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Understanding Proposal 1

October 27, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

Michigan voters, and voters in general, are in an incalculable mood.

A couple of election upsets, including a Republican winning the seat held by the late Edward Kennedy, shows anything can happen.

Will Michigan voters call for a Constitutional Convention this year?

Every 16 years, voters decide whether a convention will be convened to revise Michigan's Constitution.

The question will be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

Voters are automatically asked whether they want to authorize the rewriting of the state constitution. This ballot issue is part of the current state constitution.

It's that time again.

Proposal 1 on the Nov. 2 ballots asks voters if they want to set up a convention to re-write the state constitution voters adopted in 1963.

Specifically, the Proposal 1 states:


Shall a convention of elected delegates be convened in 2011 to draft a general revision of the State Constitution for presentation to the state's voters for their approval or rejection?


- NO

The current constitution is the fourth in state history.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected proposals to rewrite it in 1978 and 1994.

Supporters of the convention claim it could lead to long-term savings through a leaner government.

The process, however, would be lengthy and costly.

If changes are necessary to the constitution, amendments may be adopted. That's the way we've been adding to our U.S. Constitution for years.

If voters call for a Constitutional Convention, experts estimate that it could take two years to come up with a new constitution.

Meanwhile, the hands of the new governor and lawmakers would be tied while the constitution is being rewritten.

Michigan needs leadership, not a roadblock.

This is not a controversial issue, but it remains very important.

Nearly everyone is opposed to it, including the Michigan Democratic and Republican parties.

A coalition that includes the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan State AFL-CIO and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association cites estimates that a convention could cost the cash-strapped state $45 million.

Michigan has adopted four constitutions, the last one in 1963.

The requirement for a Constitutional Convention ballot question every 16 years is part of the 1963 constitution.

The question was on the 1978 and 1994 ballots.

It was rejected both times.

Area residents need to know what they are voting on.



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