Politicians seeking to regain control over redistricting taking unconstitutional action, Voters Not Politicians proves
Legislation seeking to interfere with the new anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment approved Nov. 6 by 61 percent of voters conflicts with explicit language that is in the amendment and is therefore unconstitutional, Voters Not Politicians President Nancy Wang said today, in testimony before the Senate Government Operations committee.
“SB 1254 is unconstitutional on its face, is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and is a blatant, politically-motivated attempt by a group of unaccountable politicians to steal back control of redistricting from the new independent citizens commission,” Wang said.
“Politicians’ manipulation of the redistricting process has made Michigan one of the worst gerrymandered states in the country. Michigan voters have amended our state constitution specifically to take politicians and special interests out of the redistricting process and have our district lines drawn in a fair, impartial, and transparent way by an independent citizens commission,” she said. “Senate Bill 1254 and any other attempt by legislators – particularly during a lame duck session – to re-insert themselves into the redistricting process subverts the will of the voters, and is undemocratic. What’s more, these bills conflict with language in the amendment itself, which gives the Legislature zero control over the commission or redistricting in Michigan.”
Wang pointed out that because the amendment contains language that makes it legally self-executing, it does not need nor allow any legislation to take effect.
The new Article IV, Section 6, Subsection 20 of the state Constitution states that:
(20) THIS SECTION IS SELF-EXECUTING.
Section 22 states that:
(22) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS CONSTITUTION, OR ANY PRIOR JUDICIAL DECISION, AS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ADDING THIS PROVISION, WHICH AMENDS ARTICLE IV, SECTIONS 1 THROUGH 6, ARTICLE V, SECTIONS 1, 2 AND 4, AND ARTICLE VI, SECTIONS 1 AND 4, INCLUDING THIS PROVISION, FOR PURPOSES OF INTERPRETING THIS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THE PEOPLE DECLARE THAT THE POWERS GRANTED TO THE COMMISSION ARE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS NOT SUBJECT TO THE CONTROL OR APPROVAL OF THE LEGISLATURE, AND ARE EXCLUSIVELY RESERVED TO THE COMMISSION. THE COMMISSION, AND ALL OF ITS RESPONSIBILITIES, OPERATIONS,
That means the provisions of SB 1254 placing additional restrictions on the qualifications to be a commissioner are unconstitutional. And it means that these unaccountable politicians’ attempt to use the rulemaking process to restrict the authority granted to the Secretary of State and the Commission is also unconstitutional.
The legislation was passed out of committee by a 3-2 vote along party lines.
“This could not be more clear: ‘The powers granted to the commission are legislative functions not subject to the control or approval of the Legislature, and are exclusively reserved to the commission,’” Wang said. “We urge our elected officials to vote no on this unconstitutional legislation.”