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Signature gathering to begin soon on petition to change lobbying rules

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A state board has taken a step that clears the way for a petition campaign to move ahead. 

The Board of State Canvassers approved 100 words to summarize a sweeping 8,489 word proposed amendment to the state Constitution. The amendment would outlaw lobbyist gifts to state elected officials and create a two-year waiting period before those officials can become paid lobbyists.

Lonnie Scott with Progress Michigan says the petition campaign is ready to go.

“As soon as we can get some printed, we will hold a kickoff event and have volunteers out on the streets as fast as we can,” he says. “We’re eager to get started. I mean, I know it’s cold out, but from my perspective, too, it would be great to have some in folks’ hands by primary day, when there’s lots of people in line.”

Michigan’s presidential primary will take place on March 10. 

Scott says he expects the campaign to have signature-gathering wrapped up in time to qualify for the November ballot.  The board action certifies the petition forms are technically correct. It does not preclude a legal challenge based on the substance of the proposal.

Here's the 100-word petition summary of the proposed amendment as approved by the Board of State Canvassers:

A proposal to amend the Michigan Constitution by adding Article 3, Section 9 to prohibit lobbyists and clients from giving gifts to state government public officials and their immediate families; prohibit the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Members of the Michigan Legislature from working for lobbyists for 2 years after leaving office; prohibit lobbyist compensation contingent on the result of lobbying; require lobbyists and public officials to disclose all attempts to influence official actions of public officials; require any person to disclose public communications encouraging others to influence official actions of public officials; and require Secretary of State implementation.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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