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Pleasure, Pain in State Redistricting



    Pleasure, Pain in State Redistricting / fish667
    The Illinois Statehouse

    The proposed maps carving out the state's senate and representative districts, released this week by both bodies, are failing to appease everyone.

    While the plans -- Senate Democrats released theirs on Thursday while Democrats in the Illinois House kept their secret until late Friday -- finally bring some communities under a single lawmaker, other areas are seeing new fragmentation.

    Chinatown and the Little Village neighborhoods, for example, would see representation simplified.  But other Asian-American communities on the north side would be split up. The city of Crystal Lake, in McHenry County, could be split into three Senate districts.

    The changes have some minority groups, many of which had worked together to try to get more representation, balking over the proposals.

    The House proposal splits the state up into 118 districts and seems to paint a very positive picture for  Democrats in that body, which is under the leadership of Speaker Michael Madigan.

    “There seems to be a lot of districts that lumped Republican representatives together so again, you kind of wonder, ‘Was this more political or were they really looking at strong rational for creating good geographical districts?'" Rep Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, told the FOX television station in Springfield.

    Cindi Canary, the director of a group which has advocated more transparency in the redistricting process, openly questioned the motivation for drawing the lines as they were.

    "That really goes right absolutely to the heart of ‘Is this a partisan map, or is this a map about representing the voters of Illinois?"

    And as the legislators' deadline draws near, still others are upset at the brief window for public input.  Public hearings were held Saturday and Sunday.

    Illinois House Minority leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) called it "disingenuous" for House Democrats to release their plans just two days before a public hearing on the matter.

    If the General Assembly can't agree on the proposals by the end of May, they'll only have a short time before the process is taken over by a committee made up of four members from each party.

    Map: Proposed Senate Districts

    Map: Proposed House Districts