Democrats call for public hearings on redistricting

(NBC15)
Published: Jan. 27, 2017 at 11:31 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democrats are calling for public hearings on the redrawing of legislative boundaries after federal judges ordered the Republican-controlled Legislature to create new maps by November.

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel has promised to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But in the meantime, the Legislature is required to pass new maps by November in time for the 2018 elections.

Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca says the new maps should be subject to public hearings around the state and not drawn behind closed doors.

Senate Democratic Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling says Democrats should be involved in the process.

Republican legislative leaders had no immediate comment on the ruling, but have previously said they expect the Supreme Court to uphold the original maps.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A panel of federal judges has ordered the Wisconsin Legislature to redraw legislative boundaries by November, rejecting calls from those challenging the maps to have the judges do the work.

The three-judge panel released its decision in the redistricting case Friday. The state is expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.

State attorneys had asked for the Republican-controlled Legislature to be allowed to draw the maps if the Supreme Court orders them redone. Democrats who sued over the boundaries wanted the judges to do that.

A dozen voters sued in 2015 over the Republican-drawn boundaries, alleging they unconstitutionally consolidated GOP power and discriminated against Democrats. The three-judge panel agreed in a 2-1 ruling in November but didn't order any immediate action.

The following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning with regards to today's order:

"Democrats believe that voting should be fair and elections should be meaningful. This is an incredibly important ruling for the people of Wisconsin and our democracy. Finally, after six years of an unconstitutional gerrymander, the voters will have a chance to truly have their voice heard.

"Many thanks to those who fought tirelessly to put the power of the vote back in the hands of the people. I look forward to a fair and transparent redrawing process and the restoration of a cornerstone of our democratic process."

Copyright 2017: Associated Press