[Photo of Michael J. Reitz]

Michael J. Reitz

Executive Vice President

Michael J. Reitz is executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute based in Midland, Michigan. Reitz oversees policy development, communications, fundraising and the Center’s strategic plan.

Since joining the Mackinac Center in 2012, Reitz has overseen efforts to advance free-market recommendations in Michigan. The team’s victories include right-to-work legislation, pension reform for school employees, criminal justice reform and ground-breaking legislation to expand ridesharing in the state.

Before joining the Mackinac Center, Reitz was with the Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington, as its general counsel and director of labor policy. While there, he litigated for accurate elections, defended the First Amendment rights of individuals, fought against governmental abuses of power and wrote extensively on constitutional law.

Reitz has overseen the Center’s effort to inform public employees of their rights through outreach, legal support and legislative affairs. In the past five years, the Center has educated more than 100,000 government workers about their First Amendment rights. 

Reitz is president of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government, an organization that educates citizens about the importance of government transparency. He serves as the chairman of Americans for Fair Treatment, which offers resources and support to public sector union members.

Reitz frequently comments on public policy issues and has been cited by the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Seattle Times and other publications. He is a co-author of “To Protect and Maintain Individual Rights,” a reference guide to the Declaration of Rights in the Washington Constitution. Reitz received his law degree from Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy. He is a member of the Washington bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Overcriminalizing the Wolverine State: A Primer and Possible Reforms for Michigan

(Editor’s note: This paper was co-authored with James R. Copland and Isaac Gorodetski and jointly published with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research).
At present, Michigan’s vast, disorganized criminal law inherently places the Wolverine State’s residents at risk of unintentionally violating a growing array of regulatory crimes that are difficult to discover and understand. The complexity of administrating such a criminal code threatens to divert scarce resources away from the enforcement of serious violent and property crimes. This study analyzes the size and scope of Michigan’s criminal law and makes policy recommendations aimed at curbing this “overcriminalization.” … more

Criminal Minds: Defining Culpability in Michigan Criminal Law

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently published “Criminal Minds: Defining Culpability in Michigan Criminal Law,” which addresses the element of intent in Michigan statutes and case law. The policy brief is authored by Mackinac Center Executive Vice President Michael Reitz.
Conviction of a crime traditionally required a combination of a wrongful act and criminal intent. But frequently the criminal code is used for regulatory purposes, and those laws often omit a requirement that the prosecution prove the existence of criminal intent for a conviction to occur. Consequently, individuals can be charged, convicted and imprisoned for committing crimes without possessing a culpable state of mind — often for behavior a reasonable person would not think of as criminal.
The policy brief proposes a reform that would clarify the element of intent in criminal statutes. If the Legislature enacts a criminal statute that is silent on intent, a default intent provision would be incorporated. Such a reform could make for a more orderly criminal justice system and protect the rights of individuals. … more

Proposal 2 of 2012: An Assessment

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently published “Proposal 2 of 2012: An Assessment,” which addresses Proposal 2 on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot, also referred to as the “collective bargaining” amendment.
The study examines how the proposed constitutional amendment would enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution, which would allow government union collective bargaining agreements to invalidate numerous state laws meant to improve the quality of public services and would likely negate a projected $1.6 billion in annual taxpayer savings.
The Policy Brief was co-authored by Vernuccio and other Mackinac Center analysts: Senior Legal Analyst Patrick J. Wright, Executive Vice President Michael J. Reitz and Assistant Fiscal Policy Director James M. Hohman. Also co-authoring was Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. … more