On November 7th Michiganders will vote on five different statewide proposals. Click here for the official language of these proposals at the State of Michigan website. Below is our summary.
PROPOSAL 1: A proposed constitutional amendment to require that money held in conservation and recreation funds can only be used for their intended purposes. That means user fees for state parks and campgrounds, registration fees for snowmobiles, off-road vehicles, and boats, license fees for hunting and fishing, and other related taxes must only be spent for specific purposes related to conservation and recreation. Neither the legislature nor the governor can expend these funds for any other purpose.
A "yes" vote restricts these funds to conservation and recreational spending.
A "no" vote allows the state government to spend these funds for any purpose.
PROPOSAL 2: A proposed constitutional amendment to ban programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based upon race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin for public employment, education, or contracting purposes. That means public bodies, such as the state government, city governments, public universities, community colleges, and school districts, cannot take a person's race or gender into consideration -- either favorably or unfavorably -- in hiring, enrollment, or contracting. The proposal would not affect the affirmative action policies of private businesses and organizations.
A "yes" vote ends racial and gender preference policies of public bodies.
A "no" vote allows such preference policies to continue.
PROPOSAL 3: A referendum to enact a statute allowing a hunting season for mourning doves. That means the Natural Resources Commission will be authorized to establish a dove hunting season that requires a small game license with a $2.00 mourning dove stamp. Stamp revenues must be split evenly between the Game & Fish Protection Fund and the Fish & Wildlife Trust Fund.
A "yes" vote allows the hunting of mourning doves.
A "no" vote prohibits the hunting of mourning doves.
PROPOSAL 4: A proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit state and local governments from taking private property by eminent domain for private purposes. That means the government will be forbidden to seize private property to transfer to another private individual or business for the purposes of economic development or increasing tax revenues. It will also mandate that if the government seizes private property for a public use, the government must pay the owner 125% of the property's fair market value.
A "yes" vote prohibits the government's use of eminent domain for private economic development.
A "no" vote allows such use of eminent domain as may be restricted or expanded by the courts.
PROPOSAL 5: A proposed law, not a constitutional amendment, to establish mandatory school funding levels. That means:  The state must increase current funding for public schools, community colleges, universities, and other education programs by about $565 million and require the state to increase that funding by the rate of inflation every year;  school districts, community colleges, and state universities get to reduce and cap their contributions to employee retirement funds and shift the remaining portion to the state;  the state must equalize per-pupil funding in all school districts throughout the state; and  the state must base funding for school districts with declining enrollments on a three-year average of student enrollment. All shortfalls in this guaranteed funding of school operations, salaries, and pension plans must be made up from the state's general fund, either through surpluses, cuts in other programs, or increased taxes.
A "yes" vote guarantees increased expenditures by the state on public education.
A "no" vote allows the state legislature to determine how much to spend on public education.