State issue guide

There are myriad state proposals on the ballot in next month's election, ranging from emergency financial managers and collective bargaining rights to a new bridge to Canada.
Alex Doty
Oct 12, 2012

Here are the proposals that will be on the Nov. 6 ballot and what they might mean to you:

Proposal 1 is a referendum on Public Act 4 of 2011, the Emergency Manager Law. If approved, it would nullify the state’s Emergency Manager Law and reinstate the old Emergency Financial Manager Law, which would allow the state to appoint a receiver over a local governmental unit.

A yes vote on Proposal 1 would lift the suspension on the EFM law, while a no vote would nullify Public Act 4.

More specifically, a yes vote would:

• Establish criteria to assess the financial condition of local governments and school districts.
• Authorizes the governor to appoint an emergency manager upon state finding of a financial emergency, and allow the emergency manager to act in place of local government officials.
• Require the emergency manager to develop financial and operating plans — which may include modification or termination of contracts; reorganization of government; and determination of expenditures, services and use of assets until the emergency is resolved.
• Alternatively, authorize a state-appointed review team to enter into a local government-approved consent decree.

Proposal 2, if approved, would amend the Michigan Constitution by putting collective bargaining rights in it. It would apply mostly to government worker unions, as federal law governs private sector unions.

More specifically, the proposal would:

• Grant employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.
• Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively; and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees' financial support of their labor unions.
• Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.
• It would override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.
• It would define an "employer" as a person or entity employing one or more employees.

Proposal 3, if approved, would amend the state Constitution to establish a standard for renewable energy.

A yes vote would also:

• Require electric utilities to provide at least 25 percent of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources — wind, solar, biomass and hydropower — by 2025.
• Limit electric utility rate increases charged to consumers to not more than 1 percent per year to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard.
• Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25 percent standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1 percent limit.
• Require the state Legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan-made equipment and employment of Michigan residents.

Proposal 4, if approved, would amend the state Constitution to establish the Michigan Quality Care Council and establish collective bargaining rights for in-home care workers.

A yes vote would:

• Allow in-home care workers to bargain collectively with the Michigan Quality Home Care Council.
• Continue the current exclusive representative of in-home care workers until modified in accordance with labor laws.
• Require Michigan Quality Home Care Council provide training for in-home care workers, create a registry of workers who pass background checks, and provide financial services to patients to manage the cost of in-home care.
• Preserve patients' rights to hire in-home care workers who are not referred from the Michigan Quality Home Care Council registry and who are bargaining unit members.
• Authorize the Michigan Quality Home Care Council to set minimum compensation standards, and terms and conditions of employment.

Proposal 5, if approved, would amend the state Constitution to limit new taxes by state government. A yes vote would require a two-thirds majority vote of the state House and Senate, or a statewide vote of the people in a November election, in order for the state to impose new or additional taxes on taxpayers.

The proposal wouldn’t limit or modify tax limitations otherwise created in the Constitution.

Proposal 6, if approved, would amend the state Constitution regarding construction of international bridge and tunnel crossings. A yes vote would require voters to approve any new bridge or tunnel from Michigan to Canada.

More specifically, yes votes would:

• Require the approval of a majority of voters at a statewide election and in each municipality where new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles are to be located before the state may expend state funds or resources for acquiring land, designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing or promoting new international bridges or tunnels.
• Create a definition of "new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles" to mean that "any bridge or tunnel which is not open to the public and serving traffic as of Jan. 1, 2012."
 

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