Press Release
Press Release

Redistricting reform the antidote to Republican extremism

Assembly Democratic freshmen urge support for non-partisan redistricting reform as fall session ends

By - Nov 13th, 2013 03:53 pm

MADISON – Assembly Republicans are ending the fall legislative session with an extreme agenda that focuses on issues like voter suppression, undermining women’s health care, race-based mascots and a power grab on the state Supreme Court – continuing the division they started when they took power nearly three years ago.

With the fall session ending tomorrow, freshmen Democratic legislators from the State Assembly are urging support for non-partisan redistricting reform as an antidote to this Republican extremism. The legislation the 14 Democratic freshmen introduced earlier this year would remove the redistricting authority from politicians and assigns it to a non-partisan body. Assembly Democrats will attempt to bring the bill to the floor for a vote tomorrow.

“Last year Democratic Assembly candidates received 174,000 more votes than Republicans but that translated into just 39 out of 99 seats. Without gerrymandered Assembly districts, the Republican actions that are on tomorrow’s agenda would not pass,” Rep. Mandy Wright (D-Wausau) said. “Yet Republicans want to make themselves even less accountable with tomorrow’s bills by discouraging legitimate voters from voting. Republicans are essentially telling the people of Wisconsin that their priorities, input and votes don’t matter.”

“When politicians pick their voters instead of voters selecting their representatives, we end up with a divided, polarized state and government that does not reflect the will or priorities of the people,” Rep. Stephen Smith (D-Shell Lake) said. “The people want lawmakers to work together to help Wisconsin families and create jobs so we are no longer in the bottom half of the nation on job creation.”

“Gerrymandering has enabled gridlock in Washington and extremism in Wisconsin,” Rep. Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay) said. “The antidote to partisan extremism is nonpartisan redistricting. It’s long past time for Republicans to stop worrying about their own jobs and start focusing on creating jobs for Wisconsin families.”

Currently, state law mandates that members of the majority political party in the Assembly and Senate must re-draw district borders every 10 years. This bill re-assigns that authority to the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau and a to-be-created Redistricting Advisory Commission. This bill is modeled after the redistricting process that has been in place in Iowa for more than 30 years.

Submitted by Reps. Mandela Barnes, Eric Genrich, Evan Goyke, Dianne Hesselbein, LaTonya Johnson, Deb Kolste, Tod Ohnstad, Daniel Riemer, Melissa Sargent, Katrina Shankland, Stephen Smith, Dana Wachs and Mandy Wright

By Rep. Mandy Wright and Rep. Eric Genrich.

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