The Legislature is on a summer break with no sessions scheduled until Aug. 16. Rather than votes this report contains some interesting or noteworthy legislative proposals to amend the constitution. To become law these require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate and approval by voters.
Senate Joint Resolution J: Ban elected official pay hikes until after the next election
Introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to prohibit elected officials from taking a pay increase until after the next election. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Joint Resolution K: Lower minimum age for governor
Introduced by Sen. Ian Conyers (D), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to eliminate the current minimum age requirement for governor and lieutenant governor, which is age 30. The bill would leave in place a requirement that a candidate have been a registered voter in the state for at least four years, which implies a minimum age of 22 to be governor. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Joint Resolution Q: Propose a part time legislature
Introduced by Rep. Tom Barrett (R), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment that would limit annual legislative sessions to 90 days. Since 2001 more than 20 part time legislature proposals have been introduced. This one would establish weekend sessions once a month plus two-week legislative sessions twice a year. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Joint Resolution R: Replace House and Senate with unicameral legislature
Introduced by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R), to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to establish a nonpartisan unicameral legislature (instead of a separate House and Senate) with 110 districts apportioned on the basis of formulas specified in the resolution. Legislators would have four year terms and term limits would be repealed. Voters would no longer see a party designation after legislative candidates’ names on ballots. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Joint Resolution S: Limit referendum on appropriations ban
Introduced by Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D), 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. 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 to prohibit referendums on any bill containing an appropriation. In several instances since then, the legislature has deliberately added modest appropriations to controversial bills which, without the appropriation, would likely have been challenged by a referendum. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Joint Resolution T: Taxpayer Bill of Rights’ spending cap (TABOR)
Introduced by Rep. Martin Howrylak (R), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to cap annual state government spending increases at the rate of inflation plus increases in the state population, with any amount over that returned to taxpayers. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
SOURCE: MichiganVotes.org, a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit www.MichiganVotes.org.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited.
Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Mackinac Center policy staff.