LANSING, Mich. – A group collecting signatures to amend Michigan’s term limits law urged the Legislature on Monday to put the initiative directly on the ballot, saying it would give voters more time to weigh the proposal.
The Voters for Transparency and Term Limits voting committee wants to amend the state constitution to shorten legislative terms from 14 years to 12 years, but let lawmakers sit in one chamber all the time. The coalition of business, labor and political leaders has two paths to advance the measure to a fall vote: submit around 425,000 voter signatures by July 11 or persuade two-thirds House and Senate lawmakers to put it on the ballot by September. 9.
“We are gaining momentum and are committed to getting this proposal through in November,” said Rich Studley, former CEO of the conservative-leaning Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “The sooner we can start a healthy debate among Michiganders about changing our state’s constitution, the better off we’ll be.”
When asked if he was worried the group wouldn’t be able to collect enough signatures, Detroit Democratic Mayor Mike Duggan said “no.” But he added that the signatures would not be certified until August, shortening the window for promoters to sell the merits of the proposal to voters.
A constitutional provision approved by voters in 1992 allows lawmakers to serve no more than 14 years, including three two-year terms in the House and two four-year terms in the Senate. The new initiative would allow them to serve 12 years – six two-year terms in the House, three four-year terms in the Senate or a combination.
Organizers say this would allow new lawmakers, especially in the House, to focus on their jobs instead of seeking to run for the Senate or find work outside the legislature.
The measure would require state elected officials to publicly disclose their personal financial information, as members of Congress must do. Michigan is one of two states where lawmakers pass and reject laws without the public knowing about their finances, but attempts to require such reports have stalled for years in the state-run Legislature. republicans.
It was not immediately clear whether legislative leaders were open to votes on sending the initiative to voters.
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