Proposals 1 and 2 win by large margins in Michigan

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A search warrant requirement proposal and a statewide proposal to change the spending rules for public lands and state parks funds have both passed, according to unofficial election results Wednesday night.

Proposal 1, which centers on state park and recreational facility funding, won with 84.3% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting.

Proposal 1 would amend the state's constitution and remove a $500 million cap on the amount of oil and gas royalties from state-owned land put into Michigan's Natural Resources Trust Fund, which provides grants to local government that allow them to buy land for public use.

The $500 million cap was hit in 2011, so the state has been putting the excess royalties into the State Parks Endowment Fund, which provides money to buy and develop state parks. The endowment fund, which is $273 million, is now limited to a maximum of $800 million, an amount the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan projected it would not reach for three decades.

Beach-goers fill Grand Haven Stare Park and City Beach on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Michigan voters are being asked to approve changes in spending rules to buy public land and maintain and expand recreational facilities and state parks.

Proposal 1 would free the trust fund from its current $500 million cap. If approved, the natural resources fund could accept the state park fund's royalty money when the state park fund reaches its spending limit.

The proposal also would change the spending rules for the funds. At least 20% of the state parks fund would be required to finance improvements, while at least 25% of the natural resources fund would finance land conservation and at least 25% would finance parks and public recreation areas.

If voters reject Proposal 1, local and state park land purchases and maintenance would still be funded after the fund caps are hit, but further oil and gas royalties would flow into the state's General Fund, where lawmakers would decide the spending priorities.

Proposal 2, which would amend Michigan's Constitution to require a search warrant to access an individual's electronic data and electronic communications, won with 88.8% of the vote.

The proposal is aimed at eliminating any uncertainty about whether a private individual's electronic data is actually protected by law, according to an analysis by the Citizens Research Council.

If voters reject Proposal 2, "Law enforcement would continue the current practice of seeking warrants to access electronic data and communications" based on their interpretation of the “searches and seizures” provision of the Michigan Constitution and the U.S. Bill of Rights, the research council said.