Editor’s Note: Get laws right first time around

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Here’s something Michigan lawmakers need to consider before hastily passing legislation: Get it right the first time.

Because when they don’t, the process of fixing bad bills is tedious. And it makes lawmakers look like amateurs.

Take for instance two bills Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law this month. Senate Bill 571 was a campaign finance bill that got amended last minute with a provision strictly limiting what schools and local governments can tell voters about proposed tax increases two months before an election. That amendment was meant to prevent abuses by government advocating for more money, but it went too far and when Snyder signed the bill, he acknowledged lawmakers should revisit the issue. Plus, several GOP lawmakers who voted for the bill admitted after the fact that they hadn’t even read that addition. And now some, including Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, are introducing new bills to amend the law.

Similarly, when Snyder signed the controversial bill ending straight-ticket voting in Michigan, he told lawmakers they should also pass legislation that would expand access to absentee ballots.

He’s correct in his advice to the Legislature, but the governor should have demanded better bills to begin with and sent them back to lawmakers until they got it right. Because now, there’s no guarantee they will.