The following column was published in today's edition of The Morning Sun.
The upcoming general election is about a lot more than electing offices.
Regardless of where you are in Michigan, at least six questions will appear on the ballot.
Proposals 2 through 6 are amendments to the state Constitution. The
other question — Proposal 1 — is a referendum on a critical component of
Governor Rick Snyder’s manifesto to solve the chronic problems of bankrupt
local governments in Detroit and elsewhere.
Proposals 2 and 4 are being pushed by union bosses. If passed, these
amendments will hurt everyday workers, while protecting and enriching
union bosses, especially those in public sector unions.
is a little bit more complicated and deals with putting a very specific
renewable energy standard into the Constitution. At the same time, it
also goes a long way toward creating a free-market for energy, which
isn’t the case with the current government-created duopoly.
Proposal 5 is the taxpayer’s best friend and requires any future tax
increase to be approved either by a two-thirds vote in each house of
the Legislature or through a vote of the people. With opposition doing
little more than issuing press releases and putting out Internet-only
ads on YouTube, I suspect this question will pass by a wide margin.
Last, but certainly not least, is Proposal 6, which would block any new international bridge that isn’t approved by voters.
has generated an expensive discussion on whether a new Detroit-Windsor
bridge is needed. But the question is complex, as conflicting studies
make it difficult to decipher who would pay for what if a new bridge was
In an usual twist, the Canadian government, which wants a
bridge, has sent a diplomat on the campaign trail to rally opposition in
a way unheard of in diplomatic circles. This has raised questions about
foreign influence in American elections.
Many opponents of 5 and 6 claim amending the Constitution should be
reserved for only the most serious matters of governance and public
Their claim that these subject matters don’t belong in the Constitution is false and ignores historical facts.
The right of Michiganders to directly initiate constitutional
amendments through the petitioning process was enshrined over a hundred
years ago. It’s a fundamental tenet of the people’s sovereign authority.
I’m more than sympathetic to the argument that a constitution shouldn’t
have the complexity of a statute book, I live in a reality where
Michiganders have, in their infinite wisdom, placed amendment after
amendment on the ballot every two years. Some pass and others fail.
Frankly speaking, the Constitution contains a lot of rubbish that
could otherwise be left to acts of the Legislature, but this rubbish was
approved by us.
The alternative to the people deciding these big issues is a government of benevolent patricians.
That’s certainly not something I want. I may not always agree with
the policy outcomes of a ballot question, but I very much cherish my
right to cast a ballot and have my say.
— Dennis Lennox