We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, and earnestly desiring to secure these blessings undiminished to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.
So begins the Constitution of the State of Michigan which was last revised in 1963 (pdf of the current Michigan Constitution). You might also check out Michigan’s first Constitution from 1835. The Bentley Historical Library at UM says that in the course of its existence as a state, Michigan has had four different constitutions. In addition two further constitutions were prepared but were rejected by the people. Their Michigan Constitutional Conventions page has documents related to these and at the end of this article you can check out a video from Seeking Michigan of Michigan’s last convention in 1961-62.
Michigan’s Constitution dictates that every 16 years, voters be asked whether or not the document needs to be revised. Proposal 1 on the ballot asks voters: 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? Get the full text of Michigan Proposal 1 from Ballotpedia.
Peter Luke has an excellent article that looks at Proposal 1, those pro and con and what various factions would likely call for. He points out that for perhaps the first time in history, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Michigan Education Association actually agree on something, in this case that they do not support this measure.
Those recommending revising our Constitution cite school funding, confusing tax structure, over-sized local government, and the general need to modernize and streamline the structure of state government. There’s a Yes on Proposal 1 web site and backers include Governor Granholm, the Lansing State Journal, Detroit Free Press and the Grand Rapids Press.
Those opposed say that a convention would cost at least $45 million, that it would handcuff our newly elected officials and it would create uncertainty for Michigan job providers. There’s a Vote no on Proposal 1 web site and those opposed include both candidates for Governor, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Farm Bureau and the Detroit News.