April 1 Michigan Legislature Weekly Roll Call Report

Constitutional amendments on same sex marriage, legalized pot, “referendum-proofing” bills and more

The House and Senate are on a two-week spring break, so rather than votes this report contains some recently proposed constitutional amendments of interest. To become law these require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate and approval by voters.

Senate Joint Resolution H: Ban welfare for illegal aliens
Introduced by Sen. Joe Hune (R), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to prohibit the state from giving any kind of public assistance to illegal aliens. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution I: Repeal same sex marriage ban
Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), to place before voters in the next general election an amendment to repeal Section 25 of the Michigan constitution, which currently states, “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution M: Replace gas tax increase with 1% sales tax increase
Introduced by Sen. Kenneth Horn (R), to place before voters a constitutional amendment that would increase the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent and use the money for roads, while repealing the gas tax and vehicle registration tax increases enacted by the Legislature in 2015. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution O: Legalize marijuana
Introduced by Sen. Coleman Young II (D), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to prohibit the Legislature from adopting a law that makes adult possession or use of marijuana a criminal or civil offense. Laws regulating production and sales could be enacted, and also laws regulating the time, place and manner of use for public health and safety purposes. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution BB: Call for “Article V” U.S. constitutional amendment convention
Introduced by Rep. Lee Chatfield (R), to submit an application to Congress calling for a "convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution," limited to the issues of fiscal restraints, federal powers and congressional term limits. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution DD: Lower minimum age for lawmakers
Introduced by Rep. Aaron Miller (R), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to lower the minimum age requirement for legislators from 21 to 18 and for governors from 30 to 21. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution FF, Senate Joint Resolutions H and N: Limit referendum on appropriations ban
Introduced by Rep. Jim Townsend (D), Sen. Rebekah Warren (D) and Sen. Curtis Hertel (D), respectively, plus many cosponsors, to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to revise the current prohibition on citizen referendums challenging bills that contain an appropriation.

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The measure would establish that the ban only applies to bills that substantially fund one or more state departments, or which are needed to close current state budget shortfalls. A 2001 Supreme Court ruling interpreted the provision as prohibiting referendums on any bill containing an appropriation, even a small or incidental one. In several instances the Legislature has deliberately added modest appropriations to controversial bills that would likely have been challenged by a referendum. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


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