For years now Republicans have been calling for “common sense” regulatory reform. On GOP.gov Congressman Mike Pence stated that “The House Republican Regulatory Reform plan is a commonsense solution that puts taxpayers first”.
Well good news Michigan Republicans – Bill Lucas and his organization, Voters for Fair Use of Ballot Referendum, have a petition that is right up their alley.
Over the past two years the Michigan legislature has gone out of their way to expose an issue with the Michigan constitution that clearly needs to be addressed if they truly believe in putting taxpayers first and as Wikipedia states: “The term constitution comes through French from the Latin word constitutio, used for regulations and orders”.
What they do is utilize a rule in the state constitution that prevents voters from exercising their constitutional right to repeal a law using the referendum process. All it takes is inserting a small budgetary measure known as an appropriation into any bill that voters might otherwise reject.
Their test case was the a repeal of Michigan’s 33 year old item pricing bill that required retailers to mark the price on every item they sell. At the time polls showed opposition to repealing this so rather than present a value case for the repeal the legislature simply removed any possibility of repeal by including an appropriation in the bill.
Once they realized that they could get away with this anti-democratic big government power grab without much push back from voters the legislature started including appropriations in any bill that might be considered remotely controversial. Right to work, the previously repealed Emergency Manager, tax on pensions, redistricting and most recently wolf hunting have all been given appropriations to exclude Michigan voters from the democratic process.
Of course these legislators know that these aren’t really appropriations bills since none of them appear on the legislature.mi.gov web page labeled “Appropriation Bills”. Additionally there are hundreds of bills that have passed over the last two years with bipartisan support that don’t include appropriations but easily could have.
So call it regulations or constitutional loopholes the reality is the rights of the taxpayers should be put ahead of politicians and their corporate sponsors. While the legislature can prevent us from repealing certain bills they can’t prevent us from amending the state constitution to put the power of government back where it belongs – in the hands of the people.
If you’re interested in finding out how you can help or contributing to this cause visit the Voters for Fair Use of Ballot Referendum website to learn more.