8- The Michigan Daily - Election '94 - Monday, November 7, 1994
University officials say
the maxim, "If it ain't
broke, don't fix it," applies
to the Michigan Constitu-
tion. Tomorrow, voters de-
cide whether to open the
31-year-old document for Constitutional
The present Constitution
was adopted in 1963 with the provision that
voters could decide every 16 years to call a
convention to revise the document.
In 1978, voters soundly defeated the first
proposal for a convention.
Now, 16 years later, a grass-roots effort is
supporting the proposal, claiming it would "give
more control to our citizens and ... save sub-
stantial money to us as taxpayers.
University officials explain why they are
wary of Proposal A, which would convene a
group of elected delegates in 1995 to draft a
revision to the Constitution. The revision would
be presented to the electorate for approval or
Keith Molin, University associate vice presi-
dent for government relations, said the conven-
,n could strip the University of m any of its
rights under the current Constitution. Akthough
the University Board of Regents has not taken a
stand on Proposal A, Molin said i opens a
Pandora's Box of problems for the institution.
"Any time you open up the Constitution, our
aU OnOmy is in jeopardy,' he said. "That is a
ow ct " you peau,
H1"Guilty. ... By the
way, I'd like to file an ap-
Voters will be given the
chance to eliminate this sce- Automatic
nario tomorrow with ballot
Proposal B. The proposal Appeals
would not allow people to
appeal a court decision if they pleaded guilty,
except in extreme cases.
"I think it is ridiculous to allow an appeal for
someone who pleads guilty," said Dawn Krupp,
a candidate for the state Appeals Court.
"Someone is waiving their right to a trial and
agreeing that they are guilty of an offense," said
Joel P. Hoekstra, a Grand Rapids district judge
who is also running for the Appeals Court an
favors the proposal.
One of the proposal's few opponents is I
Martin Tieber, deputy defender director in ti
state appellate defender's Lansing office. Th
office represents impoverished defendants.
"It's been dressed up as a tough-on-crim
issue," he said in a news release. "When yc
pick it apart and see what it does, it become
Tieber charges the proposal is motivated b
politics and could deny the rights of defendant
who were poorly represented in lower-level case;
"There's no indication that there's a deni<
of due process," said state Rep. Richard Bandsti
(R-Grand Rapids), who is also running for ti
state Appeals Court.
State House stricts
Bandstra said states with similar laws have
not had problems with the legislation.
However, Krupp expressed reservations
about a passage in the proposal that would allow
appeals in "special circumstances." She said a
problem could arise as people file appeals, claim-
ing they are a special circumstance, and the
proposal to streamline the system could add
another layer to it.
Hoekstra said, "I don't think that's going to
be a problem. The cases where there are real
problems will be easily identified," he said.
Hoekstra pointed out that only six of the
thousands of appeals on guilty pleas last year
were reversed by the appeals court, which he
says indicates that most appeals are frivolous.
- Andrew Taylor
* The map below shows what the ward
boundaries are. A voter identification card
will list in which precinct you have to vote.
* The map on the left shows the state
House districts. Coverage on Page 6.
With all the informa-
tion being fed to
Michigan voters through ads
supporting or opposing this
year's ballot proposals,
many voters are stumped as
to how they will vote - or
even what they are voting
But proponents of Proposal A argue that
state universilies already have too much au-
tonomy and turning more decision-making
power to the state would save money.
"Our state university boards operate with no
effective control by the Legislature, leading to
excessive tuition rates and duplications in re-
urch work,' said Paul S. Davis, president of the
Michigan Constitutional Revision Association.
"Public education should be organized in a
way so that students don't have to mortgage
themselves with big loans for a long period of
time." But Davis admits he does not know
exactly how the state Constitution should be
changed to limit tuition increases.
A constitutional convention could also
change the method by which University regents
are selected: Now elected on a statewide basis,
they could be appointed by the governor.
Molin said state appropriations to the Uni-
versity also could be threatened by constitu-
tional revisions. Anti-tax groups say that may
not be such a bad thing.
Among other tax-cutting provisions the
groups want to add to the Constitution are
restrictions on the income-tax rate, provisions
to revoke tenure protections for state employees
and home-rule guarantees for local municipali-
"The cost of a constitutional convention
would be relatively small compared to the po-
tential savings to the state and its taxpayers,"
The 1962-63 convention cost approximately
$2 million, and a new convention is estimated at
Proposal A has attracted relatively little at-
tention. although most traditionally Democratic
and Republican groups have come out agaist
"Almost everybody has some fears about ii,:
although they're not always the same fears'"
said University political science Prof. John
-Chamberlin. "The argument is that if you need
a change, you do it with a single amendment."
-James M. Nash
Proposal C is a perfect example. The pro-
posal is the referendum of Public Act 143, more
commonly known as Auto Insurance Reform.
Republican Rep. Mike Griffin sponsored the act
n After spending more than a year in off-and-
on debate, the proposal was approved by Gov.
John Engler and the final form now rests in the
hands of Michigan voters.
Concerned pa;is have criticized Proposal
C as being a copy of the 1992 election's Pro-
posal D, which failed.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Howard
Wolpe calls Proposal C "nothing more than
Proposal D warmed over from two years ago."
Although Proposal D - also known as the
AAA proposal - failed, Proposal C advocates
are confident this year's proposal will pass.
"This is not the AAA proposal. There are a
number of differences. It looks excellent going
into the election," said Mike Kent, a spokesman
for Michigan Citizens for Insurance Reform, a
coalition that supports the proposal.
The bill has received wide support from
insurance companies. The proposal also has
received sound support from most Republican
members of the state House.
Michigan Citizens for Insurance Reform has
received large contributions from insurance
companies for a television ad campaign sup-
porting the adoption of Proposal C.
The coalition represents major businesses and
public groups from around the state, including the
Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Greater
Detroit Chamber of Commerce, the National Bank
of Detroit, the Michigan Restaurant Association
and nearly 50,000 Michigan citizens.
"There has been a major public outcry for
reform," Kent said.
Although it controls and lowers insurance
rates, Proposal C permits companies to raise
them after six months.
While many of the proposal's critics claim
rates will rise even higher in six months, Kent
disagrees_ "What it will do is guarantee any
savings in this law for customers, The same
thing that keeps McDonald's from charging
$10 for a hamburger will keep insurance com-
pany rates down. It s competition," he said.
The proposed $1 million cap on coverage is
comparable to most other states. Additional cov-
erage up to $5 million could be purchased
- Maureen Sirhal
North Campus is
also in e lstW
Alice Lloyd Hall 1-2
oMmunity High School 1-3
'p625 N. Main St.
1 Bursley Hall 1-7
SreStation #5 2-1
j ~ 1946 Beal Ave
Mary Markley Hall 2-2
South Quad 3-2
IMary St. Polling Place 4-1
926 Mary St. 4-2
Coliseum, Fifth Ave. & Hill St. 4-3
Ann Arbor YMCA
350 S. Fifth Ave. 5-1
- ., - ~ - U -'~' ~
and tourists flock to
state parks year-round, they
give little thought to how
the parks are funded. How-
ever, the park system has
come under scrutiny for this Parks
very reason. Endowment
"Parks are the victim of
budgetary fluctuation in the economy. Every
time there is a downturn in the economy, the
parks get cut," said Michigan United Conserva-
tion Club Spokesman Rick Jameson.
Past diversion of funds to other public acts has
led to the creation of Proposal P, which would
add a constitutional amendment for an endowment
fund to support the maimenance of the state parks.
Many groups are keen on the passing of this
proposal, including People for the Parks, an
organization dedicated to the preservation of
the Michigan park system.
"Proposal P will provide a long-term and
stable source of funding for the state and local
parks," Jameson said.
People for the Parks, a coalition of groups
such as the Michigan United Conservation Clubs
- - -~_Granger -
and the Michigan Environmental Club, says
such a bill is long overdue.
The proposed amendment would create the
Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund from
gas and mining royalties paid to the state.
It also would increase the maximum al-
lowed in the Michigan Natural Resources Trust
Fund from $200 million to $400 million and
prohibit any diversions.
Many of the proposal's opponents do not
object to the idea of an endowment, but do
oppose establishing it in the Constitution.
"I am always skeptical when a state measure
is taken and enshrined in the constitution," said
Joe Overton. a spokesman for the Mackinac
Center for Public Policy, an independent policy
analyzing firm. "This would require certain
moneys to be set aside but it is not necessary to
make an amendment out of it. The Legiature
should be given control."
O\ erton added opponents have also argied
users should be the ones supporting the system.
Yet Jameson contends, "If the Michigan State
Park system is to continue playing a lead role in
tourism, we need to bring our parks into the future"
- Maureen Sirhal