Democratic Lawmakers Call for Public Hearing on Nonpartisan Redistricting Reform Bill

MADISON – Today, Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Government Operations and the Assembly Committee on State Affairs sent a letter to the committee chairs, Sen. Duey Stroebel (R – Saukville) and Rep. Swearingen (R – Rhinelander), requesting a public hearing on legislation to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process in Wisconsin.

On May 17, 2021, Sen. Jeff Smith (D – Brunswick) and Rep. Deb Andraca (D –Whitefish Bay) introduced Senate Bill 389 and Assembly Bill 395, joining advocates statewide calling for fair electoral maps. There is heightened urgency to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process given the U.S. Census redistricting data is expected to be released in the upcoming weeks.

Sen. Smith, author of SB 389, shared the following statement:

“Wisconsinites have waited long enough for fair maps. For more than a decade, the Republican Majority has ignored the will of the people and hasn’t faced any consequences because of their gerrymandered maps. The people deserve a voice – this starts by holding a public hearing on the Fair Maps bill.”

Rep. Andraca, author of AB 395, added the following statement: 

“A public hearing on the Fair Maps bill would demonstrate a commitment to true election integrity. If politicians have to compete on their ideas and not their maps, it means they must listen to their constituents and vote accordingly. Nonpartisan redistricting processes like this have restored power to the voters in several other states, and Wisconsinites also deserve a transparent and fair process.”

During the last redistricting process in 2011, the Republican Majority hired private attorneys to draw electoral maps in secret, behind closed doors, without public input. These maps were considered by many to be among the most gerrymandered maps in the nation. Wisconsin’s legislative and congressional districts shouldn’t be drawn by legislators for legislators.

The Fair Maps bill creates a fair and transparent process for all future legislative and congressional redistricting plans in Wisconsin. The bill directs the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau to draw redistricting plans and establishes a citizen-led Redistricting Advisory Commission to have an impartial role in developing new electoral maps.