Since December members of the Legislature have proposed 13 amendments to the Michigan Constitution. To become law these must garner a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, and then be approved by voters at the next general election.

These "joint resolutions" can be categorized in several ways. Some are serious in that they represent a real or plausible consensus on important matters of principle or policy. Some are sincere but not "serious," in that they reflect a strong belief of the sponsor but have no chance of passage.

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

And some probably are introduced as pure posturing for political purposes. However, a presumption of sincerity is granted to any particular proposal and its sponsor(s).

From MichiganVotes:

Senate Joint Resolution P (Give Legislature authority on government employee benefit co-pays) Introduced by Sen. Mark Jansen (R) on Dec. 17, 2009, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment that would give the Legislature final authority over the employee/employer cost sharing allocation for all government employee health insurance fringe benefits (including that of state office holders). Provisions that allowed for lower employee cost sharing than permitted by the Legislature would not be enforceable, whether they were established by the State Officers Compensation Commission, the Civil Service Commission or a union collective bargaining agreement.

Senate Joint Resolution Q (Eliminate incumbent judge ballot designation) Introduced by Sen. Bruce Patterson (R) on Jan. 21, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to eliminate the ballot designation indicating that incumbent judges are incumbents.

Senate Joint Resolution R (Affirm right to independent (non-government) health care) Introduced by Sen. Bruce Patterson (R) on Jan. 27, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to recognize that "every person has a right to provide for his or her own health care," and to prohibit any state law or rule that would directly or indirectly compel any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system."

Senate Joint Resolution S (Require "pay as you go" budgeting) Introduced by Sen. Samuel B. Thomas, III (D) on Feb. 3, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment requiring that if a bill would reduce state revenues, it can't become law unless another bill is enacted to cut spending or increase revenues (taxes) by the same amount.

Senate Joint Resolution T (Require limiting appropriations to less than revenue projections) Introduced by Sen. John Pappageorge (R) on Feb. 9, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to prohibit the Legislature from appropriating in advance more than 96 percent of the revenue that an official revenue estimating conference projects for the next fiscal year; require that any supplemental appropriations for the current fiscal year get a two-thirds supermajority vote in the House and Senate; require that any revenue above the revenue estimating conference's projection be deposited in the "rainy day fund" and require a two-thirds supermajority for any withdrawals from the "rainy day fund."

Senate Joint Resolution U (Cut government employee pay by 5 percent) Introduced by Sen. John Pappageorge (R) on Feb. 11, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to cut state government, public school and state university employee pay (including lawmakers), by 5 percent from the rate in effect on Jan. 1, 2010, for a three-year period beginning Oct. 1, 2010.

House Joint Resolution RR (Establish appointment process for vacant legislative seat) Introduced by Rep. Richard Hammel (D) on Jan. 14, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to require the governor to appoint a replacement for a Senate or House seat that becomes vacant in the last year of the term. The county party organization would give the governor a list of candidates, and the governor would select one who is of the same party as the departed legislator. This individual would not be allowed to run for reelection.

House Joint Resolution SS (Require biannual budgeting) Introduced by Rep. Andy Dillon (D) on Jan. 14, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to require the Legislature to adopt biannual budgeting. The same "executive order" budget cut procedure that exists under current law would apply if revenues were less than projected, and nothing would prohibit supplemental appropriations if revenues exceeded projections.

House Joint Resolution TT (Elect Supreme Court by district) Introduced by Rep. Kevin A. Elsenheimer (R) on Jan. 26, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to divide the state into seven Supreme Court districts and elect justices in district elections instead of the current statewide, at-large elections.

House Joint Resolution UU (Repeal term limits and establish part-time Legislature) Introduced by Rep. Richard LeBlanc (D) on Feb. 16, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to repeal legislative term limits and replace the current full-time Legislature with a part-time one.

House Joint Resolution VV (Require limiting appropriations to less than revenue projections) Introduced by Rep. Marty Knollenberg (R) on Feb. 18, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to prohibit the Legislature from appropriating in advance more than 96 percent of the revenue that an official revenue estimating conference projects for the next fiscal year; require the Legislature to adopt biannual budgeting; and transition to a fiscal year that begins on July 1.

House Joint Resolution WW (Revise Attorney General and Secretary of State nomination process) Introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows (D) on March 3, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to nominate the party Attorney General and Secretary of State through primary elections, rather than at party conventions as per current law.

House Joint Resolution XX (Revise legislative terms) Introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows (D) on March 3, 2010, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to transition the Legislature to six-year Senate terms (vs. four years under current law) and four-year House terms (vs. two years under current law).