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Michigan Senate Joint Resolution K (2008)

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Michigan Senate Joint Resolution K (2008) or SJR K was proposed in the Michigan State Senate as a restriction on initiative rights in Michigan. The sponsor of the bill was Michelle McManus, a Republican. The last action taken on SJR K was on February 12, 2008. It died in he legislature.[1]

SJR K would have amended the Michigan Constitution so as to:

  • Create a distribution requirement for initiative petitions in the state. The language of the proposed distribution requirement is that the initiative petition must be signed by "Residents in at least three-fourths of the house districts of this state, and who, in each of those house districts, are equal in number to at least seven percent of those who voted in that house district for governor in the last preceding general election at which a governor was elected."

There was no distribution requirement for initiative petitions in Michigan in 2008.

Background

Two other bills to restrict initiative rights in Michigan had also been proposed in the 2008 legislative session. Michigan Senate Bill 1087 (2008)‎ proposed a residency requirement and Michigan Senate Bill 1086 (2008)‎ proposed a filing deadline of March 15--much earlier than the current filing deadlines allowed in the state.

In combination, the three bills--if they had been enacted--represented a significant abridgment of initiative rights in Michigan.

Legal challenges to distribution requirements

In 2001, in the case of Idaho Coalition United for Bears v. Cenarrusa, a federal judge declared that Idaho's distribution requirement for initiatives was unconstitutional on the grounds that the restrictions violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In 2003, the decision was appealed by the state of Idaho to United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The higher court affirmed the lower court's ruling.

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