TIME FOR ACTION ON REDISTRICTING
Senate Republicans are renewing their call for action on gerrymandering reform. After five public statewide hearings on redistricting reform, lawmakers need to step forward and embrace the reform suggestions advanced by expert witnesses and Illinois citizens.
Although ideas for reform varied, several key principles emerged from the hearings:
• Politicians should not be in charge of drawing the maps;
• Maps should not be drawn based on where the incumbent legislator lives;
• When the partisan voting history of district residents is used to draw maps, it discourages competition and reduces voter choice; and
• The process should be open and transparent.
It’s important not to be misled by false reforms that continue to allow politicians to draw legislative districts. Some reform measures that have been advanced would simply increase the number of votes necessary to approve a map—that would not address the current problems of influence, incumbency protection and corruption that currently taint the state’s redistricting process.
GOVERNOR WANTS MORE BORROWING!
Governor Pat Quinn announced October 27 that he wants to borrow an additional $900 million because the state is months behind in bill payments. Although he would not need legislative approval for the borrowing, he would need the Comptroller and Treasurer to sign off on the plan.
The Governor says that the money is needed to keep state government services and programs functioning as normal, as well as to finance the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP), which provides college scholarships to Illinois students.
Borrowing revenue is a short-term solution to a much larger problem. Illinois should reduce state spending before borrowing even more money. The state already borrowed $2.25 billion recently for a short-term infusion of cash to pay bills and finance general state spending.
Kudos to Illinois students for improving their ACT testing scores!
The October 29 edition of the Pantagraph reported that the State Board of Education received the ACT Systems of Excellence Award for improving the college readiness of students in Illinois.
All 11th-grade students in public and private schools are required to take the ACT test.