The Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission is taking public comment after releasing its proposed draft maps for seven metro Detroit Michigan House seats. And Gov. Whitmer proposed a new budget this week for the state’s next fiscal year. MichMash host Cheyna Roth and Gongwer’s Zach Gorchow spoke with Gongwer’s Ben Solis to unpack the proposed budget and potential redrawn maps.
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In this episode:
- The proposed budget Gov. Whitmer presented for the next fiscal year
- The MIRC and whether their proposed maps are complying with the U.S. Voting Rights Act
- The federal courts possibly taking over the redrawing of district lines.
The budget itself was for $80.7 billion for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. Gorchow says overall it was more of a restrained budget compared to the previous year.
“There weren’t these gigantic increases in new programs that we saw in the last few years as a result of the huge run-up in federal aid from COVID; as a result of the big run-up in state revenues,” Gorchow said. “But there is still a lot of increases in this budget, and it is most definitely not a reversion to the pre-pandemic budget that was $58 billion.”
The Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission (MIRC) was tasked with redrawing the House districts after a federal court found the old maps were predominantly drawn based on race, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
The body submitted nine potential district maps as a whole, with a 10th map released by a single member of the commission independently. Solis says the maps are in the court’s possession now and are going to a public comment period for feedback from the community.
Still, there’s a chance the courts could take over the entire process because of infighting within the commission. Solis says the commission has been mired in chaos, with three commissioners resigning in the past year.
“I don’t believe the three-judge panel had a lot of confidence that [the commission] could get this done. So in order to ensure that they would have a map that worked and on time, they did appoint a special master to start drawing an alternative house map,” Solis said.
That option is still on the table if the court doesn’t approve of the proposed maps.
More from WDET:
- Deadline looming for Redistricting Commission to fix Detroit districts
- Whitmer calls for public safety, education funding boosts in budget plan
- Redistricting commission hears Voting Rights Act report, approves plan for new map submissions
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