Monday, October 25, 2010

Reform Michigan's Constitution

One of the ballot initiatives next week will be Proposal 1, which will decide whether or not Michigan will have a constitutional convention. Almost every special interest group and lobbyist in Michigan is opposed to this. I would ordinarily argue that anything that upsets that many lobbyists must have some redeeming value to it.

However, given the challenges that Michigan currently faces, I believe it is important for me to go a bit farther than that. As one considers whether or not to support a constitutional convention in Michigan, I ask everyone to consider a few basic questions.

Why does Michigan need a bicameral legislature? It exists at the federal level as a compromise between two different ways to electing legislators. In Michigan, however, it simply repeats the same process; creating an unnecessary redundancy and making our government more expensive.

Why does the Michigan House of Representatives have an even number of members? In the 1990s, there was an even split in the number of Democrats and Republicans. No one was ever really in charge and nothing got done during those two years.

Why do we have a State Officers Compensation Commission that is set up to give elected officials raises automatically? Does anyone else around here get automatic raises at their job?

Why do we still have term limits in Michigan? They've been a complete failure at doing everything they were intended to do. More importantly, they have simply made the bureaucracy in Lansing more entrenched than ever.

The list of things about Michigan's Constitution that don't make sense and should be fixed immediately goes on and on. In my opinion, Michigan's Constitution is fundamentally broken. One could try to fix all of these problems through a lengthy series of amendments. However, that is the logical equivalent of buying a new car piece by piece at an auto parts store instead of walking into a local dealership.

I will vote "yes" on proposal 1. I encourage all voters in Michigan to do the same.

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