Court Battle Predicted Over Wisconsin Legislative Districts

February 4, 2020 by Dan McCue

The speaker of Wisconsin’s state assembly said Sunday that legislative maps soon to be created by a new nonpartisan redistricting board have very little chance of ever being used.

Appearing on WISN television in Milwaukee, Speaker Robin Vos said he doesn’t think drawing new electoral maps in 2021 needs to be “a big argument,” but he predicted the maps will inevitably wind up in court — and be tossed in favor of GOP-crafted maps.

“We use the principles that are under the constitution,” the Rochester Republican, told host Adrienne Pedersen on WISN’s UpFront program. “Usually [courts have] chosen the Republican map because we just do a better job.”

Last week, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order creating  the People’s Maps Commission to draw a set of maps “free from partisan bias.”

Under Evers’ plan, the panel would begin drafting its proposed maps after the 2020 Census data is given to the states next spring.

During the process, it would hear testimony in each of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts and then draw “fair, impartial maps.”

Evers said the panel’s membership would be culled from a list of volunteers, and the costs of the effort covered by the state Department of Administration.

Given that the commission will be comprised entirely of volunteers, the governor predicted the cost of the redistricting effort would be relatively modest.

But Vos and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Juneau Republican, scoffed at the order, noting the state constitution gives the legislature the authority to draw the maps, which the governor can either accept or veto.

Evers responded by saying his proposal is an effort to hold the Republican-controlled legislature accountable.

“I’m more than happy to accept a loss if the Legislature votes it down, but because things are gerrymandered the way they are, people feel comfortable saying to their leadership, ‘You decide whether we do this or not,’” he said.

“I would think the people of Wisconsin would like to see what their legislators feel about things,” he added.

Democratic state Attorney General Josh Kaul also weighed in on the matter, saying, not only is the new panel constitutional, but will allow the public ” to have input into what the maps look like, but that’s how it should work.”

Evers himself acknowledged the likelihood of litigation as he signed his executive order, noting his actions weren’t intended “to stave off lawsuits” but “ensure the people of Wisconsin are choosing their elected officials.”

Wisconsin’s current legislative maps, drawn at a time when Republicans controlled every branch of the state government, were challenged in federal court.

Ultimately, a  three-judge panel concluded the boundaries of two assembly districts needed to be redrawn to better reflect Hispanic representation in those areas.

When the Legislature didn’t act to amend the lines, the court in 2012 issued a new order implementing its own map.

Federal judges also moved to invalidate the assembly district lines in 2016 as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. That case was abandoned after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.

In The News

Health

Voting

State News

Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing
In The States
Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, can trace the arc of the state's Republican Party clearly."This was the state where to be Republican was defined by Gerald Ford and George... Read More

What NY Prosecutors Could Learn from Trump's Tax Records
In The States
What NY Prosecutors Could Learn from Trump's Tax Records

NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. fought for a year and a half to get access to former President Donald Trump's tax records.Now, thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he will soon have them. But what will that mean for... Read More

Indian Country Gripped by Haaland Hearing for Top US Post
Political News
Indian Country Gripped by Haaland Hearing for Top US Post

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — For Native Americans, Deb Haaland is more than an elected official on track to become the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior Department. She is a sister, an auntie and a fierce pueblo woman whose political stances have been molded by her... Read More

Northam to Sign Death Penalty Repeal Bill
In The States
Northam to Sign Death Penalty Repeal Bill
February 22, 2021
by TWN Staff

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a bill that will end capital punishment in the Commonwealth. The legislation now heads to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who has said he will sign it into law, making Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions.... Read More

Robinhood in the Hot Seat
Congress
Robinhood in the Hot Seat
February 19, 2021
by Victoria Turner

The decision by the online brokerage firm Robinhood to impose restrictions on customer trading at the high point of last month’s online trading frenzy was brought under scrutiny at Thursday’s hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. While Robinhood insists that its decision did not favor... Read More

Inslee Taps Feds for $2.2 Billion in Relief Funds
In The States
Inslee Taps Feds for $2.2 Billion in Relief Funds
February 19, 2021
by TWN Staff

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday approved the appropriation of $2.2 billion federal funding earmarked to help move the state from COVID-19 pandemic to a lasting recovery. House Bill 1368, which the governor signed Friday afternoon, draws from a pool of funding the federal government allocated to... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top