Governor Snyder is one crafty dude.

I was pretty fired up about the recent repeal of our consumer pricing law in Michigan that requires retails to have items individually priced. I wasn't upset about the price tagging, but I was very upset that the NEW law contained a provision that made it a law that could not be undone by popular vote i.e. a referendum.
I asked a friend of mine who is an attorney about passing such a law and she told me that the Michigan Constitution guarantees voters the power to change laws passed in Lansing by a referendum. So I went to look it up myself - and she is correct - to a point!

This is Article 2, subsection 9 of the Michigan Constitution
I highlighted the important parts. Please read the whole thing with attention to the words in red.

"§ 9 Initiative and referendum; limitations; appropriations; petitions.

Sec. 9. The people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and to enact and reject
laws, called the initiative, and the power to approve or reject laws enacted by the legislature,
called the referendum. The power of initiative extends only to laws which the legislature may
enact under this constitution. The power of referendum does not extend to acts making
appropriations for state institutions or to meet deficiencies in state funds and must be invoked
in the manner prescribed by law within 90 days following the final adjournment of the
legislative session at which the law was enacted. To invoke the initiative or referendum,
petitions signed by a number of registered electors, not less than eight percent for initiative
and five percent for referendum of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor at the last
preceding general election at which a governor was elected shall be required."

Okay, so if the Constitution of our State gives "the people" power to approve or reject laws by referendum, then how can Governor Snyder et al even suggest a law that contains a provision to stop this process? I asked veteran reporter Rick Pluta this very question on his Michigan Radio page - and so did a couple of other folks who were as concerned as I am. His answer:

"The Legislature included $100,000 for the Attorney General for 'consumer education' in the item pricing repeal. That automatically makes the new law an act that makes an appropriation for a state institution and exempt from repeal by referendum. [see the portion highlighted in blue] The bill did not go through the usual channels for a budget bill -- that is, having it approved by the House and Senate appropriations committees. But it is a budget bill nevertheless."

So there you have it - by attaching a measly 100k earmarked for "consumer education" from the Attorney General's office it immediately makes this bill safe from a voter referendum.

Is this the future for laws in Michigan that might be deemed unpopular by the public? Attach some small amount of money appropraited for a state institution and "bingo" no referendum is possible.

Pretty sly stuff.
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