Proposed U.S. House map (as drafted by the Michigan House GOP)
Proposed Michigan Senate map (as drafted by Michigan Senate GOP)
The public can now get a look at how the Legislature's Republican majorities want to re-draw state House, state Senate, and congressional districts to reflect population shifts over the past decade. The proposed maps reflect a geographic shift in political clout across the state.
Every two years, voters choose their legislators. But every 10 years, legislators - at least those in the majority party - get to choose their voters. The Legislature can redraw safer districts for lawmakers in swing seats and re-distribute voters to give one party an advantage in future elections.
The just-unveiled maps would put fewer seats in Congress and the Legislature in the city of Detroit and more in its suburbs. There would also be more legislative seats in the Republican turf of west Michigan.
"Michigan is in a unique situation, having lost a significant amount of population, especially in the city of Detroit," says Amber McCann, the press secretary for the state Senate Republicans.
"We're seeing the population density that was once more concentrated in southeast Michigan is moving broader across the state. I think Michigan has been thought of traditionally as a one-city state. I think we're seeing that is no longer the case," she says.
McCann says the goal is to have the new maps adopted and sent to Governor Rick Snyder by the end of the month. Democrats say that's too fast.
"The implications of having legislators pick who they represent rather than residents choosing who represents them is very concerning," says State Representative Barb Byrum, the ranking Democrat on the state House Redistricting and Elections Committee.
She says hearings should be conducted this summer around the state.