Voters across Michigan will face at least three statewide ballot proposals in just over three months, but that number could get as high as seven depending on what the state Supreme Court does as four more ballot committees seek approval to appear before the electorate during the Nov. 6 general election.
What’s known is that, aside from voting for presidential, congressional, state, county and local candidates in November, voters will also weight the fate of the following three ballot proposals certified for the general election ballot:
• Whether Public Act 4 of 2011, the state’s controversial expansion of powers for emergency financial managers, should be repealed;
• Whether the state should require that utilities obtain at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources; and
• Whether Michigan should establish the Michigan Quality Home Council, provide certain information to consumers, require training of home care providers, and provide limited collective bargaining rights to home care providers.
But four more ballot proposals are now under the consideration of the Michigan Supreme Court.
After all four ballot question committees went through somewhat different legal channels to get before the high court, all face similar scrutiny about meeting a constitutional requirement stating that the portion of the state constitution to be “altered or abrogated” by a constitutional amendment before the voters be republished on the petitions used for signature collection.
The Michigan Alliance for Prosperity is looking to place on the ballot a constitutional amendment that would prohibit new or additional taxes or an expansion of the tax base by the state unless approved by super-majorities (two-thirds) in both chambers of the state Legislature or by a statewide vote of the people.
On Monday, Aug. 27, the state Board of Canvassers voted 2-1 to place the measure on the ballot. However, because Michigan law requires that at least one member from each political party vote to place a ballot question before voters, and the two Board of Canvassers members voting in favor of placing it on the ballot were of the same political party, the proposed constitutional amendment was not certified for the Nov. 6 ballot.
Touted by Citizens for More Michigan Jobs, some are looking to place on the ballot a constitutional amendment to authorize the establishment of eight new casinos at specific locations in Detroit, Pontiac, Clam Lake Township, DeWitt Township, Clinton Township, Birch Run Township, Grand Rapids and Romulus.
Also before the state Supreme Court is a proposed ballot question that would amend the state constitution to require a vote of the people before the state could construct or finance a new international bridge or tunnel. The effort is in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s call for a new international trade crossing with Windsor.
Both Citizens for More Michigan Jobs and The People Should Decide, the ballot question committee pushing for a vote of the people on a new international trade crossing, received a 2-1 blessing from the state Board of Canvassers for their ballot questions to appear before voters, but like with the Michigan Alliance for Prosperity, the 2-1 vote was along party lines, meaning that neither proposed constitutional amendment was certified for the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
Finally, the state Supreme Court is also mulling whether to place a proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine the right to collectively bargain in the state constitution. Protect Our Jobs, the ballot committee pushing for the constitutional amendment, also faces the Supreme Court on the republication issue, among others.
Oral arguments in all four cases were heard last week, although Marcia McBrien, public information officer for the State Court Administrative Office, said determinations from the state’s high court were not expected prior to press time.