Michigan voters will face at least three statewide ballot initiatives this year, and a slew of others may still yet be placed on the ballot.
Following a state Supreme Court order earlier this month to put a proposed repeal of Public Act (PA) 4 of 2011 on the Nov. 6 general election ballot (the new emergency financial manager law), the state Board of Canvassers has also ruled that voters should decide the following when they head to the polls:
• Whether utilities should be required to obtain at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources; and
• Whether the state should amend its Constitution to establish the Michigan Quality Home Council, provide certain information to consumers, require training of providers, and provide limited collective bargaining rights.
Yet another ballot proposal up for consideration by the state Board of Canvassers on Wednesday, Aug. 15 to create a constitutional right to unionize and collectively bargain failed to make it to the ballot when the board deadlocked in a 2-2 vote among the four-member body made up of two Democrats and two Republicans.
Protect Our Jobs, the committee pushing for the constitutional right to collectively bargain, filed a complaint in the state Court of Appeals and an application to bypass the matter to the state Supreme Court, although Marcia M. McBrien, public information officer for the State Court Administrative Office, said she did not know when or if the high court would act in that case.
But with the total number of statewide ballot initiatives up to three, still others remain in limbo, including one that would require voter approval of a new international trade crossing (Detroit/Windsor bridge) and one that would require either a two-thirds approval in both state legislative chambers, or a vote of the people in order to raise taxes or create new ones.
The state Board of Canvassers has until Sept. 7 to make that determination, one which would require verification of hundreds of thousands of voter signatures, a process which is ongoing, according to Fred Woodhams, spokesman for Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.
In addition, Citizens for More Michigan Jobs — the group pushing a measure to allow up to eight new casinos in Detroit, Clam Lake Township, DeWitt Township, Pontiac, Clinton Township, Birch Run Township, Grand Rapids, and Romulus — has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court seeking an overturning of a Michigan Court of Appeals directive to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office to not place to question before the voters in the Nov. 6 general election.
The appellate court determined that signature collectors for Citizens for More Michigan Jobs were using petitions that did not include a republication of the affected statutory language, which is required under state law.
A series of other statewide ballot measure petitions — including for the legalization of marijuana; the elimination of the state Senate and term limits for state lawmakers; a ban on collective bargaining for state employees; and a ban on the need to pay union dues as a condition of employment, among others — had been approved by the state Board of Canvassers “as to form,” but the committees backing their placement on the general election ballot had not turned in enough signatures prior to the deadline.