Archive for the ‘Proposal’ Category

Michigan Proposals 1 and 2 for 2014: An Analysis of the Wolf Hunting Refrenda

October 30, 2014

To fully understand Prosposal 14-1 and Proposal 14-2 that will be on the ballot here in Michigan one must go back to 2012 to understand the big picture.  In 2012, the Michigan Legislature passed Senate Bill 1350, which Governor Snyder signed, making it Public Act 520 of 2012.  The act added wolves to the definition of “game” animals; declared that wolf hunting was necessary to manage the growing population of wolves in order to protect humans, livestock, and pets; authorized a hunting season for wolves; established a licensing scheme; and established the Wolf Management Advisory Council.  Some citizens were opposed to the idea of wolf hunting, so they formed Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and filed a petition, with sufficient signatures, to have a referendum on Public Act 520.  Thus, it is this law that is on the ballot as Proposal 14-1.

(At this point, it is helpful to lay out the difference between an initiative, a referendum, and a proposal: An initiative is a citizen-initiated piece of legislation that goes before the Legislature if enough signatures are gathered; if the Legislature passes it, the legislation becomes law; if the Legislature does not pass it, it goes before the people for a vote.  A referendum is a citizen-initiated protest to a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor; those who want the law to stay vote “Yes”, while those opposed to the law vote “No”.  Once a referendum is certified, the law in question is suspended, pending the outcome of the election.  Thus, in an initiative, those filing the petition would vote “Yes”, while in a referendum, those filing the petition would vote “No”.  A proposal is anything that goes before the people for a vote, including referenda, initiatives, constitutional amendments, etc.)

I have no issue with voting “Yes” on Proposal 1, and unless you are opposed to the hunting of wolves, you likely will not either.  But Proposal 2 is where it gets a bit trickier.  After Keep Michigan Wolves Protected got Public Act 520 on the ballot as a referendum, the Legislature decided to pass another law, in case the referendum was successful; thus, Senate Bill 288 was passed, and Governor Snyder signed it, making it Public Act 21 of 2013.  The act continued the designation of the wolf as a “game” animal (since the bill was passed before the Public Act 520 referendum was certified, Public Act 520 had not yet been suspended, but if Proposal 1 were to pass, then the wolf would no longer be designated as a game animal); granted the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) the power to designate animals as game animals, with some restrictions (however, it also stipulated that only the Legislature has the power to remove animals from the list of game animals); granted the NRC the ability to establish the first open season for any animal that it adds to the list of game animals; granted the eliminated the fee for hunting licenses for military personnel; and granted the NRC sole authority to regulate fishing.  Again, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed a petition, with sufficient signatures, to have a referendum on Public Act 21, so it is now on the ballot as Proposal 14-2.

Personally, I am not a fan of Public Act 21; I do not like the added authority that the Legislature gave to the NRC, and I do not feel that it is wise to allow the agency to have the power to designate animals as game animals and establish a hunting season for such animals without any legislative input.  I also question the wisdom of granting the NRC exclusive authority to regulate fishing.  If the story had ended here, I likely would’ve voted Yes on Proposal 1 and No on Proposal 2, but what happened next made the whole situation much more interesting.

A group of citizens in favor of hunting wolves, under the name Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, successfully filed an initiative petition.  The proposal continued the designation of the wolf as a game animal; continued the grant to the NRC to designate animals as game animals and establish a first open season; continued the stipulation that the Legislature has the sole power to remove animals from the list of game animals; and appropriated $1,000,000 to the Department of Natural Resources to fight the invasion of Asian Carp.  The proposal also had a section that stipulated that if language from Public Act 520 or 21 was removed due to failure of either referenda, that language was reinstated by the initiative.  The Legislature adopted the initiative, meaning that it became law (Public Act 281 of 2014) without having to be signed by Governor Snyder.  So what makes the initiative so special?

The appropriation of money to the DNR means that, pursuant to Article 2, § 9 of the Michigan Constitution, the law cannot be subjected to a referendum petition.  (This specific issue was addressed in Michigan United Conservation Clubs v. Secretary of State, 464 Mich. 359 (2001), where the Michigan Supreme Court interpreted that any appropriation is an “appropriation” under this provision of the Constitution, which I agree with, even though the result is that the Legislature can make a law referendum-proof.)  In drafting the initiative, the drafters knew that adding the appropriation would make it referendum-proof, and in approving the initiative, the legislators knew that even though they had previously passed two bills to allow wolf hunting with pushback from voters, by passing this initiative, they would be making the act referendum-proof.  The inclusion of the appropriation was not simply a coincidence; the drafters, and the Legislature, knew what they were doing.  They knew that this was a hot-button issue that some (perhaps even many) voters opposed, yet they went forward and passed it in a way that would not allow a referendum on the issue.

I have no problem with the Legislature passing Public Act 21 after the petition for Public Act 520 was filed; if it wants to do so, that’s fine with me.  But what I do have a problem with is the Legislature passing an initiative with an appropriation provision in it solely to make that law referendum-proof.  To do so is disingenuous and out-of-line with the intent of the appropriations process.

So that gets us to where we are today: Proposal 1 and 2 are on the ballot, but even if the No voters win on both proposals, the result is still ultimately the same as if Yes were to win.  (It should be noted that a court could potentially overturn the initiative, but I see no legal grounds for that to happen, and I think the chances of that happening are next to none.  The voters could also push for a new initiative that would undo the last initiative, but that seems unlikely to be successful.)  But voting No on the proposals can still send a message.  Those opposed to wolf hunting overall should vote No on both, but those who respect the referendum process, regardless of their feelings on wolf hunting, should vote No on Proposal 2.

There has been a lot of confusion and dishonesty surrounding the proposals.  Contrary to what some Yes supporters say, these proposals have nothing to do with allowing hunters or citizens to kill nuisance wolves; nuisance wolves can already be killed under existing law.  Farmers can still kill wolves that threten their livestock (although allowing them to be hunted would decrease the wolf population and chance that their livestock would be threatened overall).  Those who say otherwise are not being honest.

So why do the proposals even matter?  Again, it is about making a statement that the Legislature should not abuse its appropriation power to remove the power of a referendum from the people.  Regardless of your feelings on wolf hunting, all Michiganders should support the ability of those opposed to wolf hunting to hold a referendum on legislation that allows for wolf hunting; furthermore, voting No on Proposal 2, because of the passage of Public Act 281, will not have any adverse effect on the existence of wolf hunting in Michigan.  For those reasons, I urge a No vote on at least Proposal 2.

For more information about voting in Tuesday’s election, please see below.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Michigan Proposal 1 of 2012: The Emergency Manager Law

October 25, 2012

Back in 2008, I went through and analyzed each of the proposals, so I figured I would do that again.  And there’s no better place to start than Proposal 1.

To start off, here is the actual ballot language:

PROPOSAL 12-1

A REFERENDUM ON PUBLIC ACT 4 OF 2011 –

THE EMERGENCY MANAGER LAW

Public Act 4 of 2011 would:

  • Establish criteria to assess the financial condition of local government units, including school districts.
  • Authorize Governor to appoint an emergency manager (EM) upon state finding of a financial emergency, and allow the EM to act in place of local government officials.
  • Require EM to develop financial and operating plans, which may include modification or termination of contracts, reorganization of government, and determination of expenditures, services, and use of assets until the emergency is resolved.
  • Alternatively, authorize state-appointed review team to enter into a local government approved consent decree.
  • Should this law be approved?

YES ____

NO ____

Now, in 2008, I analyzed the whole text of the amendment, but since this is a referendum on an already-passed bill, I’m going to skip that, and go straight to my analysis.  A copy of the full text can be found here.

Emergency managers are not new to the state.  This is actually a bill that amends Public Act 72 of 1990.

There were two major criticisms of the original law:

  1. Emergency financial managers were put in when it was too late.
  2. Once they were put in, they could do too little.

So, the Legislature tried to remedy this.  They added more triggers for when an emergency could be declared, and they gave the managers more powers.

Two of the powers the managers were given were especially controversial: the ability to remove elected officials from the municipality, and the ability to change or void collective bargaining agreements that the municipality had entered into.

Unions especially hated the latter provision, and they characterized it as a means of union busting.  But ultimately, it was a necessary provision, because time and time again, in struggling school districts and municipalities, unions have refused to give concessions, even when keeping their current contracts means the municipality will go bankrupt (and then, ironically, they would not get paid at all).  It was the stubbornness of the unions that made the provision necessary.

The second criticism was that it removed citizens democratic rights to elect their municipality leaders.  Ultimately, this is not a Constitutional right guaranteed to the people of Michigan.  The ability to hold municipal elections is not a Constitutional provision, and the state can take this privilege away if it so chooses.

My criticism was unlike these two and had to do with the expansion of when an “emergency” took place.  It included a clause that essentially said that an emergency could be defined as when the state executive branch says it’s occurring, and I viewed this as an overstep by the executive branch (although it did have weak limited checks and balances).

So that was my reason for initially thinking I would vote, “No”.  But as I thought about it more, I realized that my opposition was the minority opposition, and if it failed, it would fail because of provisions that I thought were good.  And if the law failed, it probably wouldn’t be introduced again.  Ultimately, there is more good in the law than bad, and I believe that the Legislature can (and should) fix the law if it passes the referendum.  The problems in the law should be fixed in the Legislature, not at the ballot box, and that is why I am supporting Proposal 1.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Michigan Ballot for 2008: Proposal 2: Stem Cell Research

September 18, 2008

EDIT: Now that WordPress has a little option to put polls in your blog posts, I’ve added a poll at the bottom of my post (the end of the blog post, not the end of the comments).

Alright, as promised, I will now be discussing Michigan’s Proposal 2, “Proposal 2008-02: A proposed constitutional amendment to permit with certain limitations stem cell research in Michigan.”  My analysis of Proposal 1, which legalizes medicinal marijuana is available here.

So, let’s first take a look at the ballot language:

 Stem Cell Research Ballot Question Committee

Ballot Wording as approved by the Board of State Canvassers

August 21, 2008

 

 PROPOSAL 08-2

 

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos —

— are created for fertility treatment purposes;

— are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs;

— would be discarded unless used for research;

— were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.

  • Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.
  • Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.
  • Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research, future therapies and cures.

 

Should this proposal be adopted?

Yes o

No o

100 WORDS

So that’s what will actually be on the ballot.  Here is  a copy of the actual amendments that will be made to the Michigan Constitution if this passes.  I’ll have my analysis throughout the amendments as well as a summary at the end:

 INITIATIVE PETITION AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION

A Proposal to Amend the Constitution of the State of Michigan by adding a new Article I, Section 27 as follows:

Article I, Section 27.

(1) Nothing in this section shall alter Michigan’s current prohibition on human cloning.

(2) To ensure that Michigan citizens have access to stem cell therapies and cures, and to ensure that physicians and researchers can conduct the most promising forms of medical research in this state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any research permitted under federal law on human embryos may be conducted in Michigan, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:

(a) No stem cells may be taken from a human embryo more than fourteen days after cell division begins; provided, however, that time during which an embryo is frozen does not count against this fourteen day limit.

(b) The human embryos were created for the purpose of fertility treatment and, with voluntary and informed consent, documented in writing, the person seeking fertility treatment chose to donate the embryos for research; and

i. the embryos were in excess of the clinical need of the person seeking the fertility treatment and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research; or

ii. the embryos were not suitable for implantation and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research.

This is where I need to bring up a key flaw in the whole debate over embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).  You have the camp who opposes ESCR because they believe that life begins at conception, and I fall into this camp.  Then you have the camp who argues, “But they’re going to be discarded anyway.”  And this is where the ESCR opposition has somewhat failed.  Many don’t address this issue and simply say, “Well, we shouldn’t be doing research on them.”  That’s not the point.  The point needs to be that instead of making EXTRA embryos for in vitro fertilization, we should be making embryos AS NEEDED.  Sure, it’s costlier, but it doesn’t create embryos that will be destroyed.  Now, if you don’t believe that life begins at conception, then this point is irrelevant.  I just wanted to point out that the issue for pro-lifers should NOT be that ESCR is the problem, but that the creation of EXTRA embryos is the main problem.  Once we stop this, ESCR will become irrelevant.

(c) No person may, for valuable consideration, purchase or sell human embryos for stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures.

Good provision.

(d) All stem cell research and all stem cell therapies and cures must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws of general applicability, including but not limited to laws concerning scientific and medical practices and patient safety and privacy, to the extent that any such laws do not:

i. prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures that are permitted by the provisions of this section; or

ii. create disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such research or therapies or cures.

(3) Any provision of this section held unconstitutional shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

I understand that this is a common practice in proposals, but with this being such a small proposal, I think that if a section of this proposal is held unconstitutional, ESPECIALLY in section (2)(b), the whole proposal will become extremely weaker than initially intended.

Overall, I don’t like the proposal.  I don’t think we should be making ANY extra embryos, and justifying it by saying, “Well why let those embryos go to waste” will inhibit us from ending the bad practice of making excess embryos.

Plus, adult and umbilical stem cells have proven to be way more helpful than ESCs, which have given us NOTHING so far.

So, I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now–I will be voting “No” for this come November.  As of now, my prediction is that this proposal will fail with voters voting somewhere around 43-57%.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan Ballot for 2008: Proposal 1: Medicinal Marijuana

September 17, 2008

EDIT: Now that WordPress has a little option to put polls in your blog posts, I’ve added a poll at the bottom of my post (the end of the blog post, not the end of the comments).

As I promised yesterday, today I will be analyzing “Proposal 2008-01: A legislative initiative to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana,” also known as the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

First, let’s take a look at the ballot language:

 Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care

Ballot Wording as approved by the Board of State Canvassers

August 21, 2008

 

 PROPOSAL 08-1

 

A LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE TO PERMIT THE USE AND CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA FOR SPECIFIED MEDICAL CONDITIONS

 

The proposed law would:

  • Permit physician approved use of marijuana by registered patients with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, MS and other conditions as may be approved by the Department of Community Health.
  • Permit registered individuals to grow limited amounts of marijuana for qualifying patients in an enclosed, locked facility.
  • Require Department of Community Health to establish an identification card system for patients qualified to use marijuana and individuals qualified to grow marijuana.
  • Permit registered and unregistered patients and primary caregivers to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana.

 

Should this proposal be adopted?

Yes ¨

No ¨

97 WORDS

Alright, so that’s what’s going to actually be on the ballot.  Now, here’s a copy of the amendments that this proposal will make to the Michigan Constitution, and I’ll have my analysis throughout the amendments as well as below:

 

 INITIATIVE PETITION AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION

A Proposal to Amend the Constitution of the State of Michigan by adding a new Article I, Section 27 as follows:

An initiation of Legislation to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana; to provide protections for the medical use of marihuana; to provide for a system of registry identification cards for qualifying patients and primary caregivers; to impose a fee for registry application and renewal; to provide for the promulgation of rules; to provide for the administration of this act; to provide for enforcement of this act; to provide for affirmative defenses; and to provide for penalties for violations of this act.

The People of the State of Michigan enact:

1. Short Title.

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

2. Findings.

Sec. 2. The people of the State of Michigan find and declare that:

(a) Modern medical research, including as found by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in a March 1999 report, has discovered beneficial uses for marihuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions.

(b) Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports and the Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics show that approximately 99 out of every 100 marihuana arrests in the United States are made under state law, rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marihuana.

(c) Although federal law currently prohibits any use of marihuana except under very limited circumstances, states are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. The laws of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington do not penalize the medical use and cultivation of marihuana. Michigan joins in this effort for the health and welfare of its citizens.

But the federal government COULD still come in and arrest a Michigander, so it’s not like this law would give immunity in those instances.

3. Definitions. Sec. 3. As used in this act:

(a) “Debilitating medical condition” means 1 or more of the following:

(1) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella, or the treatment of these conditions.

(2) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces 1 or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.

(3) Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department, as provided for in section 5(a).

(b) “Department” means the state department of community health.

“Enclosed, locked facility” means a closet, room, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a registered primary caregiver or registered qualifying patient.

(d) “Marihuana” means that term as defined in section 7106 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7106.

(e) “Medical use” means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marihuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.

(f) “Physician” means an individual licensed as a physician under Part 170 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17001 to 333.17084, or an osteopathic physician under Part 175 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17501 to 333.17556.

(g) “Primary caregiver” means a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of marihuana and who has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.

(h) “Qualifying patient” means a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.

(i) “Registry identification card” means a document issued by the department that identifies a person as a registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver.

(j) “Usable marihuana” means the dried leaves and flowers of the marihuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant.

(k) “Visiting qualifying patient” means a patient who is not a resident of this state or who has been a resident of this state for less than 30 days.

(l) “Written certification” means a document signed by a physician, stating the patient’s debilitating medical condition and stating that, in the physician’s professional opinion, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.

That all sounds good to me.

4. Protections for the Medical Use of Marihuana.

Sec. 4. (a) A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the qualifying patient possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana, and, if the qualifying patient has not specified that a primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. Any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots shall also be allowed under state law and shall not be included in this amount.

(b) A primary caregiver who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for assisting a qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department’s registration process with the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the primary caregiver possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed:

(1) 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana for each qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department’s registration process; and

(2) for each registered qualifying patient who has specified that the primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility; and

(3) any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots.

(c) A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting in accordance with this act, unless the person’s behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.

It’s good that they put in a safeguard provision here.

(d) There shall be a presumption that a qualifying patient or primary caregiver is engaged in the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act if the qualifying patient or primary caregiver:

(1) is in possession of a registry identification card; and

(2) is in possession of an amount of marihuana that does not exceed the amount allowed under this act. The presumption may be rebutted by evidence that conduct related to marihuana was not for the purpose of alleviating the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition, in accordance with this act.

I doubt they’re going to enforce that, since that would be pretty hard to prove, and arresting somebody with a card would be a lawsuit waiting to happen, unless it’s REALLY clear that they weren’t doing it for medicinal purposes.

(e) A registered primary caregiver may receive compensation for costs associated with assisting a registered qualifying patient in the medical use of marihuana. Any such compensation shall not constitute the sale of controlled substances.

(f) A physician shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by the Michigan board of medicine, the Michigan board of osteopathic medicine and surgery, or any other business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, solely for providing written certifications, in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship and after the physician has completed a full assessment of the qualifying patient’s medical history, or for otherwise stating that, in the physician’s professional opinion, a patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the serious or debilitating medical condition, provided that nothing shall prevent a professional licensing board from sanctioning a physician for failing to properly evaluate a patient’s medical condition or otherwise violating the standard of care for evaluating medical conditions.

(g) A person shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for providing a registered qualifying patient or a registered primary caregiver with marihuana paraphernalia for purposes of a qualifying patient’s medical use of marihuana.

(h) Any marihuana, marihuana paraphernalia, or licit property that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of marihuana, as allowed under this act, or acts incidental to such use, shall not be seized or forfeited.

(i) A person shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, solely for being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, or for assisting a registered qualifying patient with using or administering marihuana.

Another good provision, but this provision could also easily be abused (you know a guy who uses medicinal marijuana, so you get high at his house while he’s using it legitimately.  Although the law doesn’t say that you can’t be questioned or detained).  Overall, it’s a good provision to have, to keep cops who don’t like this amendment from arresting people around medicinal marijuana users.

(j) A registry identification card, or its equivalent, that is issued under the laws of another state, district, territory, commonwealth, or insular possession of the United States that allows the medical use of marihuana by a visiting qualifying patient, or to allow a person to assist with a visiting qualifying patient’s medical use of marihuana, shall have the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the department.

(k) Any registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver who sells marihuana to someone who is not allowed to use marihuana for medical purposes under this act shall have his or her registry identification card revoked and is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both, in addition to any other penalties for the distribution of marihuana.

Good provision.

5. Department to Promulgate Rules.

Sec. 5. (a) Not later than 120 days after the effective date of this act, the department shall promulgate rules pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, that govern the manner in which the department shall consider the addition of medical conditions or treatments to the list of debilitating medical conditions set forth in section 3(a) of this act. In promulgating rules, the department shall allow for petition by the public to include additional medical conditions and treatments. In considering such petitions, the department shall include public notice of, and an opportunity to comment in a public hearing upon, such petitions. The department shall, after hearing, approve or deny such petitions within 180 days of the submission of the petition. The approval or denial of such a petition shall be considered a final department action, subject to judicial review pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328. Jurisdiction and venue for judicial review are vested in the circuit court for the county of Ingham.

Sounds good to me.

(b) Not later than 120 days after the effective date of this act, the department shall promulgate rules pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, that govern the manner in which it shall consider applications for and renewals of registry identification cards for qualifying patients and primary caregivers. The department’s rules shall establish application and renewal fees that generate revenues sufficient to offset all expenses of implementing and administering this act. The department may establish a sliding scale of application and renewal fees based upon a qualifying patient’s family

income. The department may accept gifts, grants, and other donations from private sources in order to reduce the application and renewal fees.

“This card has been brought to you by Marge’s Marijuana Garden.”

6. Administering the Department’s Rules.

Sec. 6. (a) The department shall issue registry identification cards to qualifying patients who submit the following, in accordance with the department’s rules:

(1) A written certification;

(2) Application or renewal fee;

(3) Name, address, and date of birth of the qualifying patient, except that if the applicant is homeless, no address is required;

(4) Name, address, and telephone number of the qualifying patient’s physician;

(5) Name, address, and date of birth of the qualifying patient’s primary caregiver, if any; and

(6) If the qualifying patient designates a primary caregiver, a designation as to whether the qualifying patient or primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to possess marihuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use.

(b) The department shall not issue a registry identification card to a qualifying patient who is under the age of 18 unless:

(1) The qualifying patient’s physician has explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marihuana to the qualifying patient and to his or her parent or legal guardian;

(2) The qualifying patient’s parent or legal guardian submits a written certification from 2 physicians; and

(3) The qualifying patient’s parent or legal guardian consents in writing to:

(A) Allow the qualifying patient’s medical use of marihuana;

(B) Serve as the qualifying patient’s primary caregiver; and

(C) Control the acquisition of the marihuana, the dosage, and the frequency of the medical use of marihuana by the qualifying patient.

(c) The department shall verify the information contained in an application or renewal submitted pursuant to this section, and shall approve or deny an application or renewal within 15 days of receiving it. The department may deny an application or renewal only if the applicant did not provide the information required pursuant to this section, or if the department determines that the information

provided was falsified. Rejection of an application or renewal is considered a final department action, subject to judicial review. Jurisdiction and venue for judicial review are vested in the circuit court for the county of Ingham.

(d) The department shall issue a registry identification card to the primary caregiver, if any, who is named in a qualifying patient’s approved application; provided that each qualifying patient can have no more than 1 primary caregiver, and a primary caregiver may assist no more than 5 qualifying patients with their medical use of marihuana.

(e) The department shall issue registry identification cards within 5 days of approving an application or renewal, which shall expire 1 year after the date of issuance. Registry identification cards shall contain all of the following:

(1) Name, address, and date of birth of the qualifying patient.

(2) Name, address, and date of birth of the primary caregiver, if any, of the qualifying patient.

(3) The date of issuance and expiration date of the registry identification card.

(4) A random identification number.

(5) A photograph, if the department requires 1 by rule.

(6) A clear designation showing whether the primary caregiver or the qualifying patient will be allowed under state law to possess the marihuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use, which shall be determined based solely on the qualifying patient’s preference.

(f) If a registered qualifying patient’s certifying physician notifies the department in writing that the patient has ceased to suffer from a debilitating medical condition, the card shall become null and void upon notification by the department to the patient.

(g) Possession of, or application for, a registry identification card shall not constitute probable cause or reasonable suspicion, nor shall it be used to support the search of the person or property of the person possessing or applying for the registry identification card, or otherwise subject the person or property of the person to inspection by any local, county or state governmental agency.

(h) The following confidentiality rules shall apply:

(1) Applications and supporting information submitted by qualifying patients, including information regarding their primary caregivers and physicians, are confidential.

(2) The department shall maintain a confidential list of the persons to whom the department has issued registry identification cards. Individual names and other identifying information on the list is confidential and is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.

(3) The department shall verify to law enforcement personnel whether a registry identification card is valid, without disclosing more information than is reasonably necessary to verify the authenticity of the registry identification card.

(4) A person, including an employee or official of the department or another state agency or local unit of government, who discloses confidential information in violation of this act is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both. Notwithstanding this provision, department employees may notify law enforcement about falsified or fraudulent information submitted to the department.

(i) The department shall submit to the legislature an annual report that does not disclose any identifying information about qualifying patients, primary caregivers, or physicians, but does contain, at a minimum, all of the following information:

(1) The number of applications filed for registry identification cards.

(2) The number of qualifying patients and primary caregivers approved in each county.

(3) The nature of the debilitating medical conditions of the qualifying patients.

(4) The number of registry identification cards revoked.

(5) The number of physicians providing written certifications for qualifying patients.

I have mixed views on this section.  On the one hand, I see the registration cards as unnecessary – why can’t we just have a prescription type system for this?  We don’t have cards for Vicodin.  On the other hand, I realize that the use of marijuana is  going to generally be a longer usage than other drugs.  Also, this makes it an easy way for cops to tell if the person is legally using marijuana.  Cops don’t go around checking prescriptions when they see somebody taking a pill, but it would happen with marijuana (even though using somebody else’s prescription is just as illegal as using marijuana is).  I think that it’s unfortunately necessary, but I just want the cost for these cards to stay down, so that the state isn’t wasting money on these.

7. Scope of Act.

Sec. 7. (a) The medical use of marihuana is allowed under state law to the extent that it is carried out in accordance with the provisions of this act.

(b) This act shall not permit any person to do any of the following:

(1) Undertake any task under the influence of marihuana, when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice.

(2) Possess marihuana, or otherwise engage in the medical use of marihuana:

(A) in a school bus;

(B) on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school; or

(C) in any correctional facility.

(3) Smoke marihuana:

(A) on any form of public transportation; or

(B) in any public place.

(4) Operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana.

(5) Use marihuana if that person does not have a serious or debilitating medical condition.

Another good set of provisions.

(c) Nothing in this act shall be construed to require:

(1) A government medical assistance program or commercial or non-profit health insurer to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of marihuana.

So that means Blue Cross / Blue Shield won’t cover it, and I’m doubting any insurance companies will.

(2) An employer to accommodate the ingestion of marihuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marihuana.

(d) Fraudulent representation to a law enforcement official of any fact or circumstance relating to the medical use of marihuana to avoid arrest or prosecution shall be punishable by a fine of $500.00, which shall be in addition to any other penalties that may apply for making a false statement or for the use of marihuana other than use undertaken pursuant to this act.

(e) All other acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act do not apply to the medical use of marihuana as provided for by this act.

All those sound good.

8. Affirmative Defense and Dismissal for Medical Marihuana.

Sec. 8. (a) Except as provided in section 7, a patient and a patient’s primary caregiver, if any, may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marihuana, and this defense shall be presumed valid where the evidence shows that:

(1) A physician has stated that, in the physician’s professional opinion, after having completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition;

(2) The patient and the patient’s primary caregiver, if any, were collectively in possession of a quantity of marihuana that was not more than was reasonably

necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marihuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition; and

(3) The patient and the patient’s primary caregiver, if any, were engaged in the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition.

(b) A person may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana in a motion to dismiss, and the charges shall be dismissed following an evidentiary hearing where the person shows the elements listed in subsection (a).

(c) If a patient or a patient’s primary caregiver demonstrates the patient’s medical purpose for using marihuana pursuant to this section, the patient and the patient’s primary caregiver shall not be subject to the following for the patient’s medical use of marihuana:

(1) disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau; or

(2) forfeiture of any interest in or right to property.

That all looks good.

9. Enforcement of this Act.

Sec. 9. (a) If the department fails to adopt rules to implement this act within 120 days of the effective date of this act, a qualifying patient may commence an action in the circuit court for the county of Ingham to compel the department to perform the actions mandated pursuant to the provisions of this act.

(b) If the department fails to issue a valid registry identification card in response to a valid application or renewal submitted pursuant to this act within 20 days of its submission, the registry identification card shall be deemed granted, and a copy of the registry identification application or renewal shall be deemed a valid registry identification card.

(c) If at any time after the 140 days following the effective date of this act the department is not accepting applications, including if it has not created rules allowing qualifying patients to submit applications, a notarized statement by a qualifying patient containing the information required in an application, pursuant to section 6(a)(3)-(6) together with a written certification, shall be deemed a valid registry identification card.

10. Severability.

Sec. 10. Any section of this act being held invalid as to any person or circumstances shall not affect the application of any other section of this act that can be given full effect without the invalid section or application.

Alright, so now, my analysis:

I’m voting for this proposal.  As I’ve stated before, I am continuing to debate with myself over the issue of marijuana as a whole, but I decided months ago that I was going to vote for this one.

I think the advocates for this proposal should be GLAD that the proposal to legalize all marijuana didn’t get enough signatures.  If both would’ve gotten on the ballot, I think that the all-marijuana proposal would’ve failed and people would’ve just voted both down (come on, you think people are really going to look information up?  They’ll just hear on TV: “Marijuana is bad,” not notice the difference between the two propositions, and both fail.

OK, so the blogger over at The things in my head go ’round and ’round just pointed out that I never said exactly WHY I’m voting for this proposal.  So, here’s why:

  • I don’t see why the government should make this an illegal drug, when there are drugs like Vicodin that have side effects that make you high as well.
  • The government hasn’t outlawed alcohol which causes much more damage than marijuana.
  • I don’t see marijuana as that dangerous of a drug.
  • Why should we limit the medicinal use of marijuana if it can help people?  It’s not like we’re just handing it out to anybody, it’ll be closely regulated.  I see little reason for why even people who oppose recreational use of marijuana should oppose this proposal.

Although I’ll be voting for this in November, I’m not a huge advocate of the proposal.  If it doesn’t pass, I’ll move on.  This just isn’t a huge issue to me.  I’ll be happy if it passes, but if not, it won’t be a huge deal to me.

However, I don’t think that’ll be an issue.  I think this proposal will pass, with voters voting along the lines of somewhere around 62%-38%.

Tomorrow I’ll be analyzing the stem cell research proposal, so come on back!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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A Look at the Proposals on the Michigan Ballot for November 2008

September 16, 2008

Alright, so a few months ago, I posted a copy of all of the ballot initiatives that were going around trying to get signatures.

Well, since then, all but 2 of those initiatives failed to get on the ballot.  Below is a copy of the Ballot Proposal Status, published by the Secretary of State:

 August 26, 2008

STATE OF MICHIGAN

STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSAL STATUS

NOVEMBER 4, 2008 GENERAL ELECTION

STATEWIDE PROPOSALS QUALIFIED TO APPEAR ON NOVEMBER 4, 2008 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT

COALITION FOR COMPASSIONATE CARE: Initiative petition approved as to form June 6, 2007; signatures filed November 20, 2007; petition determined sufficient March 3, 2008; proposal language certified to State Legislature March 3, 2008; 40-day consideration period reserved for State Legislature elapsed April 12, 2008.

Purpose: Legislative initiative to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana.

Contact: Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, P.O. Box 20489, Ferndale, Michigan 48220. Dianne Byrum (517) 333-1606.

STEM CELL RESEARCH: Initiative petition approved as to form February 4, 2008; signatures filed July 7, 2008; petition determined sufficient August 21, 2008.

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to permit with certain limitations stem cell research in Michigan.

Contact: Stem Cell Research BQC, P.O. Box 20216, Lansing, Michigan 48901. Mark Burton (517) 974-4004.

Although I’m not going to get into details about each of those proposals now (I’m going to split them up and do one tomorrow and the other on Thursday), I will briefly summarize each.

  1. The Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care proposal would legalize medicinal marijuana, and establish an ID system for regulating who is and is not allowed to use it.
  2. The Stem Cell Research proposal would expand the use of human embryos for research, as long as the embryos were going to be discarded anyway, after being leftovers from a fertility clinic.  It would also ban people from selling or purchasing embryos for research.

Now, how will I vote on these proposals?

  1. Medicinal marijuana – Yes.
  2. Stem cell research – No.

My predictions on the passage of the bills?

  1. Medicinal marijuana – passes (62%-38%)
  2. Stem cell research – fails (43%-57%)

Again, tomorrow I’ll have an in-depth analysis of the medicinal marijuana proposal, complete with ballot language and the actual changes to the law that will happen if it passes.

Done Discussing/Endorsing/Predicting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan’s Top House Race: Gary Peters vs. Joe Knollenberg (vs. Quacky Dr. Jack Kevorkian)

May 13, 2008

The following post is also being syndicated on Right Michigan, where I was offered a position to cover Michigan’s 9th District:

I would first like to thank Nick for allowing me the opportunity to cover stories on the race for Michigan’s 9th District for his site.

First, what exactly is Michigan’s 9th District?

It’s Oakland, Bloomfield, Southfield, and West Bloomfield townships; parts of Orion and Waterford townships; the cities of Farmington, Farmington Hills, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Lake Angelus; and the villages of Franklin, Bingham Farms and Beverly Hills (bold indicates where Representative Knollenberg won; italics indicate a close margin; villages were not categorized since they do not vote on their own).  Or, for you visual people, it’s this:

What are the demographics?

  1. 83.1% White
  2. 8.1% Black
  3. 5.6% Asian
  4. 3.0% Hispanic
  5. 0.5% Native American
  6. 0.5% Other

So, how does the district vote?

  • The district has been given Cook Partisan Index of R+0, meaning that the district is more Republican than other average districts, but by less than 1%.
  • The district voted for George Bush in 2004.
  • The district voted for Al Gore in 2000 (although the make-up of the district was different from now).
  • The district has voted for Joe Knollenberg since 2002.

Why is this race so important?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) placed this district in the top 13 districts that they are targetting in their Red to Blue campaign.

What exactly is the Red to Blue campaign?

The DCCC put out this press release explaining the campaign:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today announced the first round of Red to Blue candidates challenging Republican incumbents. This is the second slate of Democratic congressional candidates that have qualified for the competitive DCCC Red to Blue program, the first slate was for candidates in open seats. These candidates earned a spot in the program by surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress.

These candidates have come out of the gate strong and the Red to Blue Program will give them the financial and structural edge to be even more competitive in November,” said Chairman Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The candidates for change in our first round of challenger Red to Blue are strong examples of Democrats who represent a commitment to new priorities for the families in their districts.

The Red to Blue program highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, and strategic support. The program will introduce Democratic supporters to new, competitive candidates in order to help expand the fundraising base for these campaigns.

Chairman Van Hollen joined Red to Blue co-chairs Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Artur Davis (D-AL), and Bruce Braley (D-IA) to announce the first 13 challenger candidates for change who qualified for the Red to Blue:

Kay Barnes (MO-06)
Anne Barth (WV-02)
Darcy Burner (WA-08)
Robert Daskas (NV-03)
Steve Driehaus (OH-01)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Christine Jennings (FL-13)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Gary Peters (MI-09)
Mark Schauer (MI-07)
Dan Seals (IL-10)
Red to Blue was a proven success in the 2004 and 2006 cycles. In 2004, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $7.5 million for twenty seven campaigns across the country with an average of more than $250,000 per campaign. In 2006, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $22.6 million for 56 campaigns with an average of $404,000 per campaign. Red to Blue was also responsible for solidifying the structure of dozens of campaigns and making a real difference for Democrats across America.

Soon after the DCCC put this up on their website, they got some comments about these candidates not being what’s best for the party in terms of stances, but the fact that they’ll be able to raise large amounts of money:

Your only criteria for inclusion seem to be fund-raising ability, not issues.
Isn’t this what scuttled the progress of the party over the years since
you deep-sixed progressive programs and started going to corporations hat in hand?

Soon after other negative comments, the DCCC disabled comments on that press release.

What were the results of the 2006 Election?

  1. Joe Knollenberg (R) 142,290 51.56%
  2. Nancy Skinner (D) 127,620 46.21%
  3. Adam Goodman (L) 3,702 1.34%
  4. Matthew R. Abel (G) 2,468 0.89%

Is this actually close?

For Knollenberg, it is somewhat close, since he was a 14-year incumbent, but he still won by over 5%.

So, who exactly is Gary Peters?

Gary Peters is running against Representative Knollenberg.  He was a state Senator from 1994-2002, when he was term-limited out.  He then ran against Mike Cox for Attorney General in 2002, where he lost the general election.

He was the Michigan Lottery Commissioner from 2003-2007.

He was hired to teach at Central Michigan University, where he was the center of controversy (that’s a way too long story to tell, so just read The Peters Report or my category of posts on him here, or just search “Gary Peters” here on the Right Michigan website).

Who is Jack Kevorkian?

Jack Kevorkian is a doctor who was sent to jail a few years ago for assisting a patient in committing suicide.  Dr. Kevorkian hired attorney Geoffrey Fieger to represent him in that case, but obviously, he lost.  He was sentenced for 10-25 years, but only served 8, after the parole board let him out early due to his kidney illness.  He was expected to die within a year of leaving prison in May of 2006, but instead, he decided to run for Congress, against Joe Knollenberg and Gary Peters.

How will having Dr. Kevorkian running affect the race?

That is somewhat hard to tell.  I have done some calculations.  In 1998, Proposal B was brought before voters to allow for assisted suicide.  Although it failed statewide as well as in Oakland County, it did better than average in the 9th District (33.05%-66.95%).  I did some calculations, and if we assume that only 75% of voters who voted against the proposal vote for Knollenberg in 2008, Knollenberg would still come out with a win just above 50%.  Peters would received around 45%, and Kevorkian would receive 5%.

This assumes that Kevorkian only gets 5%, and I think he will get a little more from the Democrats who are unsatissfied with the direction of the party.  So, if we assume that Kevorkian gets 8%, 2% more from Peters and 1% from swing-Knollenberg-voters (libertarians), we would have Knollenberg with 49%, Peters with 43% and Kevorkian with 8%.  This leaves plenty of room for Knollenberg to lose a few voters who are mad at the Republican party an the Iraq War, but I think Knollenberg is pretty safe this election.

Again, I’d like to thank Nick for allowing me to report on this race.

Next week, I’ll be looking into some of the fundraising of this race.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan Supreme Court : No More Health Benefits for Gays’ Partners

May 8, 2008

Yesterday, the Michigan Supreme Court decided a case dealing with whether or not public employers are allowed to provide health care benefits to partners of homosexuals.  The Court reached that decision in a 5-2 vote in the case of National Pride At Work v. Governor of Michigan.

Here’s an excerpt from the opinion, written by Justice Stephen Markman:

 We granted leave to appeal to consider whether the marriage amendment, Const 1963, art 1, § 25, which states that “the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose,” prohibits public employers from providing health-insurance benefits to their employees’ qualified same-sex domestic partners. Because we agree with the Court of Appeals that providing such benefits does violate the marriage amendment, we affirm its judgment.

CONCLUSION

The trial court held that providing health-insurance benefits to domestic partners does not violate the marriage amendment because public employers are not recognizing domestic partnerships as unions similar to marriage, given the significant distinctions between the legal effects accorded to these two unions.
However, given that the marriage amendment prohibits the recognition of unions similar to marriage “for any purpose,” the pertinent question is not whether these unions give rise to all of the same legal effects; rather, it is whether these unions are being recognized as unions similar to marriage “for any purpose.”
Recognizing this and concluding that these unions are indeed being recognized as similar unions “for any purpose,” the Court of Appeals reversed. We affirm its judgment. That is, we conclude that the marriage amendment, Const 1963, art 1, § 25, which states that “the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose,” prohibits public employers from providing health-insurance benefits to their employees’ qualified same-sex domestic partners.

Stephen J. Markman
Clifford W. Taylor
Elizabeth A. Weaver
Maura D. Corrigan
Robert P. Young, Jr.

Justice Marilyn J. Kelly wrote the following in her dissent:

The issue we decide is whether the so-called “marriage amendment” of the Michigan Constitution prevents public employers from voluntarily providing health benefits to their employees’ same-sex domestic partners. The majority has determined that it does. I disagree.

First, the language of the amendment itself prohibits nothing more than the recognition of same-sex marriages or similar unions. It is a perversion of the amendment’s language to conclude that, by voluntarily offering the benefits at issue, a public employer recognizes a union similar to marriage. Second, the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the amendment strongly suggest that Michigan voters did not intend to prohibit public employers from offering healthcare benefits to their employees’ same-sex partners. The majority decision does not represent “the law which the people have made, [but rather] some other law which the words of the constitution may possibly be made to express.”
Accordingly, I dissent.

CONCLUSION

The majority decides that the “marriage amendment” prevents public employers from voluntarily entering into contractual agreements to provide health benefits to their employees’ same-sex domestic partners. Its decision is contrary to the people’s intent as demonstrated by the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the amendment and as expressed in the amendment’s language. For
those reasons, I must dissent.

Furthermore, by proceeding as it does, the majority condones and even encourages the use of misleading tactics in ballot campaigns by ignoring the extrinsic evidence available to it. CPM petitioned to place the “marriage amendment” on the ballot, telling the public that the amendment would not prohibit public employers from offering health benefits to their employees’ samesex domestic partners. Yet CPM argued to this Court that the “plain language of Michigan’s Marriage Amendment” prohibits public employers from granting the benefits at issue. Either CPM misrepresented the meaning of the amendment to the State Board of Canvassers and to the people before the election or it misrepresents the meaning to us now. Whichever is true, this Court should not allow CPM to succeed using such antics. The result of the majority’s disregard of CPM’s preelection statements is that, in the future, organizations may be encouraged to use lies and deception to win over voters or the Court. This should be a discomforting thought for us all.

Marilyn Kelly
Michael F. Cavanagh

Here’s the copy of Proposal 2 of 2004:

PROPOSAL 04-2

 

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO SPECIFY WHAT CAN

BE RECOGNIZED AS A “MARRIAGE OR SIMILAR UNION” FOR ANY PURPOSE

 

The proposal would amend the state constitution to provide that “the union of one man and one

woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any

purpose.

And here’s an excerpt from the the Constitution (Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 1, Constitution of Michigan of 1963, Constitution-I, Article I, § 25):

§ 25 Marriage.

Sec. 25.

To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.

Many people who disagree with the ruling cite sources from the Michigan Christian Citizens Alliance’s committee, Citizens for the Protection of Marriage (CPM), when they said that the amendment was simply about marriage.  One source was a CPM brochure:

Proposal 2 is Only about Marriage

Marriage is a union between a husband and wife. Proposal 2 will keep it that way. This is not about rights or benefits or how people choose to live their life. This has to do with family, children and the way people are. It merely settles the question once and for all what marriage is—for families today and future generations.

Well, honestly, brochures aren’t legal documents.  That was a brochure to get more people to vote for the amendment.  It may have been unethical, but it wasn’t illegal, and the Supreme Court’s job is not to interpret a brochure, but the Constitution, and the constitution clearly states, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose” (emphasis mine), and determining health care benefits is one of those purposes.  I agree with the Court’s ruling.

I just don’t think that the government should be rewarding people for sinning.  I don’t support gay marriage or civil unions as they’ve been proposed so far.  What I WOULD support is the government to remove itself from marriages and give civil unions to any 2 people who wanted it (brother and sister, mother and daughter, husband and wife, a man and his neighbor, etc).  That would make it so that those 2 people could have whatever benefits they want, and it removes “love” completely from the picture and makes it purely objective.  But that will never happen.  Why?  Because gays want their time to shine, and if they are given rights with a bunch of other people, it won’t be something new and exclusive to them.

So, again, I fully support the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in this case.  It doesn’t matter what the “intentions” of the amendment were, wording is wording, and it seems pretty clear to me what that wording means.

(I will now list the other plaintiffs in this case: Becky Allen, Dorthea Agnostopoulos, Adnan Ayoub, Meghan Bellanger, Judith Block, Mary M. Brisbois, Wade Carlson, Courtney D. Chapin, Michael Chapman, Michelle Corwin, Lori Curry, Joseph Darby, Scott Dennis, Jim Etzkorn, Jill Fuller, Susan Halsey-Ceragh, Peter Hammer, Debra Harrah, Ty Hiither, Jolinda Jach, Terry Korreck, Craig Kukuk, Gary Lindsay, Kevin McMann, A.T. Miller, Kitty O’Neil, Dennis Patrick, Tom Patrick, Gregg Pizzi, Kathleen Poelker, Jerome Post, Barbara Ramber, Paul Renwick, Dahlia Schwartz, Alexandra Stern, Gwen Stokes, Ken Cyberski, Joanne Beemon, Carol Borgeson, Michael Falk, and Matt Scott. “Plaintiff National Pride at Work, Inc., is a nonprofit organization of the American Federation of Labor–Council of Industrial Organizations. The remaining plaintiffs are employees of the city of Kalamazoo, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, the Clinton/Eaton/Ingham County Community Mental Health Board, or the state of Michigan and those employees’ same-sex partners. Because the benefit plans of Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, and the Eaton/Clinton/Ingham Community Mental Health Board are not part of the record, they are not discussed. Likewise, this opinion does not address whether private employers can provide health-insurance benefits to their employees’ same-sex domestic partners.”)

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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A Look at the Michigan Ballot for 2008: Proposals: Marijuana, Stem Cells, the Senate, Health Care, Taxes, and More

April 23, 2008

**I know that a lot of people are finding this page from search engine searches, but I just wanted to let you know that this blog post is severely out of date.  I have 3 updates about the proposals that I’ve put out since I did this one.  The first is a general summary of the proposals that made it on the ballot.  The second is a post about the medicinal marijuana proposal.  And the third is on the stem cell research proposal.**

Originally, I was just going to do this in one blog post, but I realized that my views on one proposal alone are going to be incredibly long, so today, I am just going to introduce the proposals that might be on the ballot this November.  The following document was put out by the Secretary of State on April 14, 2008:

STATE OF MICHIGAN

STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSAL STATUS

NOVEMBER 4, 2008 GENERAL ELECTION

 

I. STATEWIDE PROPOSALS QUALIFIED TO APPEAR ON NOVEMBER 4, 2008 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT

 

A. COALITION FOR COMPASSIONATE CARE: Initiative petition approved as to form June 6, 2007; signatures filed November 20, 2007; petition determined sufficient March 3, 2008; proposal language certified to State Legislature March 3, 2008; 40-day consideration period reserved for State Legislature elapsed April 12, 2008.

Purpose: Legislative initiative to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana.

Contact: Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, P.O. Box 20489, Ferndale, MI 48220. Dianne Byrum (517) 333-1606.

 

II. LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS CURRENTLY PENDING BEFORE STATE LEGISLATURE

None at this date.

 

 

III. STATEWIDE PROPOSAL PETITIONS CURRENTLY BEING REVIEWED FOR SUFFICIENCY

None at this date.

 

IV. STATEWIDE PROPOSAL PETITIONS “APPROVED AS TO FORM” IN PREPARATION FOR CIRCULATION

 

A. MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL PEACE: Initiative petition approved as to form November 27, 2006.

Purpose: Legislative initiative to permit anyone 18 and over to use cannabis on private property; provide penalties for the use of cannabis in public areas; and permit cultivation of cannabis on residential properties.

 

Contact: Medical and Recreational Peace, P.O. Box 102, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827-0102.

 

B. HEALTH CARE FOR MICHIGAN: Initiative petition approved as to form December 20, 2007.

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to require the State Legislature to pass laws to ensure that “every Michigan resident has affordable and comprehensive health care coverage through a fair and cost-effective financing system.”

Contact: Health Care for Michigan, 28342 Dartmouth Street, Madison Heights, Michigan 48071. Gary Benjamin (313) 964-4130 Ext. 229.

 

C. PART-TIME LEGISLATURE: Initiative petition approved as to form December 20, 2007.

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to provide for a part-time legislature, reduce legislative salaries and limit legislative benefits.

Contact: Part-time Legislature Ballot Question Committee, 1840 North Michigan #200, Saginaw, Michigan 48602. Gregory C. Schmid (989) 799-4641. Website: <www.PartTimeLegislature.com>.

 

D. PEOPLE’S CHOICE TAX REPEAL: Initiative petition approved as to form February 4, 2008.

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to require a statewide vote on any state statute that creates a new tax, continues a tax, reduces a tax deduction or tax credit or increases the effective rate or base of a tax. The proposed amendment would also extend initiative and referendum petition sponsors certain new petition design and circulation allowances.

Contact: People’s Choice Tax Repeal Committee, 1840 North Michigan #200, Saginaw, Michigan 48602. Gregory C. Schmid (989) 799-4641. Website: <www.TaxRepeal.com>.

 

E. STEM CELL RESEARCH: Initiative petition approved as to form February 4, 2008.

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to permit with certain limitations stem cell research in Michigan.

Contact: Stem Cell Research BQC, P.O. Box 20216, Lansing, Michigan 48901. Mark Burton (517) 974-4004.

 

F. MICHIGAN FAIR TAX: Initiative petition approved as to form February 4, 2008.

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate the Michigan Income Tax and the Michigan Business Tax and replace those taxes with a sales tax.

Contact: Michigan Fair Tax Proposal Committee, 352 12th Street, Plainwell, Michigan 49080. Micah Kissling (800) 314-6483.

 

G. TURN MICHIGAN AROUND: Initiative petition approved as to form February 4, 2008.

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to provide for a part-time legislature.

Contact: Committee to Turn Michigan Around, 346 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007-3737. Steward Sandstrom (269) 381-4000.

 

H. PROPORTIONAL SENATE: Initiative petition approved as to form February 4, 2008.

 

 

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to stipulate that the State Senate “shall consist of 50 members to be elected off of candidate lists at large from a statewide election.”

Contact: Proportional Senate Committee, 13423 Agnes Street, Southgate, Michigan 48195. Timothy Kachinski (734) 775-1810. Website: <www.myspace.com/proportionalsenate> Email: <proportional senate@hotmail.com>

 

I. PERSONAL EDUCATION ACCOUNT: Initiative petition approved as to form February 4, 2008.

Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to require the State Legislature to “provide from 4 years of age until the age of 18 years every resident child in Michigan with funding to support education on a per pupil basis which shall be controlled by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of each child respectively….”

Contact: Personal Education Account Committee, 13423 Agnes Street, Southgate, Michigan 48195 Timothy Kachinski (734) 775-1810. Website: <www.myspace.com/peainitiative> Email: <peainitiative@hotmail.com>

 

 

V. STATEWIDE PROPOSAL PETITIONS SUBMITTED FOR “APPROVAL AS TO FORM”

None at this date.

So, we have one that will definitely be on the ballot, to legalize medicinal marihuana, then we have 9 that might make it on the ballot: one to legalize all cannabis (marijuana/marihuana), one to provide health care, two for a part time legislature, one to require voters to approve tax increases, one to legalize stem cell research, one to make a Fair Tax, one to make the Senate at large instead of by districts, and one to provide funding to children for education.

I will now begin to give you my opinion on each of these proposals, proposal-by-proposal.  My goal is to get out a new post each day, but this may not happen, as I am entering exam week.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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