Besides having to choose candidates for local, state and federal offices, Michigan voters will be faced with six ballot proposals on Nov. 6. Here is a synopsis of proposals 12-1, 12-2 and 12-3, and comments for each from proponents and opponents as listed by the League of Women Voters of Michigan on its website. A synopsis of proposals 12-4, 12-5 and 12-6 will be in Monday's Gazette.
Proposal 12-1 - A referendum on Public Act 4 of 2011, also known as the Emergency Manager Law:
Public Act 4 was created after Gov. Rick Snyder stated the governor of Michigan needed the ability to put in place an emergency manager when he or she thought a local governmental body or school district was in financial distress and on the verge of failure. Existing contracts could be made null and void or renegotiated by an emergency manager, and local elected officials would have no authority. Proposal 12-1 allows the voters of Michigan to give approval to this law, or disapprove of it, meaning it will be eliminated and the previous, less restrictive emergency manager law from 1990 would be reinstated.
On the LWVMI website, the pro comments don't list a source, but the stated position is that PA 4 gave emergency managers more power to deal with a government's or school district's financial problems. Emergency managers are an acceptable alternative to bankruptcy in order to protect the credit of the state.
Among the opponents of 12-1 is an organization called Stand Up for Democracy (standup4democracy.com), who states PA 4 is a power grab by the governor and the Legislature. Although intervention might be needed during financial difficulties, the local officials should still be in control of their units of government and contracts should remain in force. There is concern PA 4 is unconstitutional because it allows for the elimination of contracts and it disenfranchises voters.
Proposal 12-2 - Amend the Michigan Constitution regarding collective bargaining:
This proposal would amend the Constitution to make collective bargaining for public and private employees a constitutional right. It would allow laws to prohibit public employees from striking. If approved, it will override laws regulating hours and conditions of employment to the extent they would conflict with collective bargaining agreements.
One of the proponents of the proposal is Protect Our Jobs (protectourjobs.com), who states it will protect worker rights regarding negotiating and it will prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who exercise those rights. It gives state civil service workers collective bargaining rights. It protects current laws regarding minimum wages, hours and working conditions. The proposal doesn't add any rights workers don't already have. It doesn't require workers to join unions or pay dues.
One of the opponents of 12-2 is Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (protectingmichigantaxpayers.com), who states it will give authority in the Michigan Constitution to Washington, D.C., union leaders resulting in higher taxes, lack of fairness and fewer jobs. It would take away local control and eliminate the ability of elected representatives to make decisions about the state.
Proposal 12-3 - Amend the Michigan Constitution to establish a standard for renewable energy:
This proposal would require electric utilities to provide at least 25 percent of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources. Rate increases would be limited to 1 percent per year only to achieve compliance with the requirement.
One of the proponents of the proposal is Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs (MiEnergyMiJobs.com) who states Michigan's current standard of 10 percent renewable power sources by 2015 isn't good enough because more than 30 other states have the 25 percent standard. Increasing the standard will reduce pollution and reduce health problems caused by polluted air.
One of the opponents of the proposal is Care For Michigan (careformich.com) who states the increased standard sidesteps the Legislature. It allows millions of dollars worth of wind turbines and solar generation over the state without proof such an investment can be utilized or needed. The standard of 10 percent renewables by 2015 is more reasonable, affordable and attainable.