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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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  1. GOVERNMENT REFORM PROPOSAL Changing the rules of politics in Michigan to help Democrats

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Redistricting: Criteria • Focus on preserving county, city and township boundaries • NCEC and other studies show these criteria systematically biased against Democrats

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.”

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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)

  23. 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).

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. “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

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. Grand total • Petition drive $1,400,000 • Fall campaign $3,511,000 • Total $4,911,000

  33. 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

  34. Calendar • Dec. 2007 – Jan. 2008 • Petition drafting • By Feb. 1, 2008 • Petition drive begins • July 7, 2008 • Signatures due

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