UPDATED 05/31/11 6:25 a.m.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The re-drawing of the map is almost done in Illinois, and the state Senate is expected to vote on new Congressional lines Tuesday.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, because the population growth in Illinois in the last decade did not keep pace with other states, there will be 18 rather than 19 U.S. House seats up for election next year.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports
During House debate, redistricting chair and Majority Leader Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) said one cannot point to one particular boundary or another as the goal.
“You can’t consider one district in a vacuum, because anything you do in one part of the map is going to have an impact on another part of the map,” Currie said.
The state House approved the remap Monday by a vote of 63-54.
Democrats are in charge of the once-a-decade redistricting process because they control the state Legislature and governor’s office.
Incumbent Republicans are upset the Democrat-drawn map throws them into districts with other incumbents, and/or gives them vast amounts of unfamiliar, and maybe even hostile, territory.
The proposed map lumps at least four freshman Republicans and one veteran into districts where they would have to run against other incumbents for the next election.
Rep. Michael Fortner (R-West Chicago), the top Republican on the House redistricting committee, also said census figures suggest that there should be more than one majority Latino congressional district among Illinois’ 18 districts. Fortner said that based on voting-age population, Illinois should expect to have two or maybe three heavily Latino districts.
“There has been tremendous growth, in fact, I think it is fair to say that without the growth of the Latino population in Illinois we would have lost two congressional seats,” Fortner said.
The number of people who identified themselves as Hispanic grew at a rate of 32.5 percent in the latest census.
The proposed congressional map has one district with a Latino voting-age population of nearly 66 percent. Two other districts have Latino voting-age populations of about 22 percent and another district has almost 25 percent.
The map has three majority black districts.
Lawmakers are rushing to approve the congressional map before Tuesday’s scheduled end of the legislative session. If lawmakers go into overtime, Republicans will get a say in the map because new rules kick in and more than a simple majority will be needed to pass it.
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