Michigan’s State Board of Canvassers voted not to certify an initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage for placement on this November’s election ballot.

The group Raise Michigan turned in 318,425 signatures on petitions, needing 258,088 to be verified as those of registered voters in the Wolverine State.  The group just edged over that goal under the scrutiny of the Secretary of State’s office with 259,756 verified signatures, just 1,578 more than necessary.

By a 3-1 vote, the state Board of Canvassers failed to certify a petition that would put the issue of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour on the November ballot.

Three members — Chairwoman Colleen Pero and Norm Shinkle, both Republican appointees, and Jeannette Bradshaw, a Democratic appointee — voted against certification because they said it fell about 3,900 signatures short of the required number to qualify for the ballot.

That determination came after a challenge to the petition, which was turned in Wednesday — the deadline for challenges was July 11 — found enough duplicate signatures in the petition to knock it off the ballot.

A pro-hunting coalition on Tuesday turned in 374,000 petition signatures to protect Michigan’s ability to have more gray wolf hunts, proposing a law to override two November ballot issues intended to stop wolf hunting.

Once the measure backed by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management is certified — the group needs 258,000 valid signatures — the Republican-led Legislature will have 40 days while in session to vote.

If lawmakers approve it, the November ballot issues would become moot. If legislators do not vote, voters will see three wolf-hunting related proposals in November.

Read More: here

Advocates of raising Michigan’s minimum wage pushed back Tuesday on a competing Republican bill to raise the wage, calling the measure “trickery” and saying it would silence voters.

Representatives of the Raise Michigan coalition said a bill introduced last week by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, would undermine their push to have voters decide whether to raise the minimum wage from $7.40 to $10.10 by 2017 through a ballot initiative. The campaign has collected more than the 258,000 signatures needed for a measure to appear on the November ballot to amend current law, spokeswoman Danielle Atkinson said.


Read More: here

It all happened in a single day. Substitute language was stuffed into House Bill 5152 to effectively repeal Michigan’s requirement that those who circulate initiative and referendum petitions be residents of the state. Later that same day, HB-5152 passed the House and then the state Senate, too.

It’s now Public Act No. 94.

What possessed Michigan legislators to act so deliberately to rectify a law long at odds with the First amendment rights of citizens to petition their government?

Today, attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Michigan filed suit in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of Citizens in Charge and others to overturn the state’s residency requirement as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment rights of Michigan citizens and also a violation of the right of non-residents to be treated equally in employment opportunities in the state.

The lawsuit also seeks either a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of Michigan’s residency law while its ultimate fate is being fully determined in this court proceeding.

In 270 days – come Election Day 2014 – it’s not just candidates you’ll be voting for, there are likely to be plenty of ballot questions, too. And, much like 2012, when there were half a dozen ballot questions, we might just see a repeat of Ballot-o-palooza.

Ballot questions can sometimes get people who might not be super-invested in voting for a candidate to actually get out and vote for a particular issue. For example, 2004, when a slew of anti-gay marriage ballot proposals may very well have helped George W. Bush win reelection.

Read More: here

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved circulation of an initiative constitutional amendment to ease rules for petitioning in Michigan. The sponsors of the proposal, a group called Put the Citizens in Charge, have until July 7 to collect 322,000 valid signatures in order for the measure to appear on the ballot this November.

Reducing costs is at the heart of the issue.

“One of the biggest complaints people have about the initiative process is you have to have a lot of money involved,” Scott Tillman of Put the Citizens in Charge told Gongwer News Service.

The proposal also would allow the signatures of more voters to count on petitions, signatures that otherwise might be eliminated due to trivial errors.

Changing to a part-time Legislature in Michigan could appear on the November ballot if a group supporting the issue is able to gather about 400,000 signatures by July 7.

The Committee to Restore a Part-Time Legislature submitted petition language to the state Board of Canvassers last week to transform the Legislature from full-time to part-time status. The board will take up the petition Thursday

Under the proposal, the Legislature would meet for 60 days and the pay for lawmakers would be reduced from $71,685 to $35,000 a year.

Read More: here

With Michigan’s first-ever wolf hunt well underway, a new coalition of conservationists and sportsmen is seeking to protect future hunts from a planned voter referendum.

A group calling itself Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management on Tuesday announced plans to launch a petition drive for citizen-initiated legislation that would affirm the Michigan Natural Resource Commissions’ ability to designate game species and issue fisheries orders.

Read More: here

Last week, the Michigan legislature approved a measure that prevents women from using their private insurance plans to cover abortion services, even in cases of rape and incest. The legislation, widely decried as a “rape insurance” bill, incited fierce debate. One Democratic lawmaker shared her personal story of sexual assault on the floor, pointing out that women shouldn’t be required to purchase a separate insurance rider in case they become pregnant from rape at some point in the future. Nonetheless, the bill passed along mostly party lines.

Michigan voters are seeking to correct a flaw in the state’s referendum laws. Ferndale, Michigan-based Voters for Fair Use of Ballot Referendum are launching their drive to collect signatures on a petition to alter the Wolverine State’s constitution, removing a roadblock in the referendum petition process.

As it currently stands, Michigan law prevents referendums on statutes that contain appropriations. Last fall, Michigan’s controversial right-to-work law purposely added an appropriations in order to block citizens from exercising their right to the “People’s Veto”.

A group plans to start collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would let Michigan voters repeal laws made referendum-proof with appropriations.

Ferndale-based Voters for Fair Use of Ballot Referendum plan to kick off its signature gathering at Detroit-area post offices on Thursday. Backers need nearly 323,000 valid signatures to put the constitutional amendment on the November 2014 ballot.

Read more: Here

Rep. Eileen KOWALL (R-White Lake) says her bill targets “bipartisan abuse” of the state’s ballot petition process, and this afternoon, her measure got a hearing before the House Elections and Ethics Committee.

HB 4046 would ban individuals from being paid a fixed rate for each petition signature they obtain and would require paid petition gatherers to wear identification badges.

While there was no vote on  HB 4046 today, the committee took testimony, and the committee’s chairwoman, Rep. Lisa LYONS (R-Alto), said she’s certainly interested in the subject.

Kowall’s bill would apply to petitions for a constitutional amendment, the initiation of legislation and referendum of legislation, according to the House Fiscal Agency.

Michigan’s Constitution allows citizens to initiate legislation and also repeal existing Public Acts by gathering a required amount of signatures within a prescribed time frame and putting the proposed legislation (or rejection of current legislation) on a statewide ballot for a vote of the people.

Citizens are also allowed to amend the Michigan Constitution in a similar manner. The required signatures for each effort are based on a percentage of the total votes cast for governor in the preceding election. In 2012 there were six ballot proposals put before voters through this process.

Read more at the Voice of Small Business Blog