How the business of government makes changes beyond the ballot - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

How the business of government makes changes beyond the ballot

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

If you are a schlub about repairing your car, you logically would go to your favorite mechanic for help.  Finding an expert is the only sensible thing to do.

So when it comes to governmental issues, why do common folks willfully ignore and even berate the "experts" when it comes to knotty issues that frankly the common folks don't understand?

Not only do they ignore the advice of those on the inside, it gets even worse.  When those experts declare this or that, the public says, "Well if they are for it, there must be something wrong with it and therefore, I'm against it."

Two exhibits sit out there today.

A battle over how to raise taxes may be  in the offing.  The Michigan Alliance for Prosperity, incorrectly identified here last week as the Americans for Prosperity, is suggesting that all future tax hikes be passed with a two-thirds, rather than a simple majority vote.

All of official Lansing has come unglued with the prospects of this passing, but the louder the opponents cry out, the bigger the smiles get from the Alliance.  It knows this is going to pass if it gets on the ballot.

Exhibit B is term limits.

Ever since the voters said yes to that in 1992, official Lansing has groaned a collective "ugh."  You've heard all the arguments against term limits, so no need to regurgitate them here, but regardless, the polls suggest the general public still loves the law as much as the insiders detest it.

Now to the latest wrinkle in trying to change it.

For years, the opponents have flirted with launching a petition drive to put this on the ballot.  But the flirtation did not move beyond the licky-face stage.  It would cost millions to collect the signatures and millions more to "educate" the electorate and even with that, the whole thing would likely die anyway.

The latest strategy, which has not taken form yet, is to recruit some former legislators who lost their jobs due to term limits and have them file to run again.  They would be repulsed by the local clerk or the state, thus setting the stage for a lawsuit to overturn the law based on the notion that no citizens should be denied the right to run for office.

Former GOP House Speaker Rick Johnson in 2004 came "this" close to launching such a move.  He had a GOP lawmaker, former Rep. Larry Julian (R-Owosso) and former Detroit Democrat Rep. Ken Daniels, more than interested, but Johnson reports, they concluded "they did not want the hassle."

Yet Johnson, now a multi-client lobbyist, says he's talked to lots of "friends" and they agree, the courts are the only path to repeal.

Mr. Johnson says you would need three or four former lawmakers from each party and from all corners of the state to make it work.  He also thinks you need conservatives, liberals, and independents to give it more voter appeal. And he thinks he can find the recruits among former lawmakers and perhaps some current folks who are on their way out the door in December.

The strategy works because it does an end-run around the citizens and turns it over to the judges who supposedly do get it.

And that giant sucking sound you just heard is from all the term limit backers squawking about being left out of the debate.

 But not to worry, Mr. Johnson says this has not even reached the "talking" stage and is only a "thought."

However from little thoughts, major change might come and if so, it will be the pro-term limit folks who come unglued.

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