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New map draws fire from GOP

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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois legislative redistricting map sits on Gov. Pat Quinn's desk after the state House and Senate passed it Friday. Republicans said the process was rushed and is unfair, lacking transparency and public feedback.

By Mary J. Cristobal

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois legislative redistricting map sits on Gov. Pat Quinn's desk after the state House and Senate passed it Friday. Republicans said the process was rushed and is unfair, lacking transparency and public feedback.

"And the public is the big loser in that — they don't have an opportunity to voice opposition and support or inquiries regarding a map that would affect their voting rights in the next 10 years in this state," said state Rep. Jill Tracy, R-Quincy, whose district was meshed with another Republican representative in the proposed map.

The House Redistricting Committee held 14 days of public hearings, while the Senate Redistricting Committee held nine. This past week, House and Senate Democrats unveiled the proposed map. Redistricting occurs every 10 years after the U.S. Census Bureau counts the population. The controlling party in the Legislature redraws the lines.

Changes to the map, SB 1177, were presented to the House Friday morning before the vote.

"The fact that we are attempting to describe a process that allows a 364-paged amendment to a bill that's going to remap our state — that is only about 10 days old to begin with," said State Rep. Roger Eddy, R-Hutsonville. "The real shame here is we're calling that transparent."

State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, who is leading the redistricting effort, said this process was the most transparent in the Illinois redistricting history.

"As promised, it's been a week since we unveiled our redistricting proposal," Raoul said.

However, the public may be bit distracted with Memorial Day weekend plans and not pay attention to the proposed map, said state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Westmont.

"You couldn't really pick a worst time to roll out a map," Dillard said.

Or the public doesn't know how redistricting affects them, said Chris Mooney, political studies professor at University of Illinois at Springfield.

"(The map is) really important about specifically who's going to win, who's going to run against whom in the next set of elections for the next 10 years," he said.

State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, said he would have preferred a computer-generated map.

Quinn said he has not seen the proposed legislative map.

"It's got to be fair. I'll tell ever member of the General Assembly, both houses, both parties, emphasize fairness," Quinn said.

The governor did not elaborate on what "fair" is.

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