|Case Forum:||United States District Court (Eastern District)|
|Keywords:||PA 269, campaign finance, local ballot proposals, free speech, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Equal Protection Clause|
1. Michigan Association of Counties (MAC)
It appears that public officials are restrained from discussing—verbally, in writing, or electronically—through mass communications any ballot measure within 60 days of the election, if the communication would involve the expenditure of public funds. Unfortunately, Section 57(3) is so poorly written that public officials do not know, for example, if they can respond to a question from the public regarding a pending ballot proposal at a televised public meeting. If the public official is being paid to attend the meeting or if the meeting space or equipment are paid for by public funds, arguably “public funds” are being used for a “person acting for a
U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara accepted an agreement between the Secretary of State’s office and local governments and school groups, permanently enjoining Secretary of State Ruth Johnson from enforcing PA 269.
O’Meara’s order references his previous temporary injunction against enforcement of the law, saying that the local governments had “demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that (the law) is unconstitutionally vague and thus void.”
|MSC requested LDF amicus brief?||No|
Michigan’s legislature added an amendment to a campaign finance bill to prevent local public officials from using public resources to communicate regarding local ballot measures within 60 days of an election. 2015 PA 269 (“PA 269”).