Gov. Tony Evers today took the first step towards creating a nonpartisan redistricting commission to suggest the state’s new legislative boundaries after the 2020 census, following through on a pledge he made during his State of the State address.
Evers created the “People’s Maps Commission” via executive order and pledged it would be made up of “the people of Wisconsin.”
“I believe when it comes to the integrity of the process and the fairness of the maps, Wisconsin must look to the people, not the politicians, that could assist in drawing maps that are fairly and accurately representing our state,” Evers said, vowing to steer clear of lobbyists and “high-paid consultants.”
But a spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos referred WisPolitics.com to comments the Rochester Republican made in the immediate aftermath of the guv’s State of the State address in which he called the plan “a fake, phony partisan process.”
“Whatever Gov. Evers wants to do, he has one part in this role to play: he has the ability to sign or veto a map; he doesn’t get to draw them,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald was not immediately available for comment, but the Juneau Republican after the State of the State address called the commission “unconstitutional.”
Quizzed on those comments and the legality of the commission, Evers said he was “not surprised” considering “it worked well for them in the past.”
But he added Vos was wrong before handing off to Dem AG Josh Kaul, who repeated the sentiment.
“Not only is the public allowed to have input into what our maps look like, but that’s the way our process should work,” he said, hailing public input as “one of the foundational principles” of democracy.
Kaul slammed opposition to such input as “reflective of the attitude that politicians have had for too long, which is that they have the power in the state.”
“That’s not the way our constitution was constructed,” he said. “It’s the people of Wisconsin that have the power.”
Evers said his administration is in the process of seeking volunteers to staff the commission. He said DOA Secretary Joel Brennan would be responsible for finding money to fund the commission but said he didn’t believe it would be “extraordinarily expensive.”
“It’ll be sure the hell cheaper than what went on last time,” he said, referencing a protracted legal battle over the constitutionality of the last set of maps drawn in 2011.
But with Republicans expected back in the majority after the upcoming elections, many at the Capitol are anticipating another court battle before new lines are in place.