The Michigan Supreme Court ruled last week that three previously challenged proposals will make the November ballot while a fourth, that would have authorized new casinos in the state, will not.
This decision brings the total number of approved ballot initiatives to six. This, in turn, is expected to increase voter turnout for the Presidential election in this important swing state.
The three proposals passed by the State Supreme Court include requiring a statewide vote for a publicly funded bridge to Canada, protecting collective bargaining rights by amending the state constitution, and requiring a two-thirds super majority if legislature wants to raise state taxes.
The state’s residents will also be voting on whether or not to retain the contentious Emergency Financial Manager Law.
Two final, certified proposal would amend the state’s constitution to protect the unionization of home health workers and another that would require higher renewable energy standards.
The proposal to allow eight new casinos in Michigan was shot down because of questions about petition language. Many observers believe the action was taken to ensure that proper legal steps concerning ballot initiatives are taken in the future.
The majority opinion was written by Justice Brian Zahra and joined by Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. and Justices Mary Beth Kelly and Stephen Markman. Justice Marilyn Kelly, joined by Justices Michael Cavanagh and Diane Hathaway, wrote a partial dissent, arguing that the casino proposal also met legal standards for amending the constitution.
The entire court embraced the right of citizens to amend the constitution by a petition drive as one that had been “consistently protected” for nearly a century. Backers of each of the proposals authorized for the ballot turned in the signatures of more than 400,000 registered voters.
Opponents had sought to bar the proposals from the ballot, arguing that their drafters had failed to include language identifying other sections of the constitution that would be affected by adoption, thereby leaving petition signers and potential voters in the dark about their implications….
…Today’s ruling could have far-reaching implications for future ballot initiatives, as the justices tried to spell out a clear set of guidelines for aspiring petitioners to follow.