GOP lawmakers plan to take up a redistricting plan before the end of the November floor period, according to their attorney.
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, in recent interviews with WisPolitics.com declined to commit to passing new lines for legislative and congressional districts before the fall floor period closes Nov. 11. LeMahieu said last week GOP leaders didn’t “necessarily have an artificial timeline right now.”
But in a filing with the state Supreme Court yesterday, their attorney Kevin St. John informed the justices lawmakers are “committed to acting on redistricting legislation with all deliberate speed.” He noted legislative leaders have set an Oct. 15 deadline for public input on new maps and the next available floor period to vote on a plan ends Nov. 11.
“Legislative leadership intends to take up a redistricting plan before the end of that floor period, depending on the public input it receives,” St. John wrote.
The disclosure was part of a series of filings from parties in the redistricting case now before the justices, who are seeking input on when new maps need to be in place.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission has said in separate federal proceedings it needs maps finalized by March 1 so it can implement them in time for candidates to begin circulating nomination papers April 15.
St. John wrote in his letter to the court that GOP lawmakers believe the deadline to have new lines in place is the end of April. He also asked the justices to issue an order declaring when they believe new maps need to be in place to adequately prepare for the 2022 elections, adding that would send a message to the federal courts that Wisconsin’s branches of government plan to fulfill their duty to create new maps.
Meanwhile, the state Elections Commission again stated it believes the lines must be in place by March 1.
If it doesn’t have 45 days to prepare for nomination papers to begin circulating April 15, “there is a significant risk that there will be errors in the statewide system and, in turn, less time for the Commission to correct those errors before circulation of nomination papers begins,” the commission’s attorney wrote.
The question before the justices on when new maps should be in place come as a federal three-judge panel is weighing the same issue. The panel yesterday stayed discovery in a federal redistricting suit until at least Nov. 5 to avoid interfering in the Wisconsin Supreme Court case. It ordered the parties to provide an update on the state suit by that date and reserved five days starting Jan. 31 for a trial, if necessary.
Some of the parties in that federal suit are seeking to intervene in the Wisconsin Supreme Court case and weighed in on possible deadlines as well.
The state’s five GOP House members, for example, said maps may be needed by Feb. 28 to avoid the federal court intervening in the dispute over new lines.
A group of Dem voters who filed one of the federal suits want a new redistricting plan in place by Jan. 24 to avoid interference with the possible start of a federal trial.
See the letter from GOP lawmakers:
See the Elections Commission letter:
See the House GOP letter: