You are hereGovernor signs "Republican Power Grab" bill into law

Governor signs "Republican Power Grab" bill into law

By Frank Houston, OCDP Chair
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Today, Governor Snyder signed House Bill 5187 into law; retroactively changing the rules of redistricting for just Oakland County.

“Today is a sad day for more than just Oakland County voters or Democrats, but for people everywhere who care about the rule of law and the separation of powers that the Constitution calls for,” said Frank Houston, Chairman of the Oakland County Apportionment Commission, and Chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party.

“Mr. Snyder apparently has decided to be ‘the Governor who stole democracy’ this holiday season. It is outrageous that Governor Snyder signed this Republican power grab bill into law; in-effect changing redistricting, retroactively just for Oakland County.”

The “Republican Power-Grab Bill,” will overturn the redistricting plan for Oakland County that was enacted last May by the bipartisan Apportionment Commission – and upheld by a unanimous decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals on November 16 th– and require the Republican controlled Oakland County Commission to draw the own districts they will be running in as well as reduce the number of Commissioners to 21.

“With Governor Snyder’s signature, he’s proven that he has no interest in letting a little thing called the Constitution get in his way of giving absolute power to the Republican Party in Michigan,” said Oakland County Commissioner David Woodward (D – Royal Oak). “Despite his rhetoric of bringing better days to Michigan, his actions are mirroring the despicable tactics of Russia’s Vladamir Putin by trying to undermine democracy.”

House Bill 5187 requires Oakland County’s Board of County Commissioners to serve as the Apportionment Commission; in fact drawing the districts they hope to represent. The Bill also requires the reduction of County Commission districts from 25 to 21 or less. Oakland County will be required to comply with the new redistricting law before the May filing deadline.

The State Senate did not allow any public comment before sending the Bill to the Governor’s desk on a 20-17 vote last week. Members of the NAACP and others have expressed concern that through requiring Oakland County to reduce the number County Commissioners, Majority-Minority districts – Districts that have a majority of voters who are African-Americans – communities of color may see decreased representation.

“Make no mistake, House Bill 5187 is going to reduce the representation of underrepresented people and communities across Oakland County,” stated Oakland County Commissioner Mattie McKinney Hatchett (D – Pontiac). “I am troubled that Republican politicians in Lansing are telling just Oakland County how many County Commissioners we can have.”

According to various redistricting and legal experts, as well as Democratic officials, a lawsuit is likely imminent in the coming weeks.

“Republicans who pushed for, voted for and now have signed this Bill into law, have no respect for voters, elections, or our courts,” Houston concluded. “I’m tired of Republicans like Governor Snyder and Newt Gingrich, saying they love our country and then given the opportunity, will tear apart the Constitution that they have sworn to protect in the pursuit of political power.”