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Politics & Government

Petition bill introduced amid controversy over Legislature’s "adopt and amend" move

The Michigan State Capitol
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Michigan Capitol in Lansing

Republican lawmakers in Lansing have been criticized lately, because they adopted two ballot proposals in September on minimum wage and paid sick time – and then passed bills to significantly change those measures.

It’s left some to wonder how fair our ballot initiative process is. One lawmaker has introduced a bill that he says will increase transparency and accountability in the ballot petition process.

Petition circulators in Michigan are not legally obligated to tell you the truth about what is in the ballot measure you’re putting your name on.

The bill would change that, and if a petition circulator is dishonest about the measure, the signatures would be invalidated. 

Representative Jim Lower (R-Cedar Lake) is a bill sponsor.

“There’s been these protests and people are saying that these petitions represent the will of the people – I don’t necessarily agree with that if people who sign them are being lied to or don’t really even know what they do,” he says.

But the bill doesn’t address the ability of the Legislature to adopt and amend proposals.

Representative Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) says he likes some ideas in the bill – so much so he introduced them more than a year ago.

“That’s just how Lansing goes. That good ideas are tabled for a long time in favor of a poorly written, majority proposal at the last minute,” he says.

The bill is currently waiting for a committee hearing.

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