Two Michigan ballot measure campaigns submit signatures for indirect initiatives

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June 3, 2014

By Ryan Byrne

Michigan
With the signature deadline for initiated state statutes and indirect initiated state statutes in Michigan on May 28, 2014, two initiative campaigns submitted signatures to get their measures approved by the Michigan Legislature on placed on the ballot. First, the Natural Resources Commission Initiative, sponsored by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, filed an estimated 374,000 signatures with the Michigan Secretary of State on May 27, 2014. Out of those signatures submitted, 258,087 signatures must be deemed valid.[1] Also known as the Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act, the initiative would empower the Michigan Natural Resource Commission to be the sole designator of what animals are listed as game species and can be hunted and determine how wildlife is managed in the state.[2] The indirect initiated state statute, upon signature certification, would go to the legislature, who would have the opportunity to approve the initiative. If they do nothing, the measure will appear on the ballot. Critics of the initiative say that the measure puts a “public resource” - wolves and other wildlife - into the hands of a small group and violates democratic principles.[3] The Natural Resources Commission Initiative is a competing measure and response to Keep Michigan Wolves Protected’s Wolf Hunting Referendum and Natural Resources Commission Referendum.

Second to file was Raise Michigan, sponsor of a Minimum Wage Initiative. On May 28, 2014, Raise Michigan and other supporters submitted around 320,000 signatures to the Michigan Secretary of State. Of those signatures, 258,087 must be valid.[4] The measure would, upon either legislative or voter approval, increase the hourly minimum wage to $10.10. It is unclear whether the ballot measure, even with voter approval, would do anything due to a recent change in state law regarding the minimum wage. The Minimum Wage Law of 1964, which the initiative seeks to amend, was repealed and superseded on May 28, 2014 by Senate Bill 934. The primary reason for the supersession was to render the minimum wage initiative moot.[5]

Maryland, a state which only allows veto referendum, will not have any citizen initiated measures on the ballot in 2014. The campaign, led by MDPetitions.com, to put a Gender Identity Discrimination Referendum on the ballot failed to gather enough signatures by the May 31, 2014 deadline.[6]

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