The Republican Spokesmen of the House and Senate redistricting committees – House Assistant Minority Leader Tim Butler (R-Springfield) and Senate Republican Caucus Chair Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) – are calling for Governor JB Pritzker to testify before a joint hearing of the redistricting committees this evening. Despite more than 30 redistricting hearings taking place, neither the Governor nor a ranking official within his office has provided testimony at a hearing to date.
“Governor Pritzker has repeatedly said he does not support a partisan redistricting process, but he has remained troublingly silent about the current partisan process being carried out by majority party Democrats,” said Butler. “Now is the time for the Governor or a high-level member of his staff to come forward and testify before the redistricting committees and prove his commitment to fair, non-partisan redistricting. The people of Illinois deserve to know if the Governor will keep his pledge and veto the partisan drawn map the Democrats send him.”
Previously, Spokesmen Butler and Barickman sent a letter to the chairs of their respective redistricting committees asking the Governor’s office to testify. At the April 16, 2021, House hearing, the committee chair stated House Democrats had yet to receive a response to this request. Subsequently, Butler and Barickman have sent another request directly to the Governor seeking testimony by him or his office.
“Governor Pritzker campaigned on reforming the map-making process, he promised the people of Illinois that he would veto a map drawn by politicians,” said Barickman. “The Governor has a historic opportunity to use his influence to help fundamentally change the way the redistricting process works. It’s time for him to fulfill the promise he made to voters and provide the leadership that Illinoisans deserve.”
In 2018, then-candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker was asked this redistricting question by Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller: “This requires only a simple yes or no response: Will you pledge as governor to veto any state legislative redistricting map proposal that is in any way drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies? The exception, of course, would be the final official draft by LRB.”
Pritzker’s response was: “Yes, I will pledge to veto. We should amend the constitution to create an independent commission to draw legislative maps, but in the meantime, I would urge Democrats and Republicans to agree to an independent commission to handle creating a new legislative map. That designated body should reflect the gender, racial, and geographic diversity of the state and look to preserve the Voting Rights Act decisions to ensure racial and language minorities are fully represented in the electoral process.”
In his 2018 gubernatorial candidate questionnaire in the Northwest Herald, then-candidate Pritzker stated, “…and I support ending the gerrymandering of districts to encourage more competitive elections.”
The Governor again reiterated this position after his 2020 State of the State Address by promising to “veto any unfair map that gets presented to me.”
A copy of the letter sent by Butler and Barickman requesting the Governor or a member of his staff testify is available below.