Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):
As I have explained on several occasions, the two public acts that actually alter and raise the gasoline and diesel tax, with the resulting revenue dedicated to roads (468 PA 2014 and 475 PA 2014), have already been passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. Each of these public acts expressly provides that (1) it will take immediate effect, (2) it will take effect on October 1, 2015, and (3) it will not take effect unless the voters approve Proposal 1.
Does this seem a little odd? It does to me.
In Michigan, a public act generally takes effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session at which it was adopted. As an exception to this general rule, the Legislature may give an act immediate effect by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to and serving in each house. Const 1963, art 4, sec 27.
I realize that the Michigan Legislature gives immediate effect to public acts regularly; and sometimes the Legislature purports to make these same public acts contingent on the happening of a separate, future event. But I don't believe that this practice is in keeping with the language of the Michigan Constitution.
Moreover, even if the Legislature was constitutionally permitted to make the effectiveness of 468 PA 2014 and 475 PA 2014 contingent on the passage of Proposal 1 at the May election,** how could the Legislature include language specifying that the exact same acts would take effect both (1) immediately and (2) on October 1, 2015? This language, set forth in the enacting sections of the two acts, appears to be internally inconsistent. Lastly, October 1, 2015, is much more than 90 days after the end of the legislative session at which the acts were adopted. The language of Const 1963, art 4, sec 27 simply does not allow for a public act to take effect more than 90 days after the end of the legislative session at which it was adopted.
It seems that the Legislature, in its late-night haste, made several errors in the drafting of these public acts, and particularly their enacting sections. This is a prime example of poor legislative workmanship and is also inconsistent with the principles set forth in our state constitution.
** I have previously argued on this blog that the Michigan Legislature was not constitutionally permitted to make the effectiveness of 468 PA 2014 and 475 PA 2014 (or the eight other public acts in question) contingent on the passage of Proposal 1. I believe that the language of Const 1963, art 4, sec 34 delimits and restricts the Legislature's ability to tie the effectiveness of a public act to the outcome of a vote of the people. (See http://www.fixthemitten.com/blog/proposal-1-an-end-run-around-the-state-constitution).