The Michigan House of Representatives passed a new district map late Tuesday in a 65-42 vote that calls for the division of the Grosse Pointes from one district into two.
The re-drawing of the district map is something legislators do every 10 years to maintain equal representation by elected officials and generally follows trends of the U.S. Census, which is what determines the population for any particular area.
Under the new districts, , and Harper Woods will be combined with a significant portion of Detroit from Warren Avenue and east of Gratiot. That area would be the new District 1.
Meanwhile, , the and will be included with a significant portion of Detroit outlined by Conner Street, Gratiot and Warren avenues. That portion would be District 2.
Representative Tim Bledsoe, who currently represents these areas, fears the split would compromise the representation of the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods—an area that is technically six municipalities but very much one community.
The area is unique in that it's a community with a high quality school system in an upscale area that also has environmental concerns related to Lake St. Clair and interests that vary from much of Detroit, Bledsoe said Wednesday.
The possibility of not having a Grosse Pointer in the House of Representatives is disastrous for a community, that in the larger picture is "a fairly small community," he said.
Redrawing the maps and moving them through the legislature has been a speedy process thus far, Bledsoe said, noting the legislators legal Nov. 1 deadline. "It's a little puzzling why it's moving with such speed," Bledsoe said.
The redrawn map came out of committee Tuesday and a second and third reading happened the same day—generally not the standard practice for bill passage. Normally there is at least one day between a bill coming out of committee and the third, final reading, Bledsoe said.
The Michigan Senate passed a redrawn map earlier this month. The completed map with the new districts for both the Senate and House of Representatives has been sent back to the Senate for passage. The Senate, Bledsoe said, could either pass the proposal as it is and then it will go to the Governor's desk to be signed into law, or the Senate could alter the map again.
Bledsoe said the changes in the districts could become law as soon as Thursday.
According to a press release by Bledsoe, his current district lost four percent of its population according to the 2010 U.S. Census data, which means he would only need to add a few hundred people to the district to even out the representation.
To further complicate the situation, both Bledsoe and Rep. Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, of Detroit, live in what could be the future District 2, according to Bledsoe's press release.
The Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods would remain one district for both the state senate and for congressional representation but be divided for the state House of Representatives—potentially diluting the voice of Grosse Pointers.