Hays Signs on as Chief Co-Sponsor of New Proposal that Gives Citizens a Primary Role in Drawing Legislative Maps

Frustrated with the recent Illinois Supreme Court decision that found the Independent Maps Coalition’s fair maps proposal unconstitutional, State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) is partnering with Republican State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) to push a new fair maps initiative that allows citizens to draw legislative maps with the guidance of a non-partisan commission.

“Everywhere I go I hear from Illinois citizens who feel their voices are being silenced on the issue of fair maps,” said Hays. “The people want to elect their legislators; they do not want majority party legislators to draw maps that all but remove the public’s voice in who represents them.”

Through HJRCA 60, filed Tuesday in Springfield, issues brought forth in the Supreme Court ruling are addressed. A commission as outlined in the Constitution would provide tools and necessary data to citizens to help them create a map that meets Constitutional requirements, and then the commission would rank the citizen maps according to a defined scoring rubric. The top three ranked maps would then be forwarded to the General Assembly for up or down votes on each proposal. Members of the House and Senate would be prohibited from making any changes to the citizen-created maps that came to them. In the event that consensus is not reached on one map, the Secretary of State would step in and certify the map with the highest rubric score.

“One of the main issues that led to the unconstitutional ruling by the high court is the make-up of the commission,” said Hays. “HJRCA 60 keeps the formation of that commission identical as outlined by the Constitution, but changes its function from actually drawing the map, to providing the information needed for citizens to draw a Constitutionally-sound map. It gives the people of Illinois the primary voice in map creation, and if successful, would end partisan control of the map-drawing process once and for all.”

Both Fortner and Hays believe the wording of this legislation falls within the guidelines set forth in the legislative article of the Illinois Constitution. If approved by the General Assembly and implemented, the new mapping process would apply to the redistricting that will take place in 2021, and would affect the boundaries for the election in 2022.