State Legislature paints lipstick on a pig.

Fast-tracks ballot proposal to increase power and their terms of office


Friend, 

Under the guise of reform, both chambers of the Michigan legislature suspended their rules and—all in one day—introduced and passed a proposal that, if voter-approved in this fall’s election will amend the state’s Constitution. Why the rush? In a word: Power.  

House Speaker Jason Wentworth introduced House Joint Resolution R on May 10, 2022. For those who sought cover or were too dull to do the math, the bill was pitched as reforming financial disclosure requirements and to cut term limits by two years. Legislators whisked the bill through both chambers, and three days later HJR R was filed with the Secretary of State for inclusion on this November’s ballot. 

The lipstick 

If Michigan voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment, the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and members of the legislature will be required each year to disclose their current finances, including assets, liabilities, sources of income, positions held with third-party organizations, gifts from lobbyists, and certain active employment agreements. 

So far, so good. Then the resolution fixes its sordid gaze on those bothersome term limits. 

The Michigan Constitution allows citizens to serve three two-year terms as state representatives. They can serve two four-year terms as state senators. A rep is allowed a maximum of six years in the House and eight years in the Senate, 14 years total.  

HJR R’s public relations spin paints the legislation as cutting two years off term limits, as trimming the maximum time in the legislature down from 14 years to 12 years. 

Droves of porkers hidden in the weeds 

The proposed term-limit change actually extends the number of terms a legislator may spend in his or her chamber.


If voters swallow the public relations slop, house reps could double their terms of office from six to twelve years. Senators stand to gain an extra four-year term and occupy their seats up to 12 full years. 

Bottom line, the changes would severely undercut actual term limits and allow our legislators to ride a complacent wave of incumbency for all twelve years in the House or the Senate.  

Given that the House has 110 seats compared to the Senate’s 38 seats, the current process tends to weed out under achievers. Adam de Angeli, president of Rescue Michigan Coalition, views the proposal as a clever ploy for lawmakers to extend their reigns of power. “Most House representatives never make it to the Senate,” he explained. “They hate it when they’re shown the door after six years.” 

Fodder for lobbyists 

HJR R appeals to lobbyists too. DeAngeli pointed out that a joint petition project was underway between the AFL-CIO and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce to put the legislation on the ballot. Now that the legislators have handed them passage of HJR R on a platter, the duo can stand down on the petition drive and, instead, redirect their “millions of dollars toward propagandizing the public for the November vote.”

“If approved by voters, senators that never served in the House, like left-wing lunatics Rosemary Bayer and Mallory McMorrow, will be able to serve three terms in the Senate,” he added. 

King makers: An intended consequence

House reps, no longer having to scramble for coveted senate seats, will become even more beholden their Speaker of the House. Good chance this side effect was hardly lost on Speaker Jason Wentworth, who personally introduced the legislation. The Senate Majority Leader stands to benefit as well, no longer having to woo recalcitrant new bloods to support the leader’s pet programs. 

J.D. Glaser suspects the move stems from the Republican Endorsement Convention. “What two significant events have happened within 17 days of convention?” He answered his rhetorical question. “Matt Maddock is kicked out of caucus for his large-scale plan of endorsing new candidates to replace incumbents in exchange for speaker support, and a two-day turnaround of House and Senate extending their incumbency terms via the constitutional amendment under the guise of limits. What does that tell us?” 

De Angeli, never one to mince words, called the move “a cynical, self-serving power play.” 

The rush 

Not a single day was allowed for the public to voice concerns. No hearings. Was the motivation, perhaps, fear that citizen scrutiny would rub off the lipstick ? 

The speed of passage begs the question: Why haven’t Michiganders seen this sort of fast-tracking for election integrity?

“It’s hogwash,” de Angeli fumed. “Most lawmakers never get to serve more than six years. If this passes, they’ll all get 12.”  

Call to action: Tell your friends and neighbors. Write your legislators and demand they rescind HJR R. Make a note of the legislators below who voted for this backhanded power grab. Maybe if they fast-track the five recommendations from PIME’s Lights Out report, which found 36% of East Lansing’s voter rolls in error, you won’t work to ensure they are booted out of office.  

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. When properties are sold or deeds transferred, the register of deeds should be required to notify the clerk’s office. The clerk should be required to remove a voter’s name from that no-longer valid address.

2. To clean up the voter rolls, especially in regard to high college-voter turnover and residents migrating off campus and out of the state each year, college graduates and USPS National Change of Address information should be monitored and acted on annually in every college town.

3. Clerks in college or university towns should work with owners or management of multi-unit housing and the college or university to educate students of the need to notify the clerk’s office when they move.

4. The state should develop a more robust process for notifying local clerks when a registered voter is deceased. These notifications are especially important when the death occurs out of state or out of the decedent’s county of residence.

5. Michigan should exit at once ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center. 

“I think what’s so disturbing about the spin they put on this proposal,” said PIME supporter Sarah, “is that we expect this sort of deceit from the media. We don’t expect it from the people we elect to represent us.” 

For election integrity in Michigan, 

Patrice Johnson, Chair 

The legislators who voted for HJR R:To view the full and short HJR R click here.

Published by pureintegrityformichiganelections

Dedicated to restoring election integrity in Michigan.

One thought on “State Legislature paints lipstick on a pig.

  1. Disgusting. So tired of MI. Honestly, everyday is a fire. Our Constititution is slowly being eroded.

    Like

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