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Letter: We need your help in calling for redistricting hearings

We need your help; call for redistricting reform

12:23 AM, Sep. 4, 2013  |  Comments
Call Rep. Tyler August at 608-266-1190 and Sen. Mary Lazich at 608-266-5400 to demand a public hearing on bill that would reform redistricting.
Call Rep. Tyler August at 608-266-1190 and Sen. Mary Lazich at 608-266-5400 to demand a public hearing on bill that would reform redistricting.
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EDITOR: The reasons we need to reform Wisconsin's redistricting process are many, yet the solution is simple: We must remove the power of redistricting from the hands of politicians.

As numerous media outlets have argued recently, by shifting redistricting authority to the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau, state taxpayers would save millions paid out to law firms arguing for and against the highly partisan maps created by the political majority in power after each decade's census population count. Last year's redistricting price tag is $1.9 million taxpayer dollars - and counting. Redistricting authority is simply too delicious a power to be given to politicians, who are inherently partisan.

For that reason and with the intent of returning to voters the constitutional right of picking their legislators, instead of the other way around, we have authored the redistricting reform bill, Assembly Bill 185. We've heard from many constituents of all different backgrounds and political affiliations from around the state that they want and demand this reform and it's past time they get it. This bill would create more competitive districts and put an end to the lawsuits.

The bill has yet to be granted a public hearing in front of the Committee on Government Operations and State Licensing, which it was referred to in early May. The entire summer has now passed and we're coming up on the fall legislative session, but no hearing has been called.

The people of Wisconsin deserve a public hearing so they may voice their support or opposition to this change.

We've sent letters asking for a hearing to Rep. Tyler August as well as Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. We now urge Wisconsin residents to contact August at 608-266-1190 and Sen. Mary Lazich, who presides over the committee overseeing the Senate's version of the bill, at 608-266-5400 to demand a public hearing on this important matter.

If the Republicans will not grant a public hearing on the redistricting reform bill, we would gladly debate any of them on the issue at an editorial board meeting, a town hall meeting or other public venue where residents can ask legislators directly why they do or do not support this bill and want the incredibly costly, highly partisan process to continue as it stands.

Rep. Mandy Wright; Rep. Eric Genrich; Rep. Melissa Sargent; Rep. Mandela Barnes; Rep. Dana Wachs; Rep. Evan Goyke; Rep. Tod Ohnstad

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