GOP proposes nonpartisan redistricting process, a plan Evers calls 'bogus'

NOW: GOP proposes nonpartisan redistricting process, a plan Evers calls ’bogus’

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Amidst impeachment calls by Republicans who believe the newest member of the state Supreme Court cannot be impartial, Assembly Republicans proposed the state move to a nonpartisan redistricting model to draw new electoral maps.

Within minutes of introducing the plan, Gov. Tony Evers quickly shot it down, calling it "bogus" and a "last-ditch effort" by Republicans "to retain legislative control by having someone Legislature-picked and Legislature-approved draw Wisconsin’s maps."

The bill unveiled Tuesday would create an alternative to enacting new maps instead of a costly legal battle before the state Supreme Court.

Under the proposal, nonpartisan staff would draw new maps by adopting an Iowa nonpartisan redistricting process.

After years of opposition to the idea, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is now supportive of it.

"My hope is for all of the people who have made promises they believe in the Iowa model and believe in nonpartisan redistricting, here is your chance to put your vote and support where your rhetoric has been the past 20 years," Vos said, referring to a 2019 Democratic proposal that would have required nonpartisan staff to draw maps without giving either party an edge in legislative races.

The effort would appease Republicans who have concerns liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz cannot be impartial on redistricting cases after she called the current maps "rigged."

The proposal also was introduced after Vos floated impeaching Protasiewicz if she didn't recuse herself from lawsuits challenging the legislative maps.

"Let's hope [impeachment] is not necessary," Vos said when asked if impeachment is off the table. "Assuming Gov. Evers signs it, we’re going to have new maps for 2024...assuming that occurs, there’s no need for a lawsuit…then obviously, there would be no need for impeachment."

With Gov. Evers unlikely to sign the proposal, the issue could soon be before the state's high court.

Vos first floated the idea of removing Protasiewicz last month after he suggested impeachment if she didn't step off cases challenging the state's electoral maps.

Republicans have taken issue with Protasiewicz calling the state's maps "unfair" and for accepting $10 million from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin during her campaign. Accepting campaign donations from political parties is something conservative and liberal candidates have both done over the years.

Talk of impeachment prompted liberals to launch a six-figure campaign ad targeting Vos and other Republicans who welcomed removing Protasiewicz.

The Republican Accountability Project released the 30-second ad Tuesday, which is in addition to a $4 million effort by the state Democratic Party to try and persuade Republicans to think twice about impeachment.

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