This flyer summarizes the ballot proposals that has MEA’s recommendations. The actual ballot language is also on the flyer.
Today, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided 2-1
to let the constitutional amendment protecting collective bargaining and working families go before the voters on Nov. 6. The Michigan Supreme Court gave the Appeals Court until today to make a decision. It's still not certain what position the issue will have on the ballot, but it is certain critics of the amendment will appeal to the Supreme Court.
It may be last week's Supreme Court ruling to put the casino ballot proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot that paved the way for today's Court of Appeals' decision. The lower court rejected the casino proposal on the grounds that it would create sweeping changes to the Constitution--the same argument being used to reject the collective bargaining amendment. When the Supreme Court overturned the lower court's ruling on casinos, it seemed inevitable that the nearly 700,000 voters who signed the collective bargaining petitions would have a chance to decide the issue on Nov. 6.
Gov. Snyder and Attorney Bill Schuette launched a formal attack on voter rights yesterday when they filed court papers to block the constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining and the middle class from the November ballot. The two claim that the amendment changes too many laws to be listed in the 100-word statement of purpose for the ballot and should therefore be denied a place on the ballot.
At the request of the Governor, Schuette issued an opinion stating that “the Governor and lawmakers have enacted reforms that have led to economic growth and budget stability.” The concern is that the ballot proposal could undo all of that.
Andrew Nickelhoff, attorney for the Protect Our Jobs campaign, discounted Schuette’s opinion since it’s based on faulty legal reasoning and the proposal has already met all legal requirements.
The Senate will try again tomorrow to take care of SB 1040, legislation dismantling the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. (MPSERS). They tried last month but were short the votes (16-22) to pass the House version.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Kahn--author of the original bill--claim "there is a deal in principle" and they have the 20 votes needed to pass the bill. Gov. Snyder has been in favor of cost-cutting changes to the system--so much so that they were included in the 2013 budget.
All along a key issue has been switching members from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution one and eliminating the current hybrid system. While some Republican legislators favored the switch, Kahn has been opposed to it because of the $300 million per year cost to do it. Just switching new hires over would cost school districts an additional $8 to $10 billion over the next 30 years.
There is more at stake tomorrow in addition to SB 1040. The Board of Canvassers will meet tomorrow to determine if the constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining and working families should be on the November ballot or not.
Supporters of the collective bargaining ballot proposal fired back today against Attorney General Bill Schuette's attempt to deny voters the chance to decide the issue in November.
In a news release, legal expert Andrew Nickelhoff said, "The Attorney General's opinion, which is not binding, is a political document on behalf of opponents of working families. This is not a substantive legal argument."
In the 6th State House District, Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst -- her organization that led the charge on attacking collective bargaining and due process rights last year -- have spent nearly $40,000 in support of a Democratic representative who voted with them. And they just snuck another $118,000 into the state after the campaign finance reporting deadline, so they could be spending even more.