Plenty of potential ballot issues in 2018

Usually every four years in Michigan it is a governor’s race that drives voter turnout to the polls in November.

While that certainly should hold true again next year, there might be another reason that is just as much on voters’ minds — in fact there could be as many as eight of them — ballot measures.

Proponents of ballot measures have been busy in recent months gathering the needed signatures to place the initiatives before voters. The potential issues are far reaching and include such topics as legalizing marijuana, worker rights and shutting down the Enbridge Line 5 under the Straits.

Proponents of ballot issues have until May 30 to submit the needed 252,523 signatures for statutes, 315,654 signatures for amendments and 157,827 for veto referendums. The numbers represent a percentages of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

Lindsay VanHulle, writing for Crain’s Detroit Business, wrote an exhaustive examination of the proposed issues that could appear before voters next year. I recommend you read her story for an interesting capsulized version of the major proposals being discussed right now.

Her story listed these six issues as likely emerging for consideration. It should be pointed out, however, that as of today no measures have formally been submitted for consideration to the Secretary of State’s Office and Board of State Canvassers.

The Crain’s list included these ballot measures:

∫ Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol. This measure would legalize marijuana for recreational use in Michigan.

∫ Protecting Michigan Taxpayers. This would repeal legislation that sets a prevailing wage for all state-funded construction projects in Michigan.

∫ MI Time to Care. This is a legislative effort to allow workers in Michigan to accrue paid sick leave to care for family members.

∫ Abrogate Prohibition Michigan. This is a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in Michigan.

∫ Michigan One Fair Wage. This is a legislative effort to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10 in 2019 and to $12 by 2022.

∫ Keep Our Lakes Great. This is a legislative effort to stop the transmission of oil through the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

In addition to the six listed above, two other measures are being floated in the state right now. The first is Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s proposed Constitutional Amendment that would convert the Michigan Legislature from full-time to a part-time legislature. Michigan is one of only 10 states that has a full-time body.

The second measure is one that deals with redistricting — Voters Not Politicians. This would amend the Constitution to place redistricting efforts into the hands of a committee rather than the legislature.

Even if only a handful of these eventually makes next year’s ballot, they would still generate a lot of voter interest, which in turn could result in an increased voter turnout come November. If you doubt me, I point to the fact that a new lobbying group was formed in the state recently — Healthy and Productive Michigan. In a press release this week the committee identified its goal as “to oppose any and all efforts to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Michigan.”

Let the debate begin.

Bill Speer can be reached via email at or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13.