Cullen, Schultz host redistricting hearing
Retiring state Sens. Tim Cullen and Dale Schultz continued to press for redistricting changes Monday, hosting a public hearing in the Capitol that featured officials from neighboring Iowa.
Cullen, D-Janesville, and Schultz, R-Richland Center, have authored legislation largely based on the Hawkeye State's redistricting model, in which the maps are drawn by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency and subject to an up-or-down vote by the Legislature.
LSA legal counsel Ed Cook told the senators, via Skype, that Iowa's redistricting model has produced new maps at minimal cost and with largely bipartisan agreement since taking effect in 1980 -- and that the maps, once enacted, have never been challenged in court.
"Redistricting doesn't get in the way of the trend in any election," Cook said, noting control of the Iowa Legislature has changed following redistricting in the past.
State Rep. Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City, conceded the unveiling of the new maps every 10 years often causes anxiety due to lawmakers occasionally being drawn out of their districts or into competition with legislative colleagues. Still, Lensing said legislators also face pressure to approve the maps since they "don't want to go to the (Iowa) Supreme Court."
"I think by now we're pretty used to it," Lensing said.
Schultz and Cullen also heard from UW-Madison political scientists Ken Mayer and David Canon, who said Wisconsin's current redistricting system serves only the party in control of the Legislature.
"Most people can't handle power," Cullen said.
GOP legislative leaders have said they're opposed to moving redistricting authority from elected legislators to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
- By WisPolitics.com staff