Former Gov. Pat Quinn Has His Own 'Fair Maps' Proposal
Former Governor says simple changes could put 'Fair Maps' on ballot in November
Quinn offered substitute language on Tuesday which he has said would be both "fair and constitutional', therefore securing a place on the ballot.
The 'Independent Maps' Amendment would take the power of drawing up legislative districts out of the hands of elected leaders and give it to an independent commission. The effort, led in part by Gov. Bruce Rauner, is supposed to create more competitive districts which could lead to more voter influence in elections.
However, the plan was ruled unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court last week in a party-line vote, with four Democratic Justices saying the amendment was unconstitutional while the three Republicans on the high court said it was.
“Voters deserve the chance to be heard on remap reform. Half a million voters signed petitions urging the question be put on the ballot but the language was fatally flawed,” Quinn said in a news release. “It’s back to the drawing board.”
And that's where Quinn believes he can help. His proposal is far less wordy than the rejected 'Independent Maps' Amendment, and proposes that the State Supreme Court be the body to appoint its members.
“Unlike Independent Map’s plan, our language is simple, clean, and pristine,” Quinn said, noting that he is the only person in Illinois history to successfully amend the Constitution by referendum through his 1980 'Cutback Amendment', which reduced the size of the Illinois legislature.
“Having won before the Supreme Court on the interpretation of Article IV, Section 3, I know the Justices’ legal concerns,” Quinn said. He adds that he plans to continue to reach out to the Independent Map organizers to offer a new and improved version. The voters would be able to vote in a 2018 referendum on a redistricting reform amendment. If adopted by the voters, the plan would be in effect in time for the 2021 redistricting required every ten years.
Interestingly enough, if Quinn were to be successful, it would put him at odds with House Speaker and fellow Democrat Mike Madigan, who recently said he opposes independent maps in part because it would dilute minority representation in the legislature. Critics including the current Governor say Madigan is more concerned about the dilution of his power by denying him the ability to draw districts favorable to Democrats.