If you were out enjoying the weather over the last couple of months, chances are you were met by someone carrying any number of clipboards tryng to get you to sign a petition to place a issue on the November ballot.
And the clipboard holders wound up being very successful. When all was said and done, signatures for six constitutional amendments and one referendum were submitted. If all make the ballot, it will be the most proposals before voters since 1982 when seven also appeared on the ballot. The six constitutional amendments matches the six voters faced in 1980.
Those proposals that submitted signatures would 1) require a 2/3 legislative vote or a vote of the people on tax increases, 2) require statewide voter approval of new international border crossings, 3) ensure that the state’s home help workers can unionize, 4) establish a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2025, 5) guarantee collective bargaining rights in the constitution, 6) approve eight new casinos, and 7) get rid of PA 4, commonly known as the Emergency Manager Law. The fate of the PA 4 measure making it to the ballot is now in the courts.
Of all those turned in, the League is particularly studying the proposal that would require a 2/3 majority vote in the Michigan House and Senate or a statewide public of approval to raise taxes. The proposal was sponsored by the “Michigan Alliance for Prosperity”. The group was just formed in April, so there is little information on who it really is or its donors.
Other interest groups are expressing concern with the sheer number of proposals. One, “Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution” recently issued a statement deriding “attempts by narrow special interests to hijack our constitution”.
The State Board of Canvassers, the body responsible for certifying the petitions for the ballot, will be setting its schedule shortly. Stay tuned as to which of these will actually make it to the November election.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.