MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order Monday creating a nonpartisan commission to draw new legislative maps next year for the Legislature to consider, a move Republicans have rejected as a sham.
Evers, a Democrat, was joined by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Democratic lawmakers and other supporters of redistricting reform for the signing at his Capitol office. Evers supports taking the power to redistrict away from the Legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.
The new commission Evers created is charged with drawing maps, but the power to approve maps as given under the Wisconsin Constitution remains with the Legislature. Republicans control the Legislature and if they maintain those majorities following the November election, as expected, they will be charged with passing new maps next year following completion of the census.
Evers has the power to veto or sign the maps into law. If the fight over maps goes to court for resolution, supporters of the new commission say having alternative maps drawn by a nonpartisan commission will bolster legal arguments against whatever the Legislature passes. Evers said creating the commission will put pressure on the Legislature to pass less partisan maps.