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GOP Trying Massive Retroactive Power Grab


By Mark Brewer, Chair, Michigan Democratic Party
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Today in the Michigan State House Republicans are expected to push through legislation (House Bill 5187) that changes Michigan county redistricting law to allow just one county to redo their redistricting process – Oakland.

The objective – to allow the Republican controlled Oakland County Commission to choose the voters they want for elections for the next 10 years. In the last 50 years of redistricting in Michigan, never has a County Commission been allowed to draw their own districts; let alone retroactively.

For decades, over 500 county apportionment plans in our State have gone through a time-tested process that have always allowed for court challenges without this law ever being changed.

So why now? Why after the time and money spent on drafting plans? Why after a court challenge has been heard and upheld Oakland County’s plan?

The current process empowers a five-person Apportionment Commission to draft redistricting plans, subject to the review and appeal of the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. In Oakland County, Democrats for the first time have a majority of that five-person body.

So why? Because partisan minions of Republican County Executive L. Brooks Patterson for the first time don’t have the final say on the redistricting plan for Oakland County. Even the bill’s sponsor – Representative Bradford Jacobson – has admitted that the purpose of this bill is to help the Republican’s retain control of the County Commission.

This attempt by L. Brooks Patterson to RETROACTIVELY CHANGE THE REDISTRICITING PLAN FOR POLITICAL GAIN makes this potentially the most outrageous partisan overreach our State has ever seen.

The ends the Republicans are going to - the circumvention of the courts , which unanimously upheld the current plan adopted; the Lansing overreach mandating that just Oakland County has Commissioners draw their districts – shows how little they respect our laws, courts and voters.

Sadly, compared to the Republican approved gerrymanderd Congressional map, the Oakland County redistricting process was a shining example of transparency, and the final product was one of the most bi-partisan plans adopted in the state. The adopted plan is a combination of elements from Democratic and Republican proposed plans, and by all measures does not allow either Party a clear gerrymandered electoral victory in 2012 or beyond.

Please call any or all of the following Representatives and ask them to vote NO on House Bill 5187 and to reject the radical redistricting “reforms” that are being crafted for one person’s partisan political agenda – L. Brooks Patterson's.

You may contact 517-373-6339 and ask to be connected to any of the following:

  • Speaker of the House Jase Bolger
  • Rep. Bradford Jacobson (the sponsor)
  • Rep. Peggy Haines
  • Rep. Eilleen Kowall
  • Rep. Marty Knollenberg
  • Rep. Tom McMillin (voted for bill in Committee)
  • Rep. Jim Stamas (Committee Chair and Floor leader for the GOP)

Please join me in vigorously opposing blatant Republican power grab at our democracy’s expense.