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Voters defeat all state ballot proposals

By Austen Hufford, Staff Reporter
Published November 7, 2012

All six of the statewide ballot proposals put before voters were defeated Tuesday.

Proposal 1 — a referendum to approve 2011’s Public Act 4, which grants the state government the power to appoint an emergency financial manager to oversee struggling organizations and municipalities — was defeated with 52 percent of voters in opposition and 48 percent in favor.

Proposal 2 was aimed to enshrine the right to unionize in the Michigan Constitution, and was defeated 58 percent to 42 percent. The measure attempted to establish the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain.

Voters resoundingly rejected proposal 3 with only 37 percent approving the amendment and 63 percent voting for it. The amendment would’ve required that 25 percent of Michigan’s electricity would come from renewable sources by 2025.

In an interview with The Michigan Daily on Tuesday night, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said he wasn’t opposed to the idea of requiring renewable energy, but said it was inappropriate for such a measure to be placed in the state’s constitution.

“I think the concept of having a new renewable goal that’s higher than what it is today is a good goal and that’s something I think should take place ... you (also) should be talking about energy efficiency and that should be part of the discussion which was absolutely lacking in Proposal 3,” Snyder said.

Michigan voters also defeated Proposal 4, which would have amended the Michigan Constitution to give home health care workers the right to unionize under the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and declare them public employees. Voters turned down the amendment 58 percent against to 42 percent in agreement.

The Home Care Council was established under previous Democratic Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm but was defunded by Republicans after Snyder’s took office. The amendment aimed to re-establish the council and ordered them to create minimum standards for home health care workers.

Political Science prof. Michael Heany said a moderate voter might view the proposals as too vague and too broad, and they could have succeeded if they were more focused.

“The reason they lost on two, three and four was just because the proposals seemed to be overly broad and over reaching,” Heaney said.

Voters also stopped Proposal 5 that would’ve amended the state Constitution to require a two-thirds majority vote of the state Legislature to pass any tax increase into law. The proposal failed 69 percent to 31 percent, and faced bipartisan opposition.

The controversial Proposal 6 was also soundly defeated by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent. The proposal called for an amendment requiring all new international bridges or tunnels to be approved by a state referendum.

The proposal was funded primarily by Matty Moroun, who owns the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Canada. The proposal was widely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans, as well as Snyder, and has been viewed as a way for Moroun to maintain his monopoly over commercial traffic between the countries.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Michigan voters made it clear that altering the state constitution should not be taken lightly.

“The message is don’t mess with our constitution,” Schuette said. “There were … good reasons to say two through six shouldn’t succeed,” Snyder said.

Daily Staff Reporter Tui Rademaker contributed to this report.