The House Elections committee has posted a hearing for next week on House Bill 4814 (Albert). This bill would limit all local governments to only being able to offer a millage question on the November General Election date. Originally scheduled to be brought up tomorrow morning, the chairman subsequently agreed to postpone consideration for a week. This bill is now scheduled to be up in front of the committee on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 10:30 am. League staff will be testifying in opposition to the bill at this hearing.
We have been informed that alternate language is being considered that would allow millage questions on any August or November election, as opposed to the original version limiting these questions to November even-year elections. Even with such a change, we remain opposed to any further restriction on election access. Election consolidation already establishes three specific dates annually that are available for ballot questions and election law limits a local unit from bringing a question back in front of the voters repeatedly. This proposal is drafted to take effect immediately (any millage question after 12/31/17), disrupting plans for May elections or renewals that are already in process and jeopardizing funding for key local programs and operations. Limiting when these questions can be considered by local voters also ignores the existing expiration and scheduling of current local millages and will only serve to lengthen ballots for no legitimate public purpose.
Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and firstname.lastname@example.org.