Redistricting map would put Roscoe and Rockton into new state districts


UPDATE: Three weeks before the fall “veto” session is scheduled to start, the Illinois House and Senate Democratic caucuses announced they are relaunching a congressional mapmaking portal that was live during the run-up to the state redistricting process. So congressional maps will be the big-ticket item for discussion during veto session.

Despite opposition from Republicans as well as reform groups, Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday, Sept. 24, signed into law the revised state legislative district maps that lawmakers passed in August.

And in Washington, since Illinois lost nearly 80,000 residents according to the 2020 census, the state will lose a seat in Congress - and experts say it's most likely to be District 16, which includes the Stateline region, a Republican stronghold. But that detail hasn't been decided yet.

The new state district maps, drawn by Democrats, are likely to be challenged in both state and federal court. But if the redistricting maps survive the challenges, by 2023 Roscoe and Rockton residents would likely find themselves with new state legislators, in new districts. 

Under the new state maps, northern Illinois would become part of Illinois Legislative District 90 and Illinois Senate District 45 instead. Currently, the Stateline region is represented by Joe Sosnowski in Illinois Legislative District 69 and Dave Syverson in Illinois Senate District 45. All four districts are currently represented by Republicans.

The new boundaries of Illinois Legislative District 90, currently represented by Tom Demmer, includes Roscoe, Rockton, South Beloit, Javon Bea Hospital, MercyHealth SportsScore One and Two, Durand, Freeport, and northwest Poplar Grove. A previous proposal would have put the Stateline region in District 89.

The new boundaries of Illinois Senate District 45, currently represented by Brian Stewart, would encompass Roscoe, Rockton, and South Beloit, and would extend west to the Mississippi River, including Oregon, Genoa, and Galena.

According to District 69's new boundaries, State Representative Joe Sosnowski, who currently represents Rockton and Roscoe, would represent Candlewick Lake, most of Caledonia and Poplar Grove, Harvard, Woodstock, Huntley, and part of Rockford, including his former employer Rockford Christian School. We previously reported that under an earlier version of the map, he would have continued to represent one block  of his current district (actually one house), on Joy Lane west of Atwood Road, in Hinkle's Wooded Acres. The Illinois redistricting committee did not respond to our request for an explanation, but the blip has been removed on the new map. 

According to District 35's new boundaries, State Senator Dave Syverson will no longer represent Rockton or Roscoe. Instead, his district will include Capron, Harvard, Marengo, Hinckley, Franks, Huntley, Sugar Grove, and the Sycamore half of Sycamore-Dekalb. In Rockford, his district would include the Klehm Arboretum, Mary's Market on Perryville, Cracker Barrel, Rockford Christian School, Hunter Park, Aldeen Golf Club, and the Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Golf Course,. But the map includes blips that exclude 5035 Guilford Road and 5585 Inverness Drive.

Winnebago County Republican Party Chairman Eli Nicolosi has announced that he will be running against Syverson next year. Syverson responded, "This is the people's seat and anyone can run for it."

Pritzker and many Democratic lawmakers have said they support a permanent nonpartisan commission to redraw maps every 10 years. But no such plan has gotten through the General Assembly.

“Governor Pritzker’s signing of the legislative maps sends a clear picture of the severity of his ‘retrograde amnesia’ and efforts to deceive Illinois citizens,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, said in a statement. “The governor now joins the multitude of Democratic legislators who lied to voters by campaigning for and promising ‘fair maps.’”

“Rarely do politicians get the chance to break a campaign promise twice,” said Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods. “I am deeply disappointed that Gov. Pritzker has turned his back on the many minority organizations that have asked him to protect their voting rights outlined in the constitution and Voting Rights Act by vetoing this gerrymandered map.”

State lawmakers initially adopted maps during the spring legislative session in order to meet the state constitution’s June 30 deadline, despite the fact that they didn’t yet have the official, detailed U.S. Census data needed to draw districts with nearly equal population. They knew that if they didn't meet the state constitution’s June 30 deadline, the task would be given to a bipartisan commission, where Republicans would have a 50-50 chance of gaining a partisan advantage.

Republican leaders, as well as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or MALDEF, quickly filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago arguing that they were unconstitutional because they were based on population estimates from survey data rather than official census numbers. 

When the official numbers finally came out in mid-August, they did in fact show that population variances between districts were far outside what is allowed under U.S. constitutional law, prompting Democratic leaders to call a special session to adjust the new maps. Republicans argue that since the adjusted maps were submitted well after the June 30 deadline, the bipartisan commission should have taken over the process, where a coin toss would literally decide which party gets the deciding vote. 

Democrats touted the mapmaking portal throughout the state legislative redistricting process as a transparency-focused tool, but ultimately the majority party ended up drawing the maps behind closed doors and advocacy groups bemoaned the difficulty in maneuvering the maps portal.

Congressional maps are expected to be approved during the “veto” session, which normally provides a window for lawmakers to consider overriding the governor’s vetoes any given year. But since lawmakers gaveled in for regular session when pursuing an energy bill earlier this year, there aren't any more veto overrides to be considered

Peter Hancock, Capitol News Illinois, contributed to this report. Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, including Rockton-Roscoe News. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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