What is the “Stand Up For Democracy” proposal about?
The stated purpose of this proposal is: Petition seeks to invoke the right of referendum for the emergency financial manager law, 2011 PA 4.
Let’s break this proposal down into two parts.
First, the “right of referendum.”
This is from State of Michigan Constitution, Article II, Section 9:
Initiative and referendum; limitations; appropriations; petitions.
- The people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and to enact and reject laws, called the initiative, and the power to approve or reject laws enacted by the legislature, called the referendum. The power of initiative extends only to laws which the legislature may enact under this constitution. The power of referendum does not extend to acts making appropriations for state institutions or to meet deficiencies in state funds and must be invoked in the manner prescribed by law within 90 days following the final adjournment of the legislative session at which the law was enacted. To invoke the initiative or referendum, petitions signed by a number of registered electors, not less than eight percent for initiative and five percent for referendum of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor at the last preceding general election at which a governor was elected shall be required.
- No law as to which the power of referendum properly has been invoked shall be effective thereafter unless approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon at the next general election.
Initiative; duty of legislature, referendum.
- Any law proposed by initiative petition shall be either enacted or rejected by the legislature without change or amendment within 40 session days from the time such petition is received by the legislature. If any law proposed by such petition shall be enacted by the legislature it shall be subject to referendum, as hereinafter provided.
Legislative rejection of initiated measure; different measure; submission to people.
- If the law so proposed is not enacted by the legislature within the 40 days, the state officer authorized by law shall submit such proposed law to the people for approval or rejection at the next general election. The legislature may reject any measure so proposed by initiative petition and propose a different measure upon the same subject by a yea and nay vote upon separate
- roll calls, and in such event both measures shall be submitted by such state officer to the electors for approval or rejection at the next general election.
Initiative or referendum law; effective date, veto, amendment and repeal.
- Any law submitted to the people by either initiative or referendum petition and approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon at any election shall take effect 10 days after the date of the official declaration of the vote. No law initiated or adopted by the people shall be subject to the veto power of the governor, and no law adopted by the people at the polls under the initiative
- provisions of this section shall be amended or repealed, except by a vote of the electors unless otherwise provided in the initiative measure or by three-fourths of the members elected to and serving in each house of the legislature. Laws approved by the people under the referendum provision of this section may be amended by the legislature at any subsequent session thereof.
- If two or more measures approved by the electors at the same election conflict, that receiving the highest affirmative vote shall prevail.
- The legislature shall implement the provisions of this section.
Now this may all seem a bit complicated, but, what “Article II, Section 9” is saying is that we “do” have a voice. We have used that voice, by petition, to let them, Governor Snyder and the Legislature, know that what they have done is unacceptable. We the people “do not” have to just sit back and accept what the “state” is dishing out.
Second, “The Emergency Financial Manager Law.”
They have used, what was a well intended law initiated under Governor James Blanchard, to strip away the power of the vote, of the citizens, throughout the state. It seems, coincidently, that this law is being implemented primarily in urban areas, Detroit (including Ecorse, Inkster, and Pontiac), Flint, Benton Harbor, all areas with predominately minority populations, and minority leadership and administrations. It began with takeovers of school systems, and has led to complete takeovers of local governments, effectively suppressing the power of the vote, and the will of the electorate in these areas.
There is an article about this problem, written by Chris Savage on “The Nation” website entitle “The Scandal of Michigan’s Emergency Managers,” that describes this situation very well. Find it at: http://www.thenation.com/article/166297/scandal-michigans-emergency-managers
It is important to note “this” paragraph in the article:
“GOP lawmakers are discussing replacement legislation, with Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger warning about “the chaos that could ensue if the emergency manager law is suspended.” Since Michigan law prevents referendums on appropriations bills, PA 4 opponents fear that any such law will contain an appropriation to make it “referendum proof,” a tactic already used by the state GOP this year.”
These “tactics” are the reason that voting the complete ballot is important.
The Republicans in the U.S. Congress have reduced or eliminated “block grants” to the states. States have refused, in some instances, to accept “Recovery Act” (stimulus) funds. State Legislatures have reduced “revenue sharing” to cities, in their states. They have cut billions of dollars from public schools, and public services, forcing them to drastically cut services or go bankrupt. Then, to top it all off, they send in these Emergency Managers with the power to ignore or fire locally elected officials, cancel union contracts, layoff employees, outsource civil service jobs, usually to companies paying low wages, low or no benefits, and that have no union rights.
I once heard Rev. Jesse Jackson say, “this is like crippling a man, and then penalizing him for limping.”
Knowledge is the weapon we must use to fight this “electoral based oppression.” The information is out there. Read everything you can, talk to everyone you know, spread the word that we can go on the offensive, we must go on the offensive to protect our future.
Learn, and then VOTE!