Opinion

Natl. popular vote, lending reform most likely ballot issues in 2022

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For anyone serious about putting a ballot proposal in front of Michigan voters in 2022, the clock is ticking.

The June 1 deadline for turning in 340,047 valid signatures to propose a change to state law isn’t that far away if you’re trying to get lots of people to sign a petition. 

Gathering those needed signatures — with a substantial cushion — takes more than a few months to pull off, even for an oiled political operation. So, if the Bureau of Elections hasn’t heard of a proposal by now, it is probably a fair bet it won’t make the 2022 ballot unless ... I’ll get to that in a minute.

For now, here’s the update on what’s out there and what you may be voting on in November.

 Unlock Michigan 2 puts a 28-day cap on state and county public health orders unless the timeframe is extended by the Legislature or county commission. This one is run by the same crew that did Unlock Michigan 1, which repealed the 1945 Riot Act, the law the governor used to continue issuing business shutdowns in 2020.

The organizers’ goal is to put the question in front of the Republican-led Legislature, which can vote it into law without the governor’s signatures.

 Secure MI Vote is a Republican wish list of election reforms, including getting rid of sworn affidavits for those without photo IDs at the polls and extra security checks for absentee voters.

Like Unlock 2, Democratic-aligned interest groups are trying to stop this end-run around the governor. They’re still loading up  agitators in shopping malls and other high traffic areas.

But high-dollar donors are also allowing Dem-aligned groups to hire away petition circulators firms so Secure MI Vote can’t hire them. We’ll see if this works.

 Let MI Kids Learn is a Betsy DeVos-driven effort that allows deep-pocketed philanthropists to donate gobs of money for scholarships that poor public school kids can use to get into a private school.

This proposal needs to be two initiatives because it changes two separate sections of the law, but it’s being run through the same political machine that is doing Unlock 2 and Secure MI Vote. Goal: A legislative yes vote.

 Michigan United is a grassroots operation  designed to give some prisoners the chance to be let out early.

The Legislature won’t support this one, so if the signatures are collected, it’s going to the ballot.

 Yes On National Popular Vote would put Michigan in a multi-state compact that, when there’s enough states, would have each state’s Electoral College vote go toward the winner of the national popular vote.

If Michigan supports the Republican for president, it’s (now) 15 electoral college votes would go to the Democrat if he or she wins the national popular vote. Even though it’s supported by former GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, the conservative grassroots and the GOP-legislature hate the idea. If the signatures are collected, it’s going to the ballot.

 Michiganders for Fair Lending basically eliminates payday lending by setting the interest rate for short-term loans so low businesses couldn’t afford to stay open. 

The Legislature won’t support this one either, so this, too, would head to the ballot.

Other possibilities include additional voter reforms by the same group that put Proposal 3 on the ballot in 2018, although that’s still in the discussion phase.

Pro-gun control advocates are talking about safe firearm storage or red flag laws in reaction to the Oxford High School shooting last week. This issue is so politically combustible, it’s hard to imagine Republicans supporting it.

Also, what will the Michigan Supreme Court do with abortion? A decision throwing abortion policy into the state’s hands could come too late for Planned Parenthood to throw something together, but they may try. 

Michigan’s strict 1931 anti-abortion law is perfect, according to GOP lawmakers, so if signatures are gathered, this one is going to the ballot, too.

(Email Kyle Melinn of the Capitol news service MIRS at melinnky@gmail.com.)

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