Governor Scott Walker has signed new congressional and legislative redistricting maps for the state, putting his signature on the plans less than hour before the deadline for him to take action. The Governor acted on the bills in private, with his office releasing only a statement noting the maps meet the objective criteria laid out by the courts.
The last three times Wisconsin has drawn new maps, they were decided in the courts because of split control of the Legislature. Republicans hold majorities in both houses right now, so they were able to advance their own proposals through the normal legislative process.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) called the Governor’s action a “blatant partisan power grab” and says it shows Walker has zero interest in uniting Wisconsin. Democrats had been calling on Walker to veto the maps, arguing that they are designed to help Republicans hold on to the majority for the next decade.
Barca is also criticizing the Governor’s decision to sign the bills at the end of a day where many people are focused on recall elections taking place in six state Senate districts across Wisconsin. The Kenosha Democrat says the move was clearly designed to hide Walker’s actions aimed at maintaining a “Republican monopoly on power” in Wisconsin and dodging accountability for his actions.
If Governor Walker had failed to sign the bills, they would have still taken effect without his signature. The last time a Wisconsin governor allowed a law to be enacted that way was in 1993, when former Governor Tommy Thompson did not sign a bill creating tougher OWI penalties.