Election reform package bound for governor’s desk

Election reform package bound for governor’s desk

LANSING—Legislation that will increase accountability in Michigan’s elections was approved by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday, said Dave Robertson, chairman of the Local Government and Elections Committee.

“This package preserves the integrity of the elections process to ensure that every vote counts and is only counted once,” said Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township. “It increases accountability by requiring candidates to file accurate and timely reports or risk more servere consequences.”

Robertson is the primary sponsor of four bills in the nine bill package and a co-sponsor of the rest of the bills. The legation includes measures that will:

• Increase penalties for inaccurate or missing campaign finance statements;
• Crack down on voter registration fraud by adding identification requirements and training for third-party registration groups;
• Require a voter to indicate that he is a U.S. citizen prior to voting in person or by absentee ballot;
• Prevent non-citizens who have been inadvertently added to voter rolls from accidently voting and getting into legal trouble;
• Require the secretary of state to post the most recent ballot petition language online; and
• Create a misdemeanor if an individual solicits or receives compensation to support or oppose a candidate, political committee or political party.

“Unfortunately, there is a potential for fraud in elections,” Robertson said. “However, this legislation addresses a number of loopholes in our current system that need to be closed. It will discourage political tricks and increase penalties for those who try to skirt the law. I look forward to these bills becoming law.”

Senate Bills 750-754, 803 and 823-825 now head to the governor to be signed into law.


Robertson measure increases parental power

Robertson measure increases parental power

Lansing— The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would empower parents to turn a failing public school into a conversion school, said sponsor state Sen. Dave Robertson.

Senate Bill 620 would allow parents as well as public school teachers to convert a public school that has been placed on the Persistently Low Achieving list, which are the lowest achieving 5 percent of schools as determined by the state Department of Education.

Under the measure, parents and/or parents and teachers petition the school board to convert a school. Specifically, signatures from 60 percent of parents or 51 percent of parents and 60 percent of teachers at the school in question are required to petition the board.

More than 66,400 students statewide are enrolled in one of the 92 low performing schools as identified by a formula that includes proficiency rates in math and reading and graduation rates for high schools. Detroit Public Schools had the most schools on the list with 38.

“I always ask myself two questions: whose kids are they and whose tax dollars are they?  The answer is the parents,” said Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township. This legislation gives parents the opportunity to take control of their children's education and insist on what is best for their student.”

Senate Bill 620 now advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration