State News
1:20 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Madigan calls "Fair Maps" initiative "pure Republican Party politics"

House Speaker Michael Madigan is harshly criticizing a plan that would strip him of control over how Illinois draws its legislative maps. As IPRS' Amanda Vinicky reports, the group backing the change has its own harsh words for Madigan.

How legislative districts are drawn sounds wonky. And it is. But it's also really important. Boundaries of a district can help determine which party will win a seat.

Because they control the General Assembly and governor's office, Democrats have largely gotten to control the map-making process in Illinois, including the most recent map, drawn in 2011.

A statewide so-called "Fair Maps" initiative would take it out of lawmakers' control, and instead put an independent, nonpartisan commission in charge. But Speaker Madigan calls the effort "pure Republican Party politics."

"Over the last 50 years, in five maps, Republicans have done one. Out of five. And they're angry. And this is part of their Republican politics. That's all it is," says Madigan.

Madigan points to powerful Republicans who've helped fund the effort. But the "Yes for Independent Maps" group has a wide array of support, including from some Democrats. Its campaign manager, Michael Kolenc, calls Madigan's claims absurd, and an attempt to distract from a broken system.