There has been more talk about the possible constitutional convention that will be on the ballot for 2010. Many blogs have been talking about the possibility with more reasons for and against the question of a constitutional convention. The people for the constitutional convention debate and use many comparisons with the U.S. Constitution. The Michigan Constitution is forty-six years old, while the U.S. Constitution is two-hundred-eighteen years old. The Michigan Constitution has been amended thirty-two times while the U.S. constitution has only had twenty-seven. Additionally, the Michigan Constitution is more of how you do this rather than a template for the balance the power of government. An example of the specification: State Police troopers and Sergeants shall, through their elected representative designated by 50% of such troopers and sergeants, have the right to bargain collectively with their employer concerning conditions of their employment, compensation, hours, working conditions, retirement, pensions, and other aspects of employment except promotions which will be determined by competitive examination and performance on the basis of merit, efficiency and fitness, and they shall have the right 30 days after commencement of such bargaining to submit any unresolved disputes to binding arbitration for the resolution thereof the same as now provided by law for Public Policy and Fire Departments.
People against the constitutional convention derive many of their arguments from the fear of special interest groups. There is talk that special interest groups would dominate the constitutional convention to allow their language to be put into the new constitution. Some examples are: The State Lottery Bureau supports candidates that will put language to prevent gambling in Detroit, State troopers wanting to lower their threshold for bargaining collectively from 50% to 30%. This would be a serious decision for the people of Michigan to think about when making their choice at the polls as for California and their current situation.
In California, there is currently a lot of talk about their system of government and the possibility of a constitutional convention. California has the following: “ballot-budgeting” that ties the legislature to the unchecked power of the people, two-thirds legislative majority needed to pass any and all budget and taxation bill that instills perpetual gridlock, term limits that give power to the lobbyists, gerrymandering, and a plural executive branch adding to the political infighting. Their current constitution was written in 1879 with over five-hundred amendments. A group called Bay City Council has suggested California to focus the constitutional convention on budget and governance issues and to delegate representatives from the jury system. Additionally, California has a twenty-six-billion dollar deficit that dwarfs Michigan’s 2.7 billion which could be helped through the constitutional convention.
Michigan and California have both been looking at the possibility of a constitutional convention, both states have burdensome detail within their constitutions, and they both have a huge deficit to deal with. Michigan’s constitutional convention has been pushed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the MEA, while the California constitutional convention has no set organization supporting it. California is also asking experts in Michigan to help with the possible question of a constitutional convention because of Michigan’s history. Yet, regardless of whether or not either state has a constitutional convention, there has been a lot of focus on the flaws of both state that the legislatures of the respected states may be able to pick up on.