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Politics & Government

Appeals court strikes down big parts of lame-duck petition law

person signing a petition while another holds a clipboard
Adobe Stock

A court says a state law makes it too hard for citizen-led petition drives to adopt new laws and amendments to the Michigan Constitution.

The law was adopted in 2018 by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

It was signed by then-Governor Rick Snyder not long before he left office. It imposed new restrictions on petition campaigns.

The appeals court says the law enacted too many barriers for citizen drives to bypass the Legislature or adopt amendments to the Michigan Constitution.

One of the new rules says no more than 15% of signatures could be collected from a single congressional district – and that any signatures beyond that that would be automatically tossed out.

The court says that’s unfair to voters who would otherwise be allowed to sign petitions and violates free speech rights in the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions.

The court also says signature collectors don’t have to say whether or not they are getting paid.

Republicans say they’re still deciding their next move. They could appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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