Opinion: Don’t hijack Michigan’s Constitution

Greg McNeilly
l-r, Melvin Taylor, 83, and his wife Marcia Taylor of Pontiac talk after casting their votes this morning at New Bethel Missionary church.***Voters and campaign workers at New Bethel Missionary Baptist church. August 7, 2018, Pontiac, MI.

Forty days from now all of Michigan’s votes will be cast. Michigan will elect new management. Really new management. None of Michigan’s top executives (governor, secretary of state and attorney general) will have done their job before. Two-thirds or more of the Legislature will also be new on the job. And then there are the ballot proposals.

What unintended consequences will Michigan throw into the mix based upon the choices before us?

Proposal 1 is marijuana legalization. In concept, I’m for pot legalization; just not this proposal.

First, it expands the power of law enforcement to search private property. This proposal bizarrely sets arcane and very specific limits on the domiciling of residential marijuana. Not more than 10 ounces permitted, with any aggregate greater than 2.5 ounces mandatorily stored in a lock-box.

Second, given that lawmakers in Lansing took a pass at adopting it, if adopted by voters, it will require a 75 percent super majority by the Legislature to fix. We know that marijuana — like alcohol — is an impairment. It doesn’t take much prudence to realize we’re going to have issues to fix.

Three, it places an unchangeable 10 percent tax on pot, priming neighbors, like Ohio, to enact 9 percent taxed marijuana and resulting in border runs for consumption. Proposal 1, backed by big marijuana (there is such a thing), is not a serious nor smart way to legalize.

Proposal 2 is the so-called redistricting proposal that writes into our constitution discrimination and tax hikes. Not since 2004 have Michigan voters used the state’s constitution to take away rights. This proposal sets up a special “nonpartisan” commission to draw redistricting lines and excludes up to 1 million of our citizens from participating, mostly because they have a family member who became civically engaged.

Additionally, Proposal 2 provides for more run-away government spending. Those that can join this so-called “nonpartisan” commission will get fat paychecks (a minimum of 25 percent of the governor’s salary — the operative word in the state’s constitution being “minimum”).

Once locked into the state’s constitution there is no check-and-balance on this runaway spending. And then there will be the lawsuits. And more lawsuits. Our tax money is better spent fixing our roads, improving our state’s water infrastructure, and investing in students, than monkeying around with redistricting schemes.

Then there’s Proposal 3. This is yet another out-of-state funded scheme for vote rigging, and creating opportunity for corruption and scandal. Have you ever thought that the lines in polling locations were long? Wait until we enshrine in the state’s constitution that polling locations have to be able to process same-day voter registrations. How are local governments going to pay for all of the extra election day regulations? We’re going to fund it with state tax dollars.

When it comes to the bottom of the ballot, just say no.

Greg McNeilly is president of the Michigan Freedom Fund.