Collective bargaining off the ballot--for now

As expected, the Board of Canvassers split 2-2 on whether to put the constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining on the November ballot. For now, the proposal is off the ballot. The Protect Our Jobs campaign will now take the fight for working families to the Michigan Supreme Court for a decision, bypassing the state Court of Appeals.

Opponents to the ballot proposal want the effect of the constitutional amendment and the list of laws impacted written into the language--and keep it to 100 words. Supporters maintain that the proposal met all legal requirements even before the petition drive began.

Two weeks ago, at the request of Gov. Snyder, Attorney General Bill Scheutte issued an opinion that the collective bargaining proposal should be kept off the ballot. He claims that the proposal does not specifically list the parts of the constitution that will be impacted by the amendment. His opinion, however, is based on faulty legal reasoning and is not legally binding.

The whole action seems politically motivated since in 2004, Schuette had a totally different opinion. As a Court of Appeals judge, he rejected his current argument when it came time to put the proposal banning affirmative action on the ballot.

It's unfortunate that political motivation is working to silence the voices of nearly 700,000 voters who signed the Protect Our Jobs petitions. Those voters know the importance of collective bargaining when it comes to school employees and student success; to firefighters when it comes to saving lives; and to nurses when it comes to patient care. Too bad some politicians don't.

The Board did approve ballot proposals ensuring the state's home health care workers can unionize and amending the Constitution to require utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025.

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals rejected a petition by Citizens for More Michigan Jobs to build eight more casinos across the state. The group is also taking their case to the Supreme Court.