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As deadline to pass constitutional amendment looms, Illinois lawmakers fear missed opportunity for redistricting reform

After years of unsuccessful legislative and citizen-led efforts to strip the General Assembly of the power to draw congressional and legislative district boundaries, the coronavirus shutdown appears to have doomed any chance of constitutional redistricting reform before the state’s maps are set for another decade.
Going into the spring legislative session, backers of change were hoping to make one more effort at getting something done before a looming deadline. In February, lawmakers filed identical state constitutional amendments in the Illinois House and Senate that would hand over the power to draw and approve district boundaries to an independent, citizen-led commission.
The amendment’s ratification would require a three-fifths majority in both legislative chambers as well as approval from Illinois voters. Legislators have until May 3 to put the amendment on November’s ballot, and the joint resolution’s sponsors admit that’s essentially impossible.
The General Assembly, which has not convened since early March, has canceled session days in Springfield until at least May 5.
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