In addition to the races for office in the November election, Michigan voters should prepare to vote on a few proposals that would change the state’s constitution.
Proposition 1, also known as Prop 1, will change the way Michigan buys new land and renovates state parks. Specifically, the proposition impacts how much money Michigan can hold in the trust the funds state parks, and where that money ultimately goes.
The proposition on the 2020 General Election ballot has been a long time coming -- the last major change to how Michigan funds state parks occurred in the mid 1990s. Back then, Michigan agreed on a cap on the money that the state can make from oil and gas drilling on state lands.
Proposition 1 would allow the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the board of several trusts, to remove the cap and spend 25% of that money on both buying more land and developing more recreation areas. If the proposal is approved, it also means that 20% of royalties collected by the state would have to be spent on improving existing parks -- such as upgrading bathrooms, shelters and boat ramps.
Environmentalists are split on just how much good, or harm, Proposition 1 could do.
The proposition is supported by dozens of environmental groups, including the Natural Resource Defense Council. It is also supported by business groups like the Michigan Oil and Gas Association and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Those in favor of Proposition 1 say it would be good for the parks, while also driving tourism -- which is good for business.
Groups like the Sierra Club and the Green Party of Michigan do not support the proposition, warning that changes to the trust fund could make the state more dependent on oil and gas drilling -- harming the parks that the trust is meant to protect.
The proposition comes as Gov. Whitmer cut about 40% of the Michigan DNR’s budget this year.
Election Day for the U.S. presidential election is on November 3. You can view a sample of what your Michigan ballot will look like online right here.