From the Detroit News
A long list of interest groups has formed a coalition to oppose the constitutional convention proposal on the November ballot, organizers announced today.
Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution includes business, education, agricultural, local government, faith-based, transportation and health care groups. The coalition says it is concerned about "the costs in time, uncertainty and dollars" a constitutional convention would require.
"A constitutional convention will handcuff our next governor and legislature for at least two years and effectively prevent them from tackling issues like spending reform, tax policy, education and economic development," said Rich Studley, president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
Backers of the so-called "con-con" -- including Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. Tom George of Kalamazoo -- have said a rewrite of the Constitution would be the most effective way to make the reforms needed in state government.
The coalition said the convention would reopen the contentious issues recently decided by voters -- such as embryonic stem cell research, the affirmative action ban, gay marriage and assisted suicide, among others. There have been 31 amendments to the constitution since 1963.
Michigan's constitution was last rewritten in 1962. Law requires a constitutional convention issue be placed on the ballot every 16 years. Con-con ballot proposals were soundly defeated in 1978 and 1994. Some say the proposal has a better chance of passage this year because of general dissatisfaction with state government.
Approval of the ballot issue would require election of delegates, a series of meetings and another public vote on the end result of the convention. Cost estimates have run as high as $45 million, but backers of con-con say it would be much less than that.
The biggest reasons I oppose it is the push by Phil Power's people to reduce elections, eliminate recall provisions, and to raise taxes. The other reason is that in the off-time elections, those likely elected to be delegates are famous names or ex-politicians. They will be the ones writing the new constitution.
That is bad news, and this should be defeated.