We need your action to make our legislature act. Politicians have always been reluctant to give up the power to draw their own district lines. And we know how that power was abused in 2011: the process resulted in a legislature with no fear of the voters in Wisconsin. But there is hope. First of all, there is the lawsuit that has made its way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. That case could decide whether the legislature must redraw the maps that was so egregiously drawn to favor one party in 2011. But, it does not mean they would have to form a non-partisan method or commission to draw the lines either now or in the future (after the 2020 census). Thus, we would not be rid of the method we already have.
That’s where you come in. There is a bill languishing in the legislature that would change all that. It is AB44/SB13 (they are identical but with different numbers in each house). The respective committee chairs in the Assembly (Rep. Kathy Bernier) and the Senate (Sen. Devin Lemahieu) have ignored these bills and refused even to hold one public hearing. We find that irresponsible at best and reprehensible at worst. All we ask is that a proper hearing be held this year so the legislature can hear from the citizens of Wisconsin on their thoughts around potential redistricting by a non-partisan board. And we think you can make that happen. We are asking that you and other citizens across the state make calls to these offices on Sept. 12th and DEMAND that a proper public hearing be held for these important bills.
Here is a suggested script:
“Hello, my name is ________ and I am calling today to ask that Rep. Bernier/Senator Lemahieu hold a public hearing on AB44/SB44 on redistricting reform. I would also ask that I be placed on your list of contacts to inform me of the progress of this piece of legislation.”
We expect that you will be asked if you live in the district of the legislator you are calling. The suggested response should be that this legislation affects us all and as chairperson of this important committee they represent everyone in our state on this matter.
Also, we have heard Rep. Bernier and Sen. Lemahieu utter the excuse that they won’t do anything until they know what the Supreme Court decision is. To this, you should respond that the court case is related to the current maps only while the legislation is about how we draw future maps. The two situations are related but separate. And if they truly care about the case before SCOTUS then they should want to have a proper non-partisan system in place to draw new maps. Thus, you can make your demand again and make it even stronger.
And then call your own legislators and ask them to request a hearing from their committee chairs: