Thursday, September 15, 2005

Chamber ballot initiative...

...AKA "Protect Craig LaRoche" amendment.

Right now as it stands, a Michigan state rep can serve three two year terms as a rep, and two four year terms as a Senator, or 14 years total.

The rethugs, er repubs, are nervous about 2006. Their boy Bush doesn't look so good. This isn't a proud time for a Republican. They see 2006, and they see a highly motivated Democratic tide (that's us, yo!). They don't like the picture.

So let's try and save what we can, "batten down the hatches" as Matt of MichiganLiberal says.
So the chamber is starting a
ballot initiative.:
The Chamber's proposal would allow lawmakers to split all of their 14 years however they want, i.e. a lawmaker could opt to stay in the House for the full 14 years. Or he or she could spend 12 years in the Senate and two in the House. The Chamber has also thrown in a couple of good proposals (that have no substantial effect on them) that will help to give this the warm and fuzzy lustre they so desire. One would require lawmakers to report their sources of income (as is now required on the federal level and in many other states). The other would dock the pay of legislators who don't show up to vote. Oh, and there's a measure in there that requires a 10-day waiting period and a public hearing for a tax hike - that's probably to help make sure their membership stays excited.

Term limits are bad. Any way you slice them. There are talented technocrats that want to do this job, for life if need be. Let the local community decide who will represent them. If a local doesn't like what the rep is doing, run a good campaign and fire their butts.

So what should we do?

I'm still chewing on this question, but my first idea is this: have the state party, the UAW, and everyone else we can gather start a ballot drive not to "reform" term limits, but to elminate them altogether - which is really what we should be doing. It would be incredibly simple: just repeal Proposal B. End of story. No ins and outs about four 2-year terms, eight 2-year terms, or 3 1/2 4-year terms. Whether or not our plan would actually win is certainly open to question. However, the Chamber's "reform" proposal would begin to look more and more complicated compared to ours. And if there's one thing that can be said about ballot questions, if there is confusion, people vote no. Another potential benefit: it's possible we could "piggyback" on the $3 million the Chamber plans to spend. For instance, every time a news report mentions something about their proposal, they'll be obligated (if they have a conscience) to mention ours.

Good plan.


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