Group asks Mich. government overhaul proposal be allowed on ballot

Chris Rizo Aug. 22, 2008, 5:28pm

Michigan Supreme Court building

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline)-Proponents of a Michigan ballot measure that would cut judges' pay 15 percent and eliminate some of their positions is challenging an appeals court decision this week that blocks the proposal from the Nov. 4 ballot.

A three-judge appeals court panel this week said the proposal has a "reach and expanse never before seen" in Michigan constitutional amendments.

Judges Patrick Meter, Bill Schuette and William Whitbeck on Wednesday ordered state election officials to not place the measure on the ballot.

Reform Michigan Government Now is asking the state Supreme Court to hold an emergency hearing on the proposal so county elections officials have time to put the measure on their ballots.

The group had said seven of the Appeals Court judges should be disqualified from the case because they could lose their judgeships if the measure passes in November.

The measure would also eliminate two state Supreme Court seats, while 10 judgeships would be added at the circuit court level.

The proposed ballot initiative would, among other things, reduce the salaries of legislators, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state by 25 percent.

The initiative would also limit retirement benefits for those elected officials to no more than what retired state employees receive.

Under the proposal, the state Senate would be reduced from 38 seats to 28, while the House would go from 110 to 82 seats.
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