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Wednesday, June 13,2012

Seven proposals possible

by Kyle Melinn

Voters may need a separate ballot in November just to answer ballot petition questions. Seven viable movements are in the field or the court system with eyes on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The following is a rundown of where the various initiatives stand today, about a month away from the secretary of state’s July 9 deadline.

1. The New Emergency Manager Repeal Law

The public employee union, AFSCME, teamed up with Michigan Forward and others to repeal the state’s new emergency manager (EM) law, P.A. 4, which gives gubernatorial-appointed EMs the power to revoke a negotiated public employee union contract.

The Court of Appeals ruled the “P.A. 4 Repeal” folks didn’t use the required 14-point type, but there’s still a question about whether the font that was used is “good enough.” After a larger Court of Appeals panel looks into the question, the Supreme Court will likely get a crack at this, too.

The Republican-nominated majority has never been squeamish about rolling over precedent.

Chance of making the ballot: 25 percent

Chance of passage if on the ballot: 40 percent

2. Collective Bargaining Ballot Proposal

UAW President Bob King wants to put a stake through the heart of this Right to Work talk with a ballot proposal that guarantees collective bargaining rights and turns the clock back on several anti-union laws passed by the 2011-‘12 Republican-led Legislature.

It’s a high-risk, high-reward gamble that may also face a legal challenge based on the large number of state laws this constitutional amendment would repeal. The UAW, the Michigan Education Association and other unions will get the signatures they need to make the ballot.

But will some business outfit successfully argue that there is too much constitutional amending going on? The Supreme Court ruled that way with Reform Michigan Government Now in 2010. If it does make the ballot, Wisconsin proved how much more money the “no” side can bring to the table.

Chance of making the ballot: 70 percent

Chance of passage if on the ballot: 35 percent

3. Renewable Portfolio Standards

Renewable energy types want to constitutionally mandate that 25 percent of Michigan’s energy comes from wind, solar and other renewable sources from 2025. That’s a lot of windmills and solar panels — and those things aren’t cheap.

The heart tells you this is a great idea. The brain questions whether Michigan can meet these standards without a lot more surcharges on electric bills. This group is well organized. It got professional help from Byrum and Fisk, which passed the medical marijuana proposal in 2008.  Will the money be there to beat back an organized “no” campaign?

Chance of making the ballot: 95 percent

Chance of passage if on the ballot: 50 percent

4. Public Vote On Second Span Across Detroit River

With Gov. Rick Snyder set to announce his sans-Legislature, Detroit-to-Windsor span idea, the Detroit International Bridge Co. is trying one more Hail Mary to protect its monopoly. 

Could a ballot proposal mandating this measure go before the voters be too little, too late? Will Snyder just go ahead and build it with the Canadians regardless? I don’t bet against the person with the power to appoint judges.

Chance of making the ballot: 85 percent

Chance of passage if on the ballot: 60 percent

Chance of this actually stopping the New International Trade Crossing if adopted: 35 percent

5. More Casinos

A proposal that builds a private casino in north Lansing and seven other locations has enough money to pay circulators, but will it have more than the Indian tribes, MGM and Motor City, which will saturate TV in September and October opposing it? Arguing the state needs more gambling didn’t work in 2004. Can’t believe it will eight years later.

Chance of making the ballot: 75 percent

Chance of passage if on the ballot: 20 percent

6. 2/3 Vote On Tax Increases

An out-of-state venture to install a two-thirds legislative super majority on tax increases sounds good in concept, but is a train wreck in practice. The best chance to kill this proposal may be through the courts (“Are you sure you have 317,000 valid signatures?”) The strategy stopped the 2006 Stop Overspending ballot proposal.

Chance of making the ballot: 50 percent

Chance of passage if on the ballot: 60 percent

7. Home Help Care

It’s hard to vote against anything dealing with those wonderful souls who make practically dirt helping the disabled and elderly on Medicare stay in their homes. Whether they should be given the power to organize as a government employee union since they receive federal money is a different question all together.

Tea party members go bonkers over this issue. Is the SEIU committed to spending the money to see this one through?

Chance of making the ballot: 45 percent

Chance of passage if on the ballot: 55 percent


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