Barry Rabe interviewed by Michigan Radio in segment, "Muddying the Michigan Constitution?"

September 20, 2012

Barry Rabe spoke with Michigan Radio about why some interest groups pursue policy change through amendments to the Michigan Constitution rather than through legislation.

A constitutional amendment, Rabe told Michigan Radio, can be used to bypass normal policy channels especially if the policy doesn't have a lot of support in the capitol. An amendment is also more permanent. "The difficulty in getting legislation through in Lansing and the attractiveness of etching something into the granite of a constitution thereby making it much, much more difficult for a subsequent legislature or governor to make substantial modifications."

In the interview, Rabe also pointed out that changing policy through constitutional amendment raises other unique issues, such as whether voters understand the measure before them.

"Some of these involve some very large structural changes as well as some nitty-gritty policy changes that normally would take the form of statute legislation, it does raise that question in some very interesting ways. How substantially are you modifying the Constitution?"

[Listen to the interview]