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Monday, March 21, 2011

A constitutional referendum can overturn Michigan Gov. Snyder's Emergency Financial Manager bill

Photo Credit-Recall Rick Snyder for  Michigan
Last week,  thousands Michiganders protested at the Lansing, Michigan Capitol Building Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) draconian budget proposal, emergency financial manager takeover of cities, townships and school boards, with constitutionally flawed assault on Michigan workers. 

Meanwhile a group of state House and Senate Democratic majority leaders have called a state referendum vote to stop Snyder’s assault on Michigan workers, unions, municipalities, school boards and seniors.

It turns out Michigan’s constitution is unusually easy to amend. In addition, both Governor Rick Snyder and his Republican allies in the majority state House and Senate become eligible, by state law, for a recall in just over three months.

Michigan voters, by a state constitutional amendment can protect collective bargaining rights thus, voiding the impact of Governor Snyder’s much despised Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) bill, signed into law last week.

Failing to impact the legislature in the past three weeks with protest showing opposition to the EFM law that could nullify elected leaders in city, township, county or school board government by Snyder appointing an individual or corporation if the entity is 5 percent out of line on a budgetary item; Michigan voters could void the law altogether by calling for a constitutional amendment by petition and referendum.

According to the state constitution,

§ 2 Amendment by petition and vote of electors.
Sec. 2. Amendments may be proposed to this constitution by petition of the registered electors of this state. Every petition shall include the full text of the proposed amendment, and be signed by registered electors of the state equal in number to at least 10 percent of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor at the last preceding general election at which a governor was elected.

....Any amendment proposed by such petition shall be submitted, not less than 120 days after it was filed, to the electors at the next general election.…

If the proposed amendment is approved by a majority of the electors voting on the question, it shall become part of the constitution, and shall abrogate or amend existing provisions of the constitution at the end of 45 days after the date of the election at which it was approved.

Slightly over 300,000 signatures are required to place an amendment to void the EFM law on the ballot. Once the referendum is on the ballot, a simple majority of the electorate overturn now law.
Michigan voters are also in the beginning states of gather support for a recall procedure that is similar to the one currently being invoked against eight GOP state senators in Wisconsin

A group called Reclaim Michigan-Recall Rick Snyder, with a social media Facebook Group named 'Recall Rick Snyder for Michigan', met with lawyers last week, finalizing language to present before Governor Snyder’s certified electoral district, the Washtenaw County Clerk, according to the rules of the Michigan Constitution.

Specifically, for recall campaigns, The Michigan Constitution provides:
Laws shall be enacted to provide for the recall of all elective officers except judges of courts of record upon petition of electors equal in number to 25 percent of the number of persons voting in the last preceding election for the office of governor in the electoral district of the officer sought to be recalled. 
The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question.
Michigan elected officials enjoy a safe haven period immediately after they take office:
“A recall petition cannot be filed against an officer until the officer has performed the duties of the office to which elected for a period of 6 months during the current term of that office.”
Under Michigan’s term limit law that don’t allow the Governor and state Legislators to serve more than two terms, both Gov. Snyder and his legislative allies began their current terms on January 1st of this year. Accordingly, they will be eligible for a recall starting July 1st, 2011.

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