July 10, 2015 MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call Report

Recent constitutional amendment proposals of general interest

While the legislature is in a two week recess with no votes to report, the Roll Call Report examines some recent constitutional amendment proposals of general interest.

House Joint Resolutions A and K, and Senate Joint Resolution F: Repeal constitutional ban on graduated income tax

Introduced by Democratic legislators Reps. Jim Townsend, Jeff Irwin and Sen. Rebekah Warren, and cosponsored by 39 other Democrats, to place before voters a constitutional amendment to repeal a current provision that prohibits imposing a graduated state income tax (as opposed to Michigan's current flat tax). House Bill 4341 is linked to HJR K and would impose income tax rates of between 3 percent and 10 percent (the current rate is a flat 4.25 percent). Resolutions to amend the constitution require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate and approval by voters. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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House Joint Resolutions C, Q, V and X: Repeal or Extend Legislative Term Limits

Introduced by Reps. Jeff Farrington, Charles Smiley and Edward McBroom, with many cosponsors from both parties, to repeal or extend the term limits imposed on legislators by a 1992 constitutional amendment adopted with a 59-41 percent vote of the people. HJRs Q and V would repeal the limits, and the other resolutions offer different schemes to extend them. Under current law representatives may only have three two-year terms, and senators two four-year terms. Since 2001, 37 joint resolutions have been introduced to extend or repeal term limits. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution I and HJR L: Repeal homosexual marriage ban

Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D) and Rep. Jeremy Moss (D), respectively, to repeal Section 25 of the Michigan constitution, which 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 D and HJR D: Equalize school district funding

Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R) and Rep. Joel Johnson (R), respectively, to require that all school districts get the same amount of state and local tax revenue for school operating purposes. Current funding levels are based on a complicated formula that since 1994 has set a minimum level for all districts and has gradually closed the gap. The measures do not specify whether high-spending districts’ funding would be cut or low-spending districts increased, and if the latter, where the new money would come from. Referred to committees, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution G: Repeal constitutional ban on private school tuition tax credits

Introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn (R), to repeal a prohibition on the state offering tax credits that cover tuition paid to a non-public school. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

2015 House Joint Resolution N: Protect "electronic data and communications" from unreasonable search and seizure

Introduced by Rep. Jim Runestad (R), to add “electronic data and communications” to the state constitution’s provision that recognizes the right of the people to be secure from unreasonable government searches and seizures of their “person, houses, papers, and possessions.” Reported from committee, pending before the full House.

House Joint Resolution R: Require legislative consent for new regulations

Introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn (R), to prohibit any new administrative regulations from being imposed and enforced by state agencies if a majority of the House and Senate pass a resolution rejecting them. Approval of the governor would not be required. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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