An article in yesterday’s Freep reported the latest on the recommendations by Citizens for Michigan regarding our state’s Constitution. Citizens for Michigan is a self-appointed, volunteer group includes the likes of former AG Frank Kelley, former publisher Phil Power, Oakland County CEO L. Brooks Patterson and other former legislators, legal experts, business people and lobbyists who have been meeting for three years with the goal of promoting sound public policy in Michigan.
Citizens for Michigan has established a blog/website and have their recommendations available for viewing and comment. Among the changes they recommend are a revision (or end) to Michigan’s system of constitutional proposals by petition, longer term limits, changes in selection of Supreme Court Justices and Court of Appeals Judges, a statewide millage for school infrastructure and end of the Headlee rollback. There are 62 recommendations in all and the group recommends a state constitutional convention in 2010 rather than a piece-meal approach.
Overall, I see a lot of pro-tax measures in this plan, as well as safeguards for incumbents who raise taxes as protection. I think it’s a shot at getting rid of Headlee and the other safeguards against runaway spending and tax increases.
You might also want to tune into Jack Lessenberry’s interview with Wayne State legal expert Susan Fino regarding Michigan’s much-ammended constitution and Jack’s accompanying essay, Strong Constitutions where he writes:
The governmental process in Michigan is breaking down, partly because of a series of amendments that are crippling the legislature’s ability to respond to changing events and sudden crises. Even worse, term limits have largely destroyed the power and effectiveness of the legislature. Last week the Democrats chose a Speaker of the House. The candidate who won has been in the legislature for only two years, and has to be gone in four more.
He defeated a man who has been there four years and will be gone forever in two more. There is no institutional memory and little experiential knowledge. The people who run the place are bureaucrats and lobbyists. Face it: When we need a statewide vote on whether to spend park funds on the parks, the system isn’t working.
UPDATE: Grow Detroit has posted Hey Michigan: Looking for a new Constitution?:
in 2010 the citizens get to decide of a constitutional convention should be convened, and then latter either approve or disregard the constitution that convention writes. The idea of further mucking up our currently labyrinthine constitution (which is already several times the length of the United States Constitution, and choked with earmarks and electoral minutiae) used to strike terror into the hearts of most pundits on either side of the aisle.