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Fri June 17, 2011
Redistricting in Michigan: new political maps from the Michigan Legislature
Update: 4:45 p.m.
The Michigan Senate Republicans weigh in to defend their redistricting plan for the Michigan legislature. Amber McCann is the press secretary. She says:
"We're seeing the population density that was once more concentrated in southeast Michigan is moving broader across the state. I think Michigan has been thought of traditionally as a one-city state. I think we're seeing that is no longer the case."
McCann says the Legislature's GOP leaders would like to have the new district maps adopted and sent to Gov. Rick Snyder before July 1st. That's the beginning of the Legislature's summer break. State Rep. Barb Byrum (D-67th) says that time frame is too fast.
Update 3:37 p.m.
U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-12th) held a news conference today at 3:00 p.m. He said the proposed changes are unfair and hopes they will be challenged in court:
There are so many problems with these maps, they’re so unfair, outrageous that I trust it will be challenged in court.
Voters should be able to choose their members of Congress and what this map does is allow incumbent Republicans to choose their voters, and so I think it’s exactly backwards.
Update 2:47 p.m.
Two U.S. Representatives from Michigan, Sander Levin (D-12th) and Gary Peters (D-9th), say the Michigan House Republicans gerrymandered their districts.
Michigan House Republicans released their proposed map for Michigan's Congressional districts this afternoon. Because the state lost population, Michigan had to lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republicans are in control of the redistricting process and they chose to eliminate a district by moving Rep. Sander Levin into the district now held by Rep. Gary Peters.
Levin and Peters released a joint statement regarding the proposed map and are holding a press conference at 3 p.m.
Here's their statement:
“Voters in Michigan have never before faced such a shamelessly partisan redrawing of congressional boundaries. Instead of drawing fair lines that follow community and county borders in a logical way, the Republican legislature has drafted a map so skewed that it exploits every trick in the book to gerrymander districts in ways that benefit Republican incumbents. The Legislature and Gov. Snyder should reject this gerrymandered map and draw congressional boundaries in a way that puts Michigan voters’ interests squarely ahead of flagrant partisan advantage."
Update 1:52 p.m.
Republicans in the Michigan Legislature have released their proposed maps for new Michigan House and Senate districts, and new districts for the U.S. House of Representatives.
You can scroll through before and after maps in the images above.
The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta points out that approval of these maps is like approval of a bill. Both the Michigan House and Senate will have to approve them, and then Gov. Snyder will have to sign off on them.
The maps also have to adhere to state and federal laws and preserve two of Michigan's majority-minority districts for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Because of the loss in population in Michigan, the state will lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives - going from 15 representatives to 14.
As expected, the proposed districts would move U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak), into the district now held by U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township) meaning if they both wanted to keep their seat in the U.S. House, the would have to run against each other in the Democratic primary.
The Detroit News' Karen Bouffard reports:
Dramatic changes are in store for Wayne County under a state legislative redistricting plan unveiled today by House Republicans.
The state's most populous county will lose one seat in the state House, and another seat will shift so that just a small part of it is in the county. Wayne County now has 23 seats in the House, but would have 21 under the new plan.
Nine Detroit Democrats will find themselves running against each other in four primary elections. In three of those contests, two incumbent Democrats will vie to keep their seats. The remaining contest will pit three incumbent Democrats against each other.
Macomb and Oakland Counties each pick up an additional House seat.
Today, the Michigan Senate and House are expected to release plans for redistricting in the state.
The Republicans in the Michigan Legislature have been working on maps that will change political boundaries for the Michigan House and Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
We'll post that information as soon as we have it.
In the meantime, the Detroit News says it's received a map that shows the proposed Michigan Senate districts.
Paul Egan of the Detroit News reports "and for the first time, no Senate district would be wholly contained within the boundaries of the city of Detroit, meaning it would be possible to have a Michigan Legislature with no Detroit senators."
From The Detroit News:
A senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, confirmed the map is the official Senate map scheduled to be released later today. The adviser said they "represent months of diligent work by the Senate Redistricting Committee and are born of a fair, legal and constitutional process."
Democrats, who are also expected to release proposed map today, have complained they have been shut out of the process. Similar complaints have been voiced by public interest groups such as Common Cause Michigan.
Lawmakers have until Nov. 1 to pass redistricting laws, but Republicans say they want to finish work before breaking for the summer on July 1.
More context added: A reader wrote to say that my previous post gave the impression that Detroit would not be represented in the Michigan Senate under the proposed redistricting changes. The entire quote from Paul Egan of the Detroit News was added to provide more context.