Redistricting panel ordered to show meeting details, memos

December 20, 2021 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court on Monday ordered the state’s new redistricting commission to release a recording of a closed October meeting as well as certain documents sought by news organizations.

The 4-3 decision, with a Democratic justice joining three Republicans, was a test of whether a commission creating maps for the Legislature and Congress violated a law requiring it to conduct its business in public.

The commission had argued that attorney-client privilege should give it privacy over the Oct. 27 meeting. The court’s majority, however, noted that there was no litigation pending at the time.

“Indeed, allowing the simple prospect of litigation to shield the commission’s discussions on how to make a map would threaten to swallow the open-meeting requirement altogether,” Justice David Viviano wrote.

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Voters in 2018 created the commission through an amendment to the state constitution, taking the job of mapmaking out of the hands of politicians. More than 130 hearings have been open to the public.

The commission will meet Dec. 28 to vote on final maps. There are four U.S. House options, three state House options and three state Senate options that were collaboratively drawn.

The lawsuit was filed by The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, The Center for Michigan Inc./Bridge Michigan and the Michigan Press Association.

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