On Sunday, the Detroit Free Press issued its endorsements for the six proposals on the statewide ballot, recommending a yes vote on Proposal 1 and no votes on the other five.
Voting as the paper suggested would maintain the status quo. There would be no changes to Michigan's constitution and no laws would be repealed.
Proposal 1 concerns Public Act 4, the most recent version of the Emergency Manager Law. A yes vote would approve the law passed last year. A no vote would repeal it. In its call for approval, the Free Press called the law "unlikeable...but necessary." The paper also agreed with its critics that it was undemocratic, but that "the alternatives were much, much worse."
The Free Press agonized over both Proposal 2 and Proposal 3, as the paper has supported both labor and renewable energy over the years. On the other hand, it easily dismissed Proposals 4, 5, and 6.
The paper thought enshrining collective bargaining rights into the state's constitution would create "marathon litigation and administrative chaos." It also thought that Proposal 2 was unnecessary, as bargaining rights are already protected by state and federal law.
On the other hand, the Free Press supported all the goals of Proposal 3, saying "Almost everything about this plan is admirable except the idea of locking it into the state Constitution." The paper thought that Michigan could easily generate 25% of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind by 2025. It prefers that this goal be met through a voter-approved statute instead of a constitutional amendment.
The paper made a similar argument about Proposal 4, which would allow home health care aides to unionize while simultaneously establishing stricter standards for care of disabled patients. The paper considered the care of disabled people a legitimate civil rights issue, it disapproved of adding collective bargaining rights to the constitution.
The rejection of Proposal 5 just reinforced an earlier editorial, in which the Free Press called the ballot measure "a prescription for disaster."
Finally, the paper called Proposal 6 an effort to "preserve one family’s monopoly." It urged a no vote to allow the already agreed upon New International Trade Crossing to be built.