Newsbrief: Board of Canvassers Rejects Michigan Initiative, Appeals Court Next 9/6/02

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Michigan's drug reform ballot initiative has been dealt a possibly fatal setback for 2002, according to an article in the Detroit News on Tuesday, September 3. The Michigan Drug Reform Initiative (http://www.drugreform.org/michigan/), along with an unconnected ballot proposal to earmark state tobacco settlement funds to health care, was rejected by the State Board of Canvassers, which ruled that the measures were defectively worded. The board voted 4-0 against the drug reform measure, saying it would cancel out an unrelated portion of the state's constitution that guarantees rights of crime victims.

A bulletin from the Initiative & Referendum Institute (http://www.iandrinstitute.org) stated that "many initiative experts believe that the Board of Canvassers overstepped their authority. The statutes seem to be clear as to what their responsibilities are: 1) approve and ballot wording proposed by the Secretary of State (MS 168.474); 2) assign the ballot number (MS 168.474a); 3) verify the validity of the signatures that are submitted (MS 168.476); and 4) declare if there are sufficient signatures to place the issue on the ballot (MS 168.477)."

Initiative proponents have said they will appeal the decision, so further Michigan initiative action is now in the hands of the courts.

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