The following synopsis of the petition process is provided by Bridge Michigan. Michigan citizens can file a petition with the state government to:
· establish a new law
· repeal a newly-enacted law through a referendum or
· amend the state’s constitution
The number of valid signatures required for each petition type is based on the percentage of total votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.
The Bureau of Elections must review samples of signatures submitted and make recommendations to the Board of Canvassers. The Board of Canvassers must validate signatures for each petition.
If a legislative initiative successfully gathers just over 340,000 valid signatures, the proposed law goes to the Legislature, where lawmakers can take up the idea, create a separate proposal that would not impact the original plan or ignore it, sending the proposed law to voters in the form of a ballot question. But if lawmakers do approve the proposal, it is not subject to a veto: It just becomes law. Constitutional amendments go onto the general election ballot, as will referendum petitions. Laws that are targeted for repeal are suspended pending the outcome of the election.
Is the method that allows collecting signatures and getting legislative approval but bypassing a vote of the people or the governor’s signature good government? This is currently allowed by the state constitution. Governor Whitmer believes that this current system should be adjusted. If we believe in democracy, we too should be concerned!
STATUS OF PROPOSALS
On June 1, only one out of 10 legislative initiatives submitted signatures to the Secretary of State. Some petitions did not gather enough signatures, and others – even though organizers said they had enough signatures – decided not to turn them in as they were concerned that not all signatures would pass the Bureau’s checking or survive outside challenges. Instead, some are waiting to submit petitions, which would put the measures in front of the state legislature rather than Michigan voters.
Proposals aiming to amend the state’s Constitution, on the other hand, have until July 11 to turn in enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot. One initiative circumvented the signature gathering requirements by persuading the state Legislature to directly place the initiative on the ballot. PROMOTE THE VOTE 2022 AND REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM FOR ALL, are requesting a constitutional amendment, so there is still time to sign these petitions.
Proposals that will appear on the November ballot
This constitutional amendment proposal was voted to be placed on the November ballot on May 10, 2022, by the Michigan Legislature. It effectively allowed the bipartisan coalition to skip the signature gathering process.
If passed, this would amend the state constitution to reduce the maximum length a lawmaker can serve in the Legislature from 14 years to 12 years but would allow them to serve the full tenure in one chamber. Currently, lawmakers can serve up to six years in the Michigan House and eight years in the Senate. In addition, it would require state lawmakers, the governor, the secretary of state and the state attorney general to disclose certain financial information.
Michiganders for Fair Lending The proposal would establish a new law to cap interest rates for payday loans at 36 percent and allow the state attorney general to prosecute lenders who exceed that rate. The group has submitted 405,625 signatures. The Bureau of Elections will review random samples of those signatures and the Board of Canvassers will decide if the group has enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. After that, the state Legislature has 40 days to adopt the measure into law. If rejected or ignored by lawmakers, the measure would appear on the November ballot.
The other nine petitions
MLive has an extensive article on the status of the other nine petitions and why they did not submit signatures on June 1st. As reported in MLive, advocates of the following petitions are planning to focus on passing state legislation within the year: Unlock Michigan 2, Secure MI Vote and possibly Let MI Kids Learn and Raise the Wage MI.
Organizers for Secure MI Vote are delaying their submission by a couple weeks out of “an abundance of caution,” to pass the Bureau of Elections’ review and fend off challengers. By submitting later, the initiative would go before the Republican-majority legislature instead of voters. Lawmakers would have 40 session days to vote on it, and Whitmer cannot undo a passing vote with a veto. But, the Bureau of Elections, which is under a Democratic administration, can wait until 2024 to review the signatures
Petitions anticipated for the 2024 Ballot: Raise the Wage, if going to the legislature within the year is unsuccessful, Michigan Initiative for Community Healing and Yes on National Popular Vote.
What you can do
If you haven’t already signed PROMOTE THE VOTE 2022 and REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM FOR ALL, please review the events for scheduled signing events. There is still time to assure that these two measures are on the ballot in November. Please attend and bring friends and family to also sign.
Places to Sign Petitions:
The RFFA initiative needs help collecting 425,000 signatures by 5 pm July 11 in order to be put on the November ballot. Please find it and sign it. If you can please help collect signatures. See all Michigan locations HERE. If one near you is not listed please save this link and check it frequently. It is continually updating as new locations are posted.
Sign this Saturday. Look for a table or the clipboards at the Juneteenth Celebrations:
In Ypsi: Ypsilanti’s 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration Find the Voters Not Politicians table
in the parking lot behind Puffer Reds (11- 7:30 107 Ferris St.) Reproductive Rights will
be nearby. Official parking at 301 W. Michigan Ave.
In Ann Arbor with the NAACP: Wheeler Park, 200 Depot St., Saturday 12 pm to 6.
- Saturdays thru June 25, 9 am–1 pm
Ypsilanti Farmers Market. RSVP Here.16 S Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
- Saturdays thru June 25, 9 am–1 pm
Saline Farmers Market. RSVP Here.100 S Ann Arbor St (Lot #4) Saline, MI 48176
- Saturdays thru June 25, 8 am–noon
Please stay home if you are experiencing Covid symptoms. Wear masks, and respect others’ space. Masks and hand sanitizer available. 1–5 pm and 5:30–7 pm