Feb 5, 2008

Ballot questions could swamp November ballot

It appears the November ballot will be crowded with numerous ballot proposals that range from the popular to bordering on the ridiculous.

On Monday the Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved the language for form for six ballot proposals. That’s in addition to two that were approved in December and one that has already collected enough signatures to go on the ballot to bring the number to nine possible ballot proposals facing voters on Nov. 4.

The four-person partisan board approved the petitions for language only, and that allows the committees to begin collecting signatures. The language is good for 180 days, and petitioners have 90 days between when the first and last signatures are gathered to turn the petitions in to the Secretary of State.

Those petitions approved Monday include The Michigan Fair Tax Proposal Committee, which is proposing to replace three of the state's major taxes with a 9.75 percent sales tax. It would replace the state income tax, the new Michigan Business Tax and the state personal and real taxes on business property for school funding. The current sales tax is 6 percent. The ballot committee has planned a series of press conferences around the state on February 12 to pass out petitions, and they will be held in Pontiac, Flint, Lansing and Wyoming.

The Stem Cell Research Committee is pushing a proposal that would allow the use of stem cells from donated human embryos less than 14 days old. The embryos would have to have been created for "fertility treatment" and would otherwise have been discarded. The person seeking the fertility treatment would have to give written consent for the embryos to be used for research.

The Proportional Senate Committee would expand the Senate to 50 members at-large statewide instead of having Senators representing districts, with each having a vote proportional to the popular vote each received during the election.

The Personal Education Account Committee would require lawmakers to provide every child with "funding to support education on a per pupil basis which shall be controlled by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of each child respectively."

The Committee to Turn Michigan Around would require that legislative sessions end by May 31 each year, with no more than 100 regular session days. The governor, Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House could call a special session each year of no more than 15 days.

The People's Choice Tax Repeal had language approved Monday after being rejected in December. It would amend the state constitution to mandate an election if the Legislature creates a new tax, continues a tax, reduces a tax deduction or tax credit, or increases the effective rate or base of tax.

Those petitions approved in December include Madison Heights-based Health Care for Michigan that would amend the state constitution to require the Legislature to pass laws to ensure that "every Michigan resident has affordable and comprehensive health care coverage through a fair and cost-effective financing system."

Saginaw-based Part-Time Legislature Ballot Question Committee was also approved in December. It calls for a part-time Legislature; calls for cutting the salaries of lawmakers from $79,650 to $40,000 a year with a 1 percent deduction for each day absent; eliminates post-service pensions, retirement benefits, medical or life insurance; sets the legislative session from March to July; limits special sessions to just 20 days per year and requires the governor to submit a budget within the first three days of session.

The Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care has already collected enough signatures to place the question on the ballot to allow the medical marijuana.

No comments: