The secretary of state would remain involved in the redistricting process, acting as a nonvoting secretary of the commission and providing technical assistance. The commission, however, will be responsible for its own internal operations and “has sole power to make its own rules of procedure.”
Under Proposal 2, the Legislature would have to appropriate funds for the commission by Dec. 1 of the year preceding a U.S. census. These funds must be “sufficient to compensate the commissioners and to enable the commission to carry out its functions, operations and activities” and may not be less than 25 percent of the general fund budget spent on the secretary of state that fiscal year. This would amount to about $4.6 million, based on these figures for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Each of the 13 commissioners would be paid no less than 25 percent of the governor’s salary, which in 2018-19 would amount to $39,825.[*] The legislatively appropriated funds could be used by the redistricting commission to hire staff, consultants and legal counsel and retain “independent, nonpartisan subject-matter experts.”[†]
Proposal 2 also would add language to the Michigan Constitution to ensure that the commission has enough resources to carry out its function. For instance, the commission is explicitly granted the right to sue the Legislature “regarding the adequacy of resources provided for the operation of the commission.” The state would also indemnify the 13 commissioners for any costs they incur “if the Legislature does not appropriate sufficient funds.”
All of the commission’s business must be conducted in open meetings, with advance notice published publicly. The commission would have to conduct its business in a manner that complies with Michigan’s Open Meetings Act of 1976. This law requires certain public bodies to make their meetings open to the public and host them in a publicly available space. Attendees can record and broadcast the meeting, and all decisions of the public body must be made at an open meeting.
To establish a quorum at a meeting and conduct business, at least nine commissioners must be present. But these nine must include at least one commissioner from each of the three groups: one who affiliates with one of the two major parties, one who affiliates with the other and one who affiliates with neither.
[*] The governor’s salary is recommended by the Michigan State Officers Compensation Commission and approved by the Legislature. In fiscal 2018-19, it was $159,300. Mich Const Art. XII, § 12; https://perma.cc/FA6Q-33RS
[†] It’s not clear who will determine or how it will be determined that these experts meet these qualifications.