Trying to advance redistricting reform is an uphill battle at the Capitol. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos spoke to the issue during a recent meeting with the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board.
“The reason to have a public hearing is to build support for a bill, so that it ultimately gets a vote, and becomes a law,” Vos said. “I fundamentally disagree with the idea.”
Vos and Representative John Nygren argued that they get no constituent complaints about the current redistricting process. Democratic Senator Tim Cullen said Monday that redistricting is not a “visceral issue” – but that the current partisan process needs to be changed.
“We use the word gerrymander, but really what’s going on is the map’s been rigged,” said the Janesville Democrat. “It’s a way to steal elections.”
A bill from Cullen and Republican Senator Dale Schultz would put the process in the hands of a non-partisan agency, similar to what’s done in Iowa. The bill has never received a public hearing, but the two held a public meeting at the Capitol on Monday, and heard from Ed Cook with the Iowa Legislative Services Agency on how the process works there.
The senators’ proposal has drawn the support of editorial boards around Wisconsin, but Vos and Nygren said that support doesn’t extend out to people in their districts.
“Nobody cares,” Vos said. “I never hear it. Never,” said Nygren. “I hear it from newspapers. I don’t hear it from the public.”