Lawmakers’ unexpected vote to block school districts and municipalities from informing the public about local ballot measures within two months of an election has left opponents pressuring Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the bill, which they say would keep voters in the dark about taxes and other issues. On Dec. 16, in the final hours of the Legislature’s last voting day of 2015, majority Republicans added the provision and others to campaign-finance legislation with no explanation and quickly passed the measure over objections from Democrats who said they were not told what was in it. Caught off guard, groups representing school officials, cities, libraries and other local entities are lobbying the Republican governor for a veto. He has until Jan. 11 to decide.
Michigan law prohibits the use of public funds or resources to advocate for or against ballot questions, with exceptions for elected or appointed officials with policymaking responsibilities. But governments can spend money disseminating factual information about ballot issues.
The bill would impose a 60-day window before an election during which government money or resources could not be used to communicate with voters through TV and radio ads, mass mailings or robocalls. It effectively would leave it up to outside groups — formed by parent-teacher organizations or business interests, for instance — to spread the word about new tax requests, millage renewals, bond issues and other measures.
Full Article: Snyder is pressed to veto bill restricting ballot issue info.