee a map is created which benefits all Illinoisans – not just partisanship.”
The Citizens First Amendment would change redistricting in
· Allowing citizen input on map plans
The Citizens First Amendment calls for public input from the beginning of the redistricting process. If passed the constitutional amendment would allow voters to submit their own map plans and comment on other filed map plans at hearings across the state.
· Abolish the tie breaker provision of picking a name out of a hat
· Protect communities of interest and minority groups
One of the benefits of the current redistricting process is that mapmakers are able to go above and
beyond specifications of the Voting Rights Act. The Republican proposal would not allow
Map-makers to draw cross-over districts, which exist under our current legislative map. Instead, the Republican proposal makes the Voting Rights Act a ceiling for minority voting rights protection, rather than floor like the Senate Democratic proposal.
· Using map drawing criteria which embraces the diversity of Illinois
The proposal would require the following criteria be put in place to ensure a fair map for
1. Substantially equal in population
2. Compliance with Voting Rights Act
3. Requires the creation and protection of minority cross-over and influence districts
5. Respect communities of interest
6. Respect municipal boundaries
SJRCA 121 is based on the Paul Simon Institute’s proposal which received overwhelming bi-partisan support in the 95th General Assembly. The House passed the Paul Simon Institute’s redistricting reform proposal (HJRCA 44 – Brosnahan/Righter) by a overwhelming bipartisan vote of 98-10-1 during the previous general assembly. House Republican Leader Tom Cross voted for the measure and Senate Deputy Republican Leader Dale Righter was the Senate sponsor.
“During my tenure as the Chair of the Senate’s Redistricting Committee, I’ve conducted legislative hearings on all of the redistricting proposals in a fair, honest and transparent way. Our redistrict process should mirror those principles.” Raoul added. ”I look forward to working with Illinoisans to provide meaningful reform to a process that has brought negative attention to
Members of the Illinois House of Representatives who are familiar with the inadequacies of
“I think it has been obvious to most observers that the current redistricting system is out-of-date and very much in need of reform,” state Rep. Will Burns said. “The integrity of the redistricting system is central to protecting the civil rights and voting rights of all
"This is a welcome new initiative; it expands the public's role, increasing openness and continues to comply with all voter protections," added State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie.
Constitutional amendments must be passed by each chamber of the General Assembly by May 2nd to be placed on the ballot in November.
Click Play to hear audio from Senator Raoul's press conference.
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Years served: 2004 - Present
Committee assignments: Criminal Law (Vice-Chairperson); Insurance; Labor and Commerce; Judiciary (Chairperson); Public Health; Committee of the Whole; Public Pensions & State Investments (Co-Chairperson); Subcommittee on CLEAR Compliance (Sub-Chairperson); Conference Committee on SB1 (Chairperson).
Biography: Attorney; born September 30, 1964; Bachelor's degree from DePaul University; J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law; married (wife, Kali), has two children.