Voters, here’s your homework | News, Sports, Jobs

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It’s a pretty good bet that nobody out there has fond and warm memories about homework.

But, if you are reading this, you are of an age that doing those daily must-do assignments in school are a thing of the past.

Until now.

If you are a true and dedicated participant in our democracy, you have a homework assignment that is even more impactful on our society than trying to figure out why X=Y.

If everything falls into place, Michigan citizens could face about a dozen questions on the statewide November ballot, and you surely do not want to walk into the voting booth and have to read each one and then figure out if you are a yeah or a nay.

There are a host of petition drives which are in various stages of getting to the ballot. Some are still being drafted and reduced to 100 words. Others are in the field collecting signatures, which is not the easiest thing to do in this winter weather, and, simultaneously, each coalition is raising money to pay for signature collections and lay the foundation for an ad campaign to influence your vote.

Here are your homework subjects.

There are two competing petition drives. One called Promote the Vote 2022, which would make it easier to vote, including a nine-day early voting provision. The other, Secure Mi Vote, seeks to revamp some of the voting changes that a vast majority of citizens approved in 2018.

You know who is behind that effort.

A corollary to those is the Audit Mi drive, which would order a statewide forensic audit of the 2020 election. The cadre of suspicious pro-Donald Trump backers are using the petition effort to finally prove that the election was stolen — or so they hope.

You know that the state’s Democratic governor has been locked in a contentious back-and-forth with the Republican-controlled Legislature over the extent of her emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, the Unlock Mich II ballot issue would slap a 28-day window on the governor’s declarations and, after that, he or she would be required to secure legislative support to continue the emergency restraints.

Michigan voters back in 1992 decided the issue of state financial support for private and religious schools and voted “no way.” Ever since, the pro-private and -religious supporters have been relentless in trying to do it some other way than a direct state grant, which is illegal.

The latest permutation is ballot proposal Let Mi Kids Learn. It has the full-hearted and full financial support of the DeVos wing of the Republican party, and it would allow corporations and individuals to contribute to a scholarship fund and money from that would go into the non-public schools and the donors would get a state tax credit. Suffice it to say, that one will be decided by the courts as to its legality.

And then there are a number of easy ones to figure out, so you will not be burning the midnight oil on them:

1.) Boosting the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour.

2.) Capping payday lending firms and the interest rates they charge to a maximum of 36%.

3.) Repealing the voter-enacted Truth in Sentencing law that would allow some inmates to get out of prison before their minimum terms are served.

However, here are the two biggies that will gobble up most of the media coverage: Abortion and gun controls.

The Michigan arm of the American Civil Liberties Union and it’s pro-choice partners want a constitutional amendment that would protect the right of a women to choose, just in case the U.S. Supreme Court bounces their current protection under Roe v. Wade. That will be emotional, as Michigan Right to Life will launch a full-frontal attack on the proposal, while the other side will do the same, with Michigan voters caught in the crossfire.

Look for that one to play a role in the race for governor, as at least two pollsters believe pro-choice women will show up in droves from key swing districts in Oakland County and in Ann Arbor and East Lansing, which would benefit pro-choice Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as those voters hang around to vote for her.

We have not seen the language as of yet for the likely petition drive to impose more gun controls aimed at curbing school shootings and the like. That will be equally as emotional and filled with heated rhetoric as both sides square off over an issue already in the current Republican-controlled Legislature, which is very pro-NRA.

Those R’s have refused to tackle that, despite polling data that the general public is eager for more restraints, but Democrats have to be careful on that one. Many of their Up North brothers and sisters have weapons in their homes and might take it out on D’s in their neck of the woods who push too hard on that one.

Unfortunately, no one will publish a “Dummies Guide to Ballot Questions.” You have to do the research/homework on your own, and, if you don’t, you flunk Democracy 101.

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