CHICAGO (CBS/AP)– Despite a campaign promise to veto any new legislative maps drawn by state lawmakers, Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday signed new maps outlining the state’s legislative and Supreme Court districts, which were created by majority Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly.
In a statement, Pritzker said the new maps he signed “preserve minority representation in Illinois’ government in accordance with the federal Voting Rights Act.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Storms Headed Our Way After Midnight; Damaging Winds And Heavy Rain Possible
Republican state lawmakers have criticized the new maps, which were drawn up by Democratic state lawmakers, and had called on the governor to veto the proposals.
Rep. Tim Butler, the Republican spokesman of the House Redistricting Committee, has called the Democrats’ maps openly partisan, and “yet another attempt to mislead voters in an effort to block fair elections.”
Democrats had faced a June 30 deadline to enact the maps or give Republicans a 50-50 chance at drawing the new boundary lines.
The Illinois Constitution requires new legislative maps every 10 years to reflect population shifts. The maps first released two weeks ago were based on data from the American Census Survey, not actual Census numbers, which have not yet been released.
When he ran for governor in 2018, Pritzker promised to veto any new state legislative redistricting maps that were created by state lawmakers, political party leaders, or their staffs, instead of an independent commission.
Earlier this week, Pritzker said he was still reviewing the maps drawn up by Democratic lawmakers, and criticized Republicans for not putting forward their own proposed maps, accusing them of failing to participate in the process.READ MORE: Years After Promise Of $100,000 From State And Photo-Op Prop Check, AMVETS Post 14 In Clinton, Illinois Has Not Seen A Dime
The governor said the maps he approved preserve minority presentation in Illinois.
“Illinois’ strength is in our diversity, and these maps help to ensure that communities that have been left out and left behind have fair representation in our government,” Pritzker said in a statement. “These district boundaries align with both the federal and state Voting Rights Acts, which help to ensure our diverse communities have electoral power and fair representation.”
Illinois Republican Party chairman Don Tracy blasted Pritzker for going back on his campaign promise to veto any maps drawn by lawmakers.
“Governor Pritzker lied to the people of Illinois when he pledged to veto a politician-drawn map. Governor Pritzker promised to take politicians out of the mapmaking process and hand it over to an independent commission that would be required to follow the Voting Rights Act and protect minority representation. Instead, he let politicians pick their own voters, split up numerous communities of interest, and use faulty data all in an effort to rig the system for those already in power. Pritzker didn’t keep his word and cannot be trusted,” Tracy said in a statement.
House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, a Democrat from Hillside, applauded the governor’s approval of the new maps as “a win for the people of this great state.”
“With Governor Pritzker’s signature, people of Illinois can be confident in a legislative map that is reflective of the diversity that we see in every corner of our state. Not only does this map adhere to state and federal laws, but it is a product of more than 50 public hearings where citizens came to tell us what their communities look like to them,” Welch said in a statement.
The speaker also noted the state’s Supreme Court districts had not changed in more than 50 years, and said the changes reflect significant population and demographic changes in that time.MORE NEWS: Some Residents Say A Bears Move To Arlington Heights Would Benefit Community, Others Say It Would Bring Unwelcome Traffic And Crowds
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