91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Petition bill introduced amid controversy over Legislature’s "adopt and amend" move

Republican lawmakers in Lansing have been criticized lately, because they adopted two ballot proposals in September on minimum wage and paid sick time – and then passed bills to significantly change those measures.

It’s left some to wonder how fair our ballot initiative process is. One lawmaker has introduced a bill that he says will increase transparency and accountability in the ballot petition process.

Petition circulators in Michigan are not legally obligated to tell you the truth about what is in the ballot measure you’re putting your name on.

The bill would change that, and if a petition circulator is dishonest about the measure, the signatures would be invalidated. 

Representative Jim Lower (R-Cedar Lake) is a bill sponsor.

“There’s been these protests and people are saying that these petitions represent the will of the people – I don’t necessarily agree with that if people who sign them are being lied to or don’t really even know what they do,” he says.

But the bill doesn’t address the ability of the Legislature to adopt and amend proposals.

Representative Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) says he likes some ideas in the bill – so much so he introduced them more than a year ago.

“That’s just how Lansing goes. That good ideas are tabled for a long time in favor of a poorly written, majority proposal at the last minute,” he says.

The bill is currently waiting for a committee hearing.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
Related Content