Rep. Lower plan brings transparency, accountability to petition initiative process

Categories: Lower News

State Rep. Jim Lower today introduced a plan to improve the integrity of Michigan’s petition initiative process and empower voters through increased transparency.

Lower, of Cedar Lake, said Michigan is among a minority of states that allows petition initiatives on statewide issues. His plan ensures the important process remains in place, with significant improvements.

“We will strengthen the grassroots lawmaking power of our citizens by preventing deception and improving transparency,” Lower said. “We can’t let out-of-state special interests parachute in and unfairly influence our petition process. Every Michigan voter – from Houghton to Alma to Detroit – deserves to be given a voice in our state’s important citizens’ initiative process.”

Protections laid out in House Bill 6595 include:

  • Requiring that not more than 10 percent of certified signatures come from any one congressional district.
  • Requiring initiative campaigns to provide a short summary at the top of their petitions.
  • Requiring circulators to prominently display their paid or volunteer status.
  • Making absolutely clear that if a petition circulator deceives people or provides fraudulent information, the signatures they collect must be invalidated.

“These responsible reforms empower Michigan voters,” Lower said. “Increased transparency will ensure voters are made aware when petition circulators are paid by out-of-state special interests and allow people to quickly size up the issue and determine whether or not they believe the initiative should be law.”

The plan has been referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee for consideration.