Canvassers reject casino, tax, bridge ballot plans

LANSING (AP) -- Proposals to let Michigan residents vote on eight new casinos, require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes and block construction of a new bridge to Canada failed to win November ballot spots Monday.

The Board of State Canvassers held separate 2-1 votes to approve placing the three items before voters Nov. 6. State election officials say all three proposals received the necessary number of voter signatures to make the ballot.

But to win the four-member board's approval for a spot on the ballot, at least one of the "yes" voters on each proposal needed to be a Democrat and a Republican. The "yes" votes were by Democrats Julie Matuzak and James Waters.

The one "no" vote was from Republican Colleen Pero. Republican Norman Shinkle was absent.

An appeal on the casino issue was expected to be filed by Tuesday, said Jonathan Raven, attorney for Citizens for More Michigan Jobs. The group is seeking to add a fourth casino in Detroit and seven more in other parts of the state.

Another group, Protect MI Constitution, is against the casino proposal and says it would improperly alter the state constitution and give the eight casinos liquor licenses. Michigan's Liquor Control Commission is tasked with issuing the licenses.

The Michigan Supreme Court last Friday overturned an appeals court decision to keep the casino plan off the ballot.

"The Supreme Court issued a very clear ruling rejecting the arguments of the adversaries of this proposal," Raven said Monday during his presentation to canvassers.

The tax proposal would allow voters to raise taxes if the Legislature fails to muster a two-thirds majority.

The bridge proposal was backed by Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun, who seeks to add another span to his own bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Gov. Rick Snyder backs an alternative plan for a Canadian financed bridge linking Detroit and Windsor. The Moroun-backed ballot proposal would require a statewide vote before a new international bridge can be built.

In a related matter, a state Court of Appeals panel voted 2-1 Monday to order the ballot to include a proposed amendment to the Michigan Constitution to strengthen collective bargaining rights for workers in the state. The Board of State Canvassers earlier failed to generate the votes needed to place the proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Published: Wed, Aug 29, 2012