Urgent, Contact Your Michigan Lawmakers Today Opposing House Bill 4887 About Election Law

The Michigan Municipal League needs your help TODAY in opposing a bill that would further limit when you can place new millage questions on the ballot. This bill is a complete infringement on the control of local communities like yours. Please contact your state Representatives today and the lawmakers listed below who are members of the committee hearing this issue—the House Elections and Ethics Committee.

Time is of the essence because the committee is scheduled to have a hearing on this issue today (Nov. 12, 2013). Please contact them by phone and/or email today. The more local officials they hear from the better chance we have to get opposition to this bill. Go here to look up your state lawmakers.

Here are some additional details and talking points about this:

– Oppose House Bill 4887, sponsored by State Rep. Dan Lauwers. R-Brockway Township.

- What is it?: It would limit when new elections could be placed on the ballot. Specifically, this bill would only allow local municipalities to place new millages on the ballot for the August regular election date or the November regular election date (straight renewals can be done at any of the four election dates).

- Pros: The argument of the bill is there is greater voter turnout in the August and November elections so new millages should only be allowed to be voted on during those times. The introduced version of the legislation only allowed a millage to be placed on the ballot for the November General Election, but a substitute changing it to each August and November election was adopted.

- Cons and League position: This is a complete infringement on local control. Local municipalities should have the ability to decide when a new millage to be voted on by the voters is placed on the ballot.

- Talking points when calling your lawmakers: The state has cut funding to our local communities by $6 billion in the last decade in the form of reductions to revenue sharing/EVIP. Additionally, Proposal A and Headlee severely limit revenue increases at the local level. The cuts at the state level coupled with Proposal A and Headlee have left local communities to essentially fend for themselves, which means asking their residents to vote on millages to cover the cost of essential services, such as police and fire protection and road maintenance. Limiting the timeframe as to when they can ask the public to vote on millages further ties the hands of our local units of government to operate effectively.

- Please oppose HB 4887!

The League testified in opposition as did the Michigan Township Association and the Michigan Library Association. The school groups and the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks are opposed as well.
If you have any questions about this issue, please contact the League’s Nikki Brown at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

In addition to contacting your own lawmakers, please also contact these lawmakers who serve on the House Elections and Ethics Committee that are hearing this issue today:

Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R) Committee Chair, 86th District; 517-373-0846; LisaLyons@house.mi.gov
Kevin Cotter (R) Majority Vice-Chair, 99th District; 517-373-1789; KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
Kurt Heise (R) 20th District; 517-373-3816; KurtHeise@house.mi.gov
Mike Callton (R) 87th District; 517-373-0842; MikeCallton@house.mi.gov
Rick Outman (R) 70th District; 517-373-0834; RickOutman@house.mi.gov
Ken Yonker (R) 72nd District; 517-373-0840; KenYonker@house.mi.gov
Harold Haugh (D) Minority Vice-Chair, 22nd District; 517-373-0854; HaroldHaugh@house.mi.gov
Marilyn Lane (D) 31st District; 517-373-0159; MarilynLane@house.mi.gov
Andy Schor (D) 68th District; 517-373-0826; AndySchor@house.mi.gov

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

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