In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Gunnin' To Kill MGRN
Kill it before it multiples seems to be the mission. They rounded up the usual suspects at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce headquarters on Tuesday to map out a strategy for killing the Michigan Government Reform Now (MGRN) movement before it gets to the November statewide ballot. The counterattack centers on two fronts: (1) Trying to keep it off the ballot by proving the backers did not collect the required 380,000 names to put it there. Those backers claim to have gathered 487,000 names that were turned into the state on Monday. Assuming all the petition t's were crossed and all the I's dotted, the second strategy is to block the issue in the courts. Bob LaBrant from the chamber who called the "skull session" says, "I'm confident that we've got a strong constitutional argument to present in court, if we have to get that far…Our constitutional arguments will be recognized by the court and this proposal will not be placed on the 2008 ballot." LaBrant summoned lawyers, senate GOP staffers, public relation experts and others to plot the next move. Meanwhile Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she is waiting to see what the court says about the controversial drive that amends 13% of the state constitution without a constitutional convention. If forced to vote today, the governor says she's not sure how she'd plunk. She likes the government downsizing aspect but frets about the possible violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act. "That's a great concern to me," if African Americans lose seats in the house and senate, she says. Supporters of the amendment, which also includes a slice in salaries for top elected state officials, claim voting rights will be preserved. LaBrant sees enough legal fish hooks in this nine-page proposal that he boldly predicts, "We will win." Which is, of course, what the proponents are saying, too.