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GOVERNMENT REFORM PROPOSAL. Changing the rules of politics in Michigan to help Democrats. The problem: A historical view. Democrats have not controlled the entire State Legislature in 25 years

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GOVERNMENT REFORM PROPOSAL

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Government reform proposal

GOVERNMENT REFORM PROPOSAL

Changing the rules of politics in Michigan to help Democrats


The problem a historical view

The problem: A historical view

  • Democrats have not controlled the entire State Legislature in 25 years

  • Democrats have never controlled the Governor, Senate and House when redistricting has occurred in the modern one person/one vote era, 1965-present

  • Since World War II (62 years), Democrats have controlled the Governor, Senate and House simultaneously for one year: 1983


The result

Theresult

  • Democrats have been reduced to a de-facto permanent legislative minority in Lansing, especially since 1990

  • Democratic constituencies -- women, minorities, labor, consumers, the poor and environmentalists -- have little voice in the Legislature on issues such as:

    • Tort law: Kreiner

    • Campaign finance reform

    • Health care reform

    • Civil rights

    • Canadian trash

    • Etc.


The problem redistricting

The problem: Redistricting

  • Redistricting: Definition

    • The process by which legislative district lines are drawn for 10 years

    • In 2002, this process was controlled by Republicans and led to a gerrymandered reapportionment plan that favored Republicans

    • The next redistricting happens in 2011-12 and will be in effect for 2012-2021


Redistricting process

Redistricting: Process

  • Must control Governor, Senate, House and Supreme Court to control the process as MIGOP did in 2001-02; Democrats have never controlled all four simultaneously in a redistricting year

  • Control of Supreme Court most important: Court can overturn redistricting done by the other three


Redistricting criteria

Redistricting: Criteria

  • Focus on preserving county, city and township boundaries

  • NCEC and other studies show these criteria systematically biased against Democrats


The problem democrats unlikely to control redistricting in 2011 12

The problem: Democrats unlikely to control redistricting in 2011-12

  • 2010 elections will use the Senate and House districts gerrymandered against Democrats in 2002

  • Many legislative Democrats in marginal districts term limited out in 2010

  • Mid-term election: Democratic turnout lower

  • Continuing political fallout of 2007 Democratic tax increase votes

  • Governor’s seat is open in 2010

  • Democrats must defeat two of three incumbent GOP Justices up for re-election in 2008 and 2010 at $10 million per election in the face of ballot incumbency designation; an incumbent Justice has not been defeated since 1984


Controlling redistricting by typical elections

Controlling redistricting by typical elections

  • Controlling redistricting in 2011 by winning Governor, Senate, House and Supreme Court (or even just the Supreme Court) is an extremely expensive and very long shot proposition


The problem 2010 and beyond

The problem: 2010 and beyond

  • Without significant reform of legislative redistricting and the Supreme Court before 2010, the historical pattern will continue

  • Michigan Democrats likely will not control Michigan State Government during 2012-2021

  • GOP control of Governor, Senate and House is more likely than Democratic controlin 2010-2020; another “Engler era” quite possible

  • Harm to Democratic constituencies will continue: labor and tort “reform,” erosion of civil rights and environmental protections, budget cuts, privatization


Redistricting reform in 2008 or 2010

Redistricting reform in 2008 or 2010?

  • Redistricting reform by itself will not be approved by the voters

  • As failed ballot proposals during 2005 in California and Ohio demonstrate, redistricting reform by itself is very difficult to enact: complex topic, issue becomes partisan

  • To succeed, redistricting reform must be a small part of a larger, popular state government reform proposal


The path to change the political rules streamline state government

The path to change the political rules: Streamline state government

  • In 2008, use the public’s very negative mood and high level of discouragement about state government (the worst in 25 years) to enact a ballot proposal which comprehensively reforms state government, including changing the structural obstacles to Democratic control of state government in 2012-2021


Research

Research

  • Focus groups

  • Polling

  • Ballot testing

    • Affordable way test a specific ballot proposal by giving voters the actual ballot language and re-create the voting process as faithfully as possible


The bleak mood of michigan

The bleak mood of Michigan

  • Based on nine focus groups and two statewide polls from May-October 2007 performed by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner:

    • 82% believe Michigan on “wrong track”

      • Highest wrong track in 27 years of polling

    • 12% approval of legislative job performance

    • 25% approval of governor’s job performance

    • 66% oppose recent tax increases


Quinlan environment is ripe

Quinlan: environment is ripe

  • “The current environment in Michigan is ripe for enacting major reforms to the state government.”

  • “…voters express broad support for a package of reforms to all three branches of the government and the electoral process.”

  • “They support these reforms because they make government more accountable for its actions and get government back to focusing on the most important problems.”

  • “Voters react very favorably when introduced to the proposed ballot initiative. In the focus groups, about three-quarters of participants say they would vote for it, and similarly, respondents in the survey begin with nearly four-to-one support, 77 to 20 percent.”


Reforming the legislative branch

Reforming the Legislative Branch

  • Legislators’ benefits after leaving office to be the same as retired state employees

  • Stop the revolving door between the Legislature and lobbying with one- or two-year lobbying ban

  • Require annual public disclosure of income and assets by all legislators

  • Reduce legislative salaries by 25 percent – back to 2002 levels


Reforming the legislative branch1

Reforming the Legislative Branch

  • Reduce the Senate from 38 to 28 and the House from 110 to 82

  • Redistricting done once per decade by a nine-person nonpartisan commission

    • Commission must create equal number of Democratic and Republican leaning districts, while also creating swing districts

    • No judicial appeals


Reforming the judicial branch

Reforming the Judicial Branch

  • Judicial benefits after leaving office to be the same as retired state employees

  • Reduce judicial salaries by 25 percent

  • Toughen disciplinary and conflict of interest requirements

  • Require annual public disclosure of income and assets for all judges and justices


Reforming the judicial branch1

Reforming the Judicial Branch

  • Add 10 judges to the lower courts

  • Reduce the number of Supreme Court Justices from seven to five; two GOP Justices eliminated

  • Reduce the Court of Appeals from 28 to 20 judges, most of them Engler appointees


Reforming the executive branch

Reforming the Executive Branch

  • Benefits after leaving office for the four statewide elected officials to be the same as retired state employees

  • Reduce the salaries of the four statewide elected officials by 25 percent

  • Stop the revolving door between the executive branch and lobbying

  • Require annual public disclosure of income and assets for the four statewide elected officials


Reforming the executive branch1

Reforming the Executive Branch

  • Reduce the constitutional cap on the number of state government departments from 20 to 18

  • Reduce the number (250+) of state boards and commissions to 200


Election reforms

Election reforms

  • Make the Bureau of Elections independent of partisanship

  • Allow no-reason absentee voting.

  • Require post-election audits of election procedures

  • Require paper trails for all voting systems

  • Ban election official campaign role(s)

  • Enact anti-fraud measures

  • Prohibit illegal immigrants from registering and voting


Quinlan analysis of ballot proposal

Quinlan Analysis of Ballot Proposal

  • Disclosure, reduced salaries and benefits are the most well-received proposals

  • Overwhelmingly, voters are favorable toward some of the changes affecting judges, statewide elected officials, and legislators:

    • Annually disclose income and assets (66 percent strongly support, 83 percent total support)

    • Reduce health care benefits after leaving office (59 percent strongly support, 76 percent total support)

    • Reduce their salaries by 25 percent (57 percent strongly support, 76 percent total support)


Quinlan analysis of ballot proposal1

Quinlan Analysis of Ballot Proposal

  • Voters feel that they’ve suffered a lot in this economic recession, and that the government should share in their burden.

  • Voters are also supportive of reducing the number of state boards and commissions from 250 to 200 (52 percent strongly support, 80 percent support).


Keep but reduce both houses

Keep but reduce both houses

  • Reducing both houses is the most favorable way to cut the Legislature

  • Voters have reservations about a unicameral Legislature

  • Dramatic change with no foreseeable benefits

  • Also reservations on part-time legislature

    • Voters want a legislature that is working overtime to help move the state in a better direction, not one that is scaled back in its commitment to the state

  • The survey confirms that voters are generally favorable to reducing both houses, and attacks that it would create political mayhem generate just mild concerns


Legislative redistricting

Legislativeredistricting

  • Voters initially favored the redistricting reforms, 75-22

  • Maintained majority support even after a series of tough attacks based on illegal immigration, cost and implementation

  • The key to its passage is packaging it with the other very popular reforms


Term limits taint entire proposal

Term limits taint entire proposal

  • Voters do not favor expanding term limits

  • Including a term limits repeal or revision could tank the reform proposal

    • 60 percent of voters say expanding term limits to 12 years in each house would make them less likely to vote for the proposal

    • Only 33 percent said expansion of term limits would make them more likely to vote for the proposal


Reorganizing the courts

“Reorganizing” thecourts

  • One half of those surveyed heard the judicial cuts as originally proposed (cuts only)

    • Cutting Supreme Court: 50 percent favor, 40 percent oppose

    • Cutting Court of Appeals: 58 percent favor, 31 percent oppose

  • Other half heard an alternative plan to reorganize the number of judges at each level (cut Appellate and Supreme Court while adding local judges)

    • Reorganizing courts: 70 percent favor, 20 percent oppose

  • This preference for an adjustment in the courts instead of cuts fits with the core of this proposal: making the government more accountable and focused on the state’s priorities


Executive changes well received

Executivechangeswell-received

  • Voters react favorably to the proposed cuts to the executive branch.

    • 52 percent of voters say that they strongly favor reducing the number of state boards and commissions from 250 to 200

    • 45 percent say they strongly favor reducing the number of state government departments from 20 to 18.


Election reforms1

Electionreforms

  • Election reforms are popular, according to polling from 2005-06

  • Can pass as part of a package

  • However, allowing registration on Election Day or within 30 days of an election jeopardizes the proposal

  • Anti-fraud and illegal immigrant provisions added to preempt attacks


Budget petition drive

Budget: Petition drive

  • 500,000 Signatures $1,250,000

    • (10% of 2006 gubernatorial vote + 25% cushion)

    • x $2.50/signature

    • (includes printing)

  • Legal $150,000

    • Drafting petition

    • Board of Canvassers

    • Litigation

    • @ $300/hr. x 500 hrs.)

  • Staff supervision of petition drive MDP in-kind

  • Compliance MDP in-kind

  • Petition total: $1,400,000


Budget fall campaign

Budget: Fall campaign

  • Media (3 weeks statewide TV) $2,500,000

  • Phone-mail-phone (targeted @ women) $475,000

  • Literature (1,000,000 x $0.10) $100,000

  • Polling (1 baseline and 3 trackers) $55,000

  • Administration (office, computers, phones, etc.) $40,000

  • Compliance MDP in-kind

  • Legal ($350/hr. x 100 hrs.) $35,000

  • Staff$306,000

    • Director (8 months @ $7,000/mo.) $56,000

    • Deputy Director (6 mos. @ $6,000/mo.) $36,000

    • Communications Director (8 mos. @ $5,500/mo.) $44,000

    • Press Secretary (6 mos. @ $5,000/mo.) $30,000

    • Fundraisers (2 for 6 mos. @ $5,000/mo.) $60,000

    • Volunteer Coordinator (4 mos. @ $4,000/mo.) $16,000

    • Taxes $27,000

    • Health Insurance ($500/mo.) $22,000

    • Mileage $15,000

  • Campaign total: $3,511,000


Grand total

Grand total

  • Petition drive $1,400,000

  • Fall campaign $3,511,000

  • Total $4,911,000


Budget analysis

Budget analysis

  • Less than half the cost of trying to beat an incumbent GOP Supreme Court Justice

  • More is spent every four years trying to win the House and Senate, usually unsuccessfully

  • Less than half the cost of a presidential election year Coordinated Campaign

  • If the proposal passes, it will reduce the cost and increase the prospects of winning the State Legislature every cycle


Calendar

Calendar

  • Dec. 2007 – Jan. 2008

    • Petition drafting

  • By Feb. 1, 2008

    • Petition drive begins

  • July 7, 2008

    • Signatures due


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