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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Senate Dems Plan Attempt To Undo Controversial Lame Duck Legislation

Dome of State Capitol building
WKAR file photo

Democrats in the state Senate plan to try and 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. 


Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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