Senate Democrats Push for Redistricting Overhaul
Legislation Would Create Independent Commission to Lead Efforts
Lansing - Senate Democrats announced today that they will be introducing legislation this week to create an independent commission that would lead the state’s redistricting process and ensure that the public has a voice in it. Currently the legislature has the authority to develop and finalize district maps in a partisan fashion without any involvement from citizens.
“Redistricting is one of the most critical functions of our democracy and it deserves to be done outside of the politics that occur within our legislature,” said Senator Steve Bieda (D – Warren). “I ask my Republican colleagues and Governor Snyder to avoid merely protecting incumbents and instead support our efforts to show Michigan’s citizens that their right to fair representation is not clouded by partisanship and political games.”
The legislation would create a commission made up of 9 members; 4 appointed by Republicans, 4 by Democrats, and 1 appointed by the nonpartisan Auditor General.
The commission would be required to hold at least 6 public meetings around the state, develop a website, and post any redistricting plan 72 hours before taking a vote on it. 6 members must agree on a plan for it to be presented to the legislature for final approval.
Lobbyists, along with state and federal officials and employees, would be barred from serving on the commission, and commissioners could not run for the legislature for a period of 4 years after the effective date of the plan they worked on. Commissioners would be unpaid and could not accept gifts or loans from lobbyists, state and federal employees, or other organizations.
“District maps should not be drawn up behind closed doors and finalized before voters ever see them,” said Senator Vincent Gregory (D – Southfield). “This plan makes the redistricting process more transparent for our citizens and guarantees them an opportunity to be involved and voice their concerns.”
# # #