Near the end of his 35-minute State of the State speech on Wednesday night, Gov. Tony Evers looked into the gallery and asked a Merrill-area man to stand.
“In 2017, Hans, who is a dairy farmer and Lincoln County board supervisor, introduced a resolution supporting nonpartisan redistricting, kicking off a trend across our state,” Evers said.
A moment later, Evers announced he would form a nonpartisan redistricting commission to draw new legislative maps after this year’s census is complete.
“Our nonpartisan redistricting commission will consist of the people of our state--not elected officials, not lobbyists, not high-paid consultants,” Evers said. “The People’s Maps Commission will visit every congressional district, hear directly from folks across our state, and draw fair, impartial maps for the Legislature to take up next year.”
Currently, the maps are drawn by the legislature’s majority party, leaving them open to claims of unfairness by the minority party.
Instead, Evers’ new commission will present its nonpartisan maps to lawmakers for their approval.
“They’re either going to embrace these maps [or not]. If they don’t embrace maps that were drawn the way they should be drawn, then they’ll have to explain why they’re not embracing them,” said Breitenmoser in an interview Thursday. “I think it’s a very good step in the right direction.”
More than two-thirds of Wisconsin’s counties have passed resolutions asking for a fairer map-drawing process.
“When The People’s Maps are presented to the Legislature next year, I hope they will receive unanimous, bipartisan support,” said Evers.
“In order to get quality leadership in Madison, we need fair maps. We need maps that are drawn the way they’re supposed to be drawn, which is to say, out in the open,” Breitenmoser said.
Democrats gave the plan a loud standing ovation, while Republicans were mostly silent.