November ballot issues could mean changes for Michigan residents

This November, Michigan residents will have the opportunity to cast their ballot on a number of ballot issues that will impact the future of Michigan.

This November, Michigan resident will vote not only to elect candidates from the local to national level, they will voice their opinion on a number of public policy issues.

Michigan State University Extension has prepared a bulletin that provides Michigan residents with non-partisan, objective information about all of the statewide ballot proposals. Download the free bulletin, GE49 “Statewide Ballot Proposals 2012” from the MSU Extension bookstore.

There are six issues on the ballot – more than any other election in the past 30 years! Five of the six ballot issues would amend the state constitution if approved. Following is a brief summary of the six ballot issues:

Proposal 12-1: A referendum on PA 4 of 2011 also known as the Emergency Manager Law
This referendum is asking residents to support or reject Public Act 4 (PA 4) which allows State-appointed officials to assess the financial conditions of local government units and school districts. A “yes” vote would allow PA 4 to remain in effect. PA 4 authorizes the state to enter into a local government-approved consent decree or permit the Governor to appoint an emergency manager (EM) upon finding a financial emergency. This allows the EM to act in place of the local government officials. The EM can develop financial and operating plans, which may include modification or termination of contracts, reorganization of government and determination of expenditures, services and use of assets until the emergency is resolved.

Proposal 12-2: A proposal to amend the State Constitution regarding collective bargaining
This proposal would provide the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions for both public and private employees. It would nullify existing or future laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements. It defines “employer” as any person or entity that employs one or more people. This proposal also prohibits laws that conflict with collective bargaining agreements relating to hours and /or conditions of employment.

Proposal 12-3: A proposal to amend the constitution to establish a standard for renewable energy
This proposal would require a minimum of 25 percent of annual retail electric sales be from renewable energy sources (i.e., wind, solar, biomass or hydropower) by 2025. It limits any annual rate increase to a maximum of one percent annually and this increase must be to achieve renewable energy compliance. Annual extension of the 25 percent goal may be granted to prevent increases of more one percent. The proposal requires the legislature to enact legislation to encourage the use of Michigan equipment sources and employment of Michigan residents.

Proposal 12-4: A proposal to amend the state constitution to establish the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and provide collective bargaining for in-home care workers
This proposal would allow collective bargaining of in-home care workers with the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and would require setting of minimum compensation standards and terms and conditions of employment. It stipulates the patient’s right to hire non-referred care workers who are bargaining members. It would require the council to provide training for workers, create a registry of workers who pass background checks and provide financial services to patients for in-home care cost management.

Proposal 12-5: A proposal to amend the State Constitution to limit the enactment of new taxes by State government
This proposal would require a 2/3 majority vote in both the State House and Senate, or a statewide vote in a November election, to enact any new or additional taxes on residents or expand the tax base or increase the rate. This proposal does not limit or modify other tax limitations in the constitution.

Proposal 12-6: A proposal to amend the State Constitution regarding the construction of international bridges and tunnels
This proposal would require a majority of voters in a statewide election and in each municipality where bridges or tunnels will be located to approve any expenditure of state funds or resources. These expenses include acquiring land, soliciting bids, designing, constructing, financing or promoting new international bridges or tunnels. “New international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles” would be defined as any bridge or tunnel that is not open and serving the public by January 1, 2012.

The Citizen Research Council has more detailed information on each ballot proposal. For a snapshot view of the Michigan general election ballot, see this article: “Prepare before heading to the polls.”

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