Senate Dems plan attempt to undo controversial lame duck legislation

Jan 21, 2019

Protesters line the balcony of the 2nd floor of the state Capitol.
Credit Cheyna Roth

Democrats in the state Senate will try to undo a controversial bill that passed during last year’s lame duck session. The bill was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder in late December. 

It changes the requirements for collecting signatures to get a measure on the ballot. Democrats say it makes the process too difficult.

“What they did in lame duck, that was one of the most egregious ones,” said Senate Minority Leader, Jim Ananich (D-Flint). “And I think for all intense and purposes taking away the citizen’s right to petition their government flies in the face of everything our democracy is about.”

The most controversial provision puts a cap on how many signatures can be collected from each Congressional district. No more than 15 percent of the total signatures gathered can come from one district. It also adds other new requirements, like a 100-word factual statement and requiring signature collectors indicate whether they are paid or a volunteer.

Representative James Lower (R-Cedar Lake) sponsored the original bill.

“I really don’t see how it prevents anybody from getting a measure on the ballot because there’s still a process in place that they can follow to put a measure on the ballot,” he said. “And I don’t think it’s a high bar.”

Senate Democrats plan to introduce legislation later this week.