Byrum Calls for Transparent, Nonpartisan Redistricting Process

Lawmaker: Reforms will bring more responsive, accountable Legislature
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Representative Barb Byrum (Onondaga) urges her colleagues to support her plan to reform Michigan’s redistricting process on the House Floor on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Byrum’s plan would bring more transparency and public participation to the redistricting process so that it draws legislative districts that provide fair representation for Michigan residents. The plan was not adopted by the House on a partisan vote of 45-63.

LANSING – Demanding less partisanship and more public input, State Representative Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga) today introduced a plan to reform Michigan’s redistricting process so that it is more transparent and draws legislative districts that provide fair representation for Michigan residents. Byrum’s plan was not adopted by the House on a partisan vote of 45-63.

“Our current redistricting process is flawed because it is driven by partisan agendas and it shortchanges our residents,” Byrum said. “These decisions are typically made in secret meetings hidden from the public eye so that they can favor the interests of those in power, not the interests of our residents. By involving the public in a transparent and open decision-making process, we can draw legislative districts that are fair and create the responsive and accountable representation that our residents deserve.”

Districts for the State Legislature and Congress are required by law to be redrawn every 10 years based on the results of the Census. The plan introduced today will:

  • Increase transparency by posting online all redistricting proposals and any communication House members and staff have with outside parties regarding redistricting.
  • Broaden public participation by soliciting redistricting proposals and input from Michigan residents.
  • Require at least six public hearings across the state to consider redistricting proposals, no less than 45 days after census data is released.
  • Prohibit redistricting proposals from being reported out of any legislative committee until at least 30 days after the final statewide hearing has taken place.

“The decisions involved in the redistricting process will have a long-lasting impact on our state,” said House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Township). “This should not be a partisan issue. It should be a transparent process that involves the public to ensure that we’re doing what’s best for our residents and for Michigan.”