Myers joins Republicans in backing GOP redistricting bill

Assembly Republicans late Thursday approved moving Wisconsin to a new redistricting process long championed by Dems, who largely blasted the latest proposal as a disingenuous move by Speaker Robin Vos and his GOP colleagues.

Still, Rep. LaKeshia Myers, D-Milwaukee, joined Republicans in support of the bill, which cleared 64-32. She criticized her Dem colleagues for not trying to negotiate more with Republicans, saying she was disappointed by their “lack of engagement.”

Myers said while members of each district represent their 57,000 constituents, “as an African American member of this body, we have a different set of rules to play by.” 

“And let me also say: Black folks and Hispanic folks in the state of Wisconsin have been screwed by Democrats and Republicans equally, so we get to be friends with benefits with everybody,” Myers said. 

Myers was joined by fellow Milwaukee Dem Reps. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez and Marisabel Cabrera in supporting several GOP-authored amendments to the proposal. But Ortiz-Velez and Cabrera left ahead of the vote even as some GOP members yelled out to object before the Dems were granted leave. 

Vos, R-Rochester, unveiled the proposal to implement an Iowa-style redistricting system as he and his GOP colleagues faced blowback over talk of impeaching liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz if she hears redistricting suits now before the court. 

Republicans have argued Protasiewicz must recuse herself because of comments during the spring campaign that the current maps were “rigged” in favor of Republicans and the nearly $10 million she received from the state Dem Party. Meanwhile, the state Dem Party last week announced a $4 million effort to target Republicans over the possible move.

Vos offered the plan as an off-ramp to an expensive court process, arguing Dems were hypocrites for failing to embrace the proposal. 

Under the proposal, the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau would draw new lines that meet a variety of standards, including compactness, dividing as few political subdivisions as possible and having districts composed of “convenient contiguous territory.”

LRB would be prohibited from using data on an incumbent’s address, voters’ political affiliation and previous election results in drawing the maps.

After public input, the Legislature would vote on the map with the opportunity to make “corrective amendments.” If it failed, the LRB would draft a second map that again could only see corrective amendments. If that process was unsuccessful, LRB would then draft a third map that the Legislature could change as it sees fit.

While the Iowa approach has a deadline for the state Supreme Court to step in if no agreement is reached, the GOP plan includes no such deadline.

The chamber approved seven GOP members to the bill that leadership said were an attempt to appeal to Dems. That includes requiring a bipartisan vote to approve legislative maps, requiring a public hearing to be held in Milwaukee on proposed legislative maps and requiring all members of the redistricting advisory commission included in the bill to be present and vote on matters before the commission.

Vos argued that while Dems may think Protasiewicz will rule in their favor because she is “bought and paid for” by their party, “trust me, doesn’t always work out the way you plan.” 

Rep. Lee Snodgrass, D-Appleton, sought to refer the legislation, which she dubbed the “Vos-districting bill” — back to committee, accusing Republicans of a rushed process. 

That includes no public hearing on a bill that was drafted hours before it was unveiled on Tuesday, along with a series of amendments that included no input from Dems.

“In this outrageously rushed process, Mr. Speaker, you are effectively saying to the people of Wisconsin, ‘go to hell,’” the Appleton Dem said.

Dem Gov. Tony Evers, who has frequently called for moving Wisconsin to a system modeled after the process in Iowa, has called the Vos redistricting proposal “bogus” and a last-ditch effort by Republicans “to retain legislative control by having someone Legislature-picked and Legislature-approved draw Wisconsin’s maps.”

See the bill text.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site