Local Preemption Constitutional Amendment – Michigan

Date: 25 Nov 2008 | posted in: governance | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Fed up with repeated state preemption of local laws, Michigan cities have spearheaded a campaign to require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, rather than a simple majority, to pass any law dealing with an issue that could be addressed by city, county, village or township government.

The Michigan Municipal League, which represents about 500 cities and villages collected nearly 500,000 signatures to place an initiative on the November 7, 2000 ballot that would preserve local control.

The impetus for the measure had been building for 25 years, but the flash point came in 1999, when the Michigan legislature passed a series of preemptive laws. The state passed a law that would require statewide use of a state construction code, at the request of the Home Builders Association; barred cities from passing laws to mediate the problems between farm operations and new subdivisions that don’t like the noise and smells; and barred cities from imposing municipal residency on employees (See New Rules page on municipal residency requirements).

Opponentsof the constitutional amendment to protect local authority include the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Republican legislators, Governor John Engler, and business interests who hope the legislature will soon repeal local living wage ordinances. Other opponents include Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union, and the Michigan Fraternal order of Police.

Proponentsof the amendment include the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Association of chiefs of Police, Michigan Fire Chiefs Association, Michigan Recreation and Parks Association, Michigan Section – American Water Works Association, Michigan Chapter – American Public Works Association, and the Michigan Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence.

Localchambers of commerce are split on the issue, as are outdoor recreation and conservation groups. The 100,000-member Michigan United Conservation Clubs is opposed to the amendment while the Michigan Waterfront Alliance and Michigan Recreation and Parks Association support it. The Macinack (statewide) Sierra Club has taken no position.

On November 7, 2000, this initiative was defeated. (See link below for complete results.)