Republican-Led Legislature Approves Governor’s Redistricting Maps

Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly have passed new legislative district lines that are identical to those drawn by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in their latest attempt to enact new maps before the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s liberal majority does it for them.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, introduced Evers’ maps as an amendment to a bill shortly after session began Tuesday. A memo from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau confirmed that maps voted on Tuesday are identical to what Evers submitted to the state Supreme Court as part of an ongoing redistricting lawsuit.

LeMahieu said Republicans decided to support the governor’s maps because “the writing was on the wall” in the Supreme Court redistricting case, arguing the court’s liberal majority hadn’t taken GOP arguments in the case seriously.

“Given the circumstance, the Legislature is faced with two choices,” LeMahieu said. “Either pass the governor’s maps as is or allow the liberal majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court to gerrymander the state at the very last minute without public input.”

Evers vetoed a previous version of his maps that were passed by the Legislature with changes to protect a handful of GOP incumbents. But the governor indicated during an interview with WISN-TV that if Republicans passed his maps unchanged, he would support them.

“If my maps are approved by the Legislature, of course I’d sign them,” Evers said.

Like other maps submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Evers’ plan would improve Democrats’ chances in future races for the Legislature — where right now, Republicans hold a 64-35 majority in the Assembly and a 22-10 majority in the Senate. Most of the maps submitted to the court would still give Republicans a slight edge but would likely move the Legislature closer to 50-50.