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Republican, Democratic oversight leaders ask for legal ruling on redistricting commission closed door meeting

Michigan Citizens Redistricting Commission
Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission

The bipartisan leadership of the state Senate Oversight Committee has sent a request for an official opinion from Attorney General Dana Nessel. It’s in response to a closed door session Wednesday by the commission that’s redrawing congressional and legislative district lines.

The two lawmakers want a decision on whether the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission violated the voter-approved amendment that created the panel.

Republican Senator Ed McBroom chairs the oversight committee. He said that non-public session created a messy situation that violated the letter and the intent of the amendment.

“So we’re hoping to get a ruling back so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again," he said. “I’m hoping the opinion will come back and share just what the Constitution says: That the commission does not have the authority to meet in closed session this way, and that will then keep them from doing so again in the future."

He was joined in the request by the oversight committee’s ranking Democrat, Senator Jeff Irwin.

“If she (Nessel) does weigh in, I hope it will be in favor of maximum transparency for this process and that the commission will be attentive to that,” he said.

A spokesman for the commission says its members did nothing wrong and the members were doing their jobs by checking in with attorneys on the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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