LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – Senate Bill 728 clarifies the Open Meetings Act to state that the Michigan Citizens Redistricting Commission cannot meet in a closed session.
Senator Ed McBroom of the 38th district which covers 12 of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties sponsored SB 728 and said he did so because the Michigan Citizens Redistricting Committee used the Open Meetings Act to justify meeting in a closed session.
“The Open Meetings Act was established in the 70s to make sure that our government whether its at the state level or at a local level functions in an open way that guarantees citizens the right to view what their government is doing,” said McBroom. “It includes only a few narrowly tailored exceptions for when the council or commission or committee can meet in closed session and that’s usually to handle issues with personnel who’ve requested a closed meeting or with litigation and that was not the case for the independent citizens redistricting commission but for them they have the additional burden of constitutional amendment prescribing that their meetings should be in the open so it was really shocking to everybody when they started to say the open meetings act was their pattern for doing this and so I introduced the bill to make it very clear that this is not the place and any lawsuit that were to come, any judge that were to come and say the law is pretty clear this is not your source of authority for going into closed session.”
SB 728 states that the Independent Citizens Redistricting committee cannot use the Open Meetings Act as justification for meeting in a closed session and will be applicable for any future redistricting committee as well. McBroom says the bill passed unanimously in the Senate and with all but two votes in the House of Representatives.
“It was widely accepted as good policy from both sides of the aisle and from the governor and from the attorney general for that matter as well,” said McBroom.
Senate bill 728 amends 1976 PA 267 titled “An act to require certain meetings of certain public bodies to be open to the public; to require notice and the keeping of minutes of meetings; to provide for enforcement; to provide for invalidation of governmental decisions under certain circumstances; to provide penalties; and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts,” by amending Section 8 (MCL 15.268), as amended by 2021 PA 31. The amendment is as follows:
(2) This act does not permit the independent citizens redistricting commission to meet in closed session for any purpose. As used in this subsection, “independent citizens redistricting commission” means the independent citizens redistricting commission for state legislative and congressional districts created in section 6 of article IV of the state constitution of 1963.SB 728