In a marathon overnight session this week, the Michigan House voted 100-2 on a bill aiming to ban the Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Committee (MICRC) from meeting in a closed session for any purpose.
On Dec. 2, the Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 728. The bill moves to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk, whose office hasn’t responded to a request for comment about the legislation.
Several newspapers sued the Michigan Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Committee (MICRC), alleging the MICRC violated the state’s Constitution by hiding two memos from the public.
The Detroit News, Bridge Magazine, and the Detroit Free Press filed the suit in the Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday. The plaintiffs seek to obtain two memos discussed in an Oct. 27 closed-door meeting.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Committee (MICRC), charged with redrawing the state’s district boundaries based on 2020 U.S. Census data, has been riddled throughout its inaugural outing with blown deadlines and other missteps.
The most recent issue raising public concerns is the MICRC’s apparent lack of transparency, which was prompted by the committee eliminating four of its nine scheduled October public hearings. That means the committee will comply with the minimum number of five meetings called for in the state constitution, but canceling the four meetings will disappoint voters in Novi, Kalamazoo, Marquette and Warren. The five meetings not cancelled will be held in Detroit, Flint, Gaylord, Grand Rapids and Lansing.