Clinton TownshipAugust 20, 2012
Casino proposal rejected from ballot
By Nico Rubello
C & G Staff Writer
CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ordered a petition to allow eight new Michigan casinos, including one in Clinton Township, off the November ballot. But, as of press time, the coalition backing the effort said it planned to appeal the decision before the Michigan Supreme Court.
The Michigan Court of Appeals issued its ruling on Aug. 14 in response to a request filed by Protect MI Constitution — a group that represents several existing casinos — that the court direct the Michigan Secretary of State to reject the proposal from the November general election ballot.
The three judges of the Court of Appeals did as much, ruling that the ballot petition violates the state constitution because it doesn’t publish the sections of state statutes that it would change.
“It is very odd for somebody to try to write into the state constitution a business opportunity — in this case, eight of them,” said Protect MI spokesman John Truscott. “We’re very pleased with the Court of Appeals’ decision. … (The petition) was essentially sending the message that Michigan’s constitution is for sale.”
The proposal, sponsored by the coalition Citizens for More Michigan Jobs, would have amended the state constitution to allow eight more casinos in communities across Michigan, including a 125,000-square-foot development at Hall Road (M-59) and I-94 in Clinton Township. The casino would have needed a majority support from voters both statewide, and from those within Clinton Township.
The proposal also would have increased wagering taxes on gaming revenues for all casinos.
In late June, Citizens for More Michigan Jobs turned in more than 500,000 petition signatures in favor of putting the proposal on the November ballot.
As of press time, Citizens for More Michigan Jobs was preparing to file an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, said T.J. Bucholz, a spokesman for the coalition.
Bucholz said the argument boils down to this: The state constitution trumps any state statutes. So, if you change the constitution, you by definition change all the statutes associated with the amendment, he said. “The question is, do voters have to be told that?”
Bucholz added that it is impossible to include every section of state statute that may change within the petition description.
“We’ve always believed we’ve been on the right side of the law here,” he said.
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