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Monday, August 6, 2012

Gov. Snyder reviewing Attorney General Schuette's recommendation on union-backed Protect Our Jobs proposal

Published: Saturday, August 04, 2012, 11:25 AM Updated: Saturday, August 04, 2012, 12:03 PM
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Gov. Rick Snyder is reviewing the attorney general’s opinion that the union-backed Protect Our Jobs proposal is too sweeping for a 100-word ballot summary, and might not make a recommend on whether the measure should be kept off the November ballot.
A coalition of unions has donated $8 million to the campaign backing the proposal, which would enshrine collective bargaining into the constitution.
Attorney General Bill Schuette said the proposal renders null and void all or part of 170 existing laws and prevents future laws that would “abridge, impair or limit collective bargaining rights, except those that prohibit or restrict strikes by public employees.”
The Board of Canvassers would decide if the proposal can be summed up in 100 words on a ballot, through the four-member board has not scheduled a meeting to address the issue.
Snyder Press Secretary Sara Wurfel said Friday that Snyder might not make a formal recommendation to the canvassers, but in general doesn’t like the idea of such a wide-ranging amendment to the state constitution.
“The governor has said that does not like to see such divisive issues, and believes that collective bargaining has long been the practice in Michigan,” she said.
She said Snyder has worked well with state employees and has negotiated several contracts since taking office.
Wurfel said Snyder requested Schuette look at the Protect Our Jobs proposal “to get information and a clear understand” of what it encompasses.
Snyder in the past has said turning Michigan into a right to work state is not part of his agenda.
The proposal would give all state employees the right to elect an exclusive representative and bargain for all conditions and aspect of employment except for promotions, he said.
“Such a broad grant of collective bargaining power could eviscerate the Civil Service rules on prohibited subjects of bargaining and the merit system that the commission was charged to establish and enforce,” Schuette wrote in a letter to Snyder.
RELATED: Attorney General Bill Schuette's letter
“At a minimum, the initiative’s Trojan Horse-style repeal and revision of so many constitutional provisions and statutes cannot possibly be communicated, fairly, in not more than 100 words as the constitution requires,” he said.
“The legal reality gives rise to the question that the governor has posed: Is the Board of Canvassers legally obligated to place an unconstitutional proposal on the ballot? As common sense would suggest, the answer is no.”
Protect Our Jobs spokesman Dan Lijana said there is wide support for the proposal and dismissed Schuette’s analysis.
Nearly 700,000 Michigan citizens signed a petition to place this initiative on the ballot, more than double what is required by state law,” he said on Friday. “Silencing the voice of all voters on the basis of a faulty legal argument defies the spirit of democracy and protections offered to citizens by our constitution."
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