November 17, 2023 at 2:10 p.m.
Gerrymandering is terribly destructive to our form of government, whether you call it a Democracy or a Republic. 57 Wisconsin counties have passed either a resolution, a referendum, or both, to adopt nonpartisan redistricting. Wisconsin now has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to adopt a nonpartisan plan, given the uncertainty about who will control future redistricting.
AB 415 is crucial legislation that calls for district lines to be drawn by the nonpartisan and highly respected Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB). When AB 415 was first introduced, there were several flaws. The authors, including Representative Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville), said they would accept amendments, and they demonstrated their sincerity by accepting seven important amendments. Two amendments improved transparency, and amendment 5 eliminated the authority of the legislature to amend any LRB plan.
The bill as amended and passed by the Assembly is now in the hands of the Senate elections committee, which is chaired by Senator Knodl (R-Germantown). They held a five-hour public hearing on October 19. I have proposed additional amendments for their consideration. These amendments would improve transparency, reduce ambiguity, and refine the role of the LRB.
Delve deeper into the specifics of AB 415 by reviewing resources at tinyurl.com/billAB415. It has links to the amended bill, proposed amendments, the materials from the public hearing, and two recent memos from the Legislative Council.
If this bill becomes law, the LRB will draw new lines that will be in place for the 2024 legislative elections.