Skubick: Michigan voters push government reform petitions

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan voters may be the ones to install major governmental reforms if the state legislature refuses to do it. 6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick has the inside story.

Voters Not Politicians (VNP), a grassroots political movement launched a petition drive in 2017 that aimed to combat gerrymandering, the practice of drawing electoral districts in a way that benefits one political party.

VNP was founded as a ballot initiative that aimed to end gerrymandering. The initiative received 61% of the vote, according to their website.

They now claim to be a major movement in Michigan.

Many major political players thought VNP would fail… They did not. Their plan got overwhelming support from the voters, much to the dismay of politicians who wanted to keep their power.

Nancy Wang, the CEO OF NVP says the voters want major government reforms, including temporarily banning lawmakers from immediately becoming lobbyists once they leave office.

“We want to see open records. We want to see financial disclosure,” said Wang. “And we want real conflict of interest laws.”

Last week, the Michigan House overwhelmingly passed reforms to the “lame duck” post-election session by mandating a two-thirds vote on every bill.

GOP State Senate Leader Mike Shirkey seems unhappy with the bill

Wang says she and her group will turn up the heat on Shirkey.

“We’re going to hold accountable those legislators who stand in the way,” she said.

Wang says if Shirkey blocks the reforms, she and her group will launch another statewide petition drive. She is confident that they can get enough signatures on the ballot, allowing you, the voter to decide, rather than the politicians.

She predicts anothber win.

“Just like Gerrymandering, voters understand the problem and would fully support (reform) if it were on the ballot.”

Lawmakers have a choice: adopt these reforms, or let the voters do it for them.

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