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Redistricting committee awaits funding bill while facing lawsuits

A sign points out a Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission meeting in Midland.
Brett Dahlberg

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission has begun its new fiscal year with no funding.

The commission is responsible for drawing electoral maps for state races. It's also facing two outstanding federal lawsuits, Banerian v. Benson and Agee v. Benson, that question the constitutionality of state senatorial, congressional, and house maps.

Attorney Nate Fink, who represents the commission, said employees working on these cases are not being compensated for their labor due to their lack of funding.

"It's attorneys, the commission itself, and any supporting staff. They can't provide payments to any of these folks currently because they're operating without funds,” he said.

According to the Michigan Constitution, the state is obligated to fund the commission’s legal work.

“The legislature shall provide adequate funding to allow the commission to defend any action regarding an adopted plan,” the constitution reads.

The commission has requested that their $1.5 million leftover funds from the previous year be carried over to pay for their legal needs. The request was brought out of committee and into the full Senate on Tuesday.

Emily is a junior at the University of Michigan double majoring in Communications and Creative Writing.
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