Illinois House Redistricting Committee holds public input hearing in Peoria

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Illinois House Restricting Committee held a virtual hearing Thursday to get feedback from the Peoria area about congressional map redistricting.

Every 10 years, Illinois redraws its State and Federal district maps. Illinois is losing a congressional seat due to population loss in the 2020 Census, only one of three states to do so. Redistricting maps for the General Assembly took place during the spring and summer.

"We know this is something that people are very concerned about, and would like to know what’s going to happen," said State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield).

The sole witness at the hearing expressed displeasure with the way the state’s district maps were drawn.

Carla Hillman, president of Kewanee League of Women Voters, a group that has been involved in the redistricting process since the 1990s, said they "closely monitored the process in the Illinois legislature for the drawing of State House and Senate district maps this spring and summer, and has found it lacking in ensuring equity and transparency."

Hillman said the final maps were introduced less than 24 hours before the vote and the public was not given a chance to study the maps and weigh in timely fashion. She called for at least two weeks of review time.

"Illinois must adopt a redistricting process that is more accessible equitable and transparent, and accountable to the people," she said.

Butler said Republicans support an independent commission, so "people should be able to choose who their elected officials are, not the elected officials sitting there."

Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said "ultimately, the map-making process is a political process."

She said staff is working on the maps and she is not involved, but the goal is to pass something within the next 30 days.

"My guess is it probably won’t be too much different than what it is right now," she said.

Butler said they are waiting on the Democrats to produce a map proposal, and he hopes they put it out soon.

"They have the ability to pass a map on their own with the numbers they have," he said. "A lot of advocacy groups have said they want two weeks to react to it. Put a map out there and let people react to it for a couple weeks," he said.

The public is invited to submit comments through the Illinois House Democrats’ redistricting website. They can even draw and submit their own district maps.

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October 14, 2021 at 06:03PM

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