Senate Week in Review: Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – A three-judge panel will soon decide whether Illinois Democrats’ legislative maps violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. The hearing for the McConchie v. Illinois State Board of Elections court case is set to be under way next week.

Additionally, Gov. JB Pritzker recently signed Illinois’ congressional district maps, making this the fourth time the Governor has broken his promise that he would veto any map drawn by politicians.

And ahead of the holidays, be sure to check out the 2021 Safe Shopping Guide as well as holiday safety tips from the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal.

Hearing set in case against Illinois Democrats’ legislative maps

A three-judge federal court panel will begin hearing oral arguments next week in the McConchie v. Illinois State Board of Elections case, which argues that Illinois Democrats’ legislative redistricting maps violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The plaintiffs, Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin along with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, say that the maps signed by Gov. Pritzker in September underrepresent minority groups. Despite the growth in the Latino population in Illinois, the September maps actually reduce the number of districts in which Latinos make up a majority of the voting-age population.

Last month, Illinois Republicans were asked to file their proposed remedy with the court. Their remedial maps fix the flaws in the Democrats’ politician-drawn maps by creating more districts with minority voting-age populations above 50 percent that will better provide voters the ability to elect candidates of their choice.

The plaintiffs’ introduced map, created by the Republicans’ legal redistricting team – not incumbent politicians – included:

  • 11 Latino Citizen Voting-Age Population (CVAP) House districts compared to only 4 Latino CVAP House Districts introduced in the Democrats’ second map;
  • 5 Latino CVAP Senate Districts compared to only 2 Latino CVAP Senate Districts introduced in the Democrats’ second map; and
  • 1 additional CVAP African American House District in the Metro East.

Next week’s hearing comes after the three-judge panel already ruled the initial map drawn by Democrats and signed by Gov. Pritzker unconstitutional as it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Oral arguments in the McConchie v. Illinois State Board of Elections, where Democrats will have to defend their second set of politically-drawn maps, are set to begin on Dec. 7, 2021.

Pritzker signs gerrymandered congressional map

Gov. Pritzker broke his campaign promise yet again last week when he signed legislation redrawing Illinois’ congressional district maps. In 2019, Pritzker campaigned that he would veto any map drawn by politicians. Last week’s signing marks the fourth time he went back on his word to the people of Illinois.

In fact, according to several news stories, as well as an admission from the House Speaker’s office, Gov. Pritzker’s office was directly involved in drafting the new congressional maps with lawmakers.

State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says one thing has become clear throughout the remapping process this year – Gov. Pritzker and his allies have no interest in doing what is best for the people of Illinois. The Governor already broke his pledge to voters when he signed two state legislative maps and one Supreme Court map into law. Now he has signed yet another gerrymandered, politician-drawn map, Tracy added.

Recalled children’s items outlined in 2021 Shopping Guide

Before making purchases this holiday season, check out the Attorney General’s 2021 Safe Shopping Guide, which highlights hazardous toys, children’s products and clothing items that have been recalled during the past year.

This year, the Safe Shopping Guide highlights more than 50 recalls issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Descriptions of the children’s products are accompanied by photographs to make hazardous products easier to identify. Descriptions also include actions families can take if they already have any of these products in their homes.

Click here to view the 2021 Safe Shopping Guide.

Holiday safety tips

As Illinoisans get into the festive spirit by decorating their homes, the Illinois State Fire Marshal has some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Make sure decorations are either flame-retardant or flame-resistant.
  • Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from decorations or anything that can catch fire.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Check to make sure holiday lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use, or both.
  • Replace any light strands that have worn or broken cords. Make sure to read the recommendation for number of light strings that can be strung together.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure to check water levels daily! It is not unusual for a tree to absorb two gallons of water the first day it is in the stand.
  • Keep real Christmas trees away from a heat source. It can dry out the tree quickly.
Jil Tracy

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