LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday signed a law making it harder for groups to put proposals on the statewide ballot and vetoed one that would have hamstrung the incoming Democratic attorney general.
The term-limited Republican acted days before he leaves office after a frenetic lame-duck session in which GOP lawmakers passed measures criticized by Democrats as blatant and unconstitutional power grabs.
While Republicans in neighboring Wisconsin enacted what are considered to be more sweeping laws to curb newly elected Democrats, the Michigan bills also are significant.
One new law allows no more than 15 percent of voter signatures for a ballot drive to come from any one of the state's 14 congressional districts. There currently is no geographical requirement, and voters last month passed three Democratic-backed initiatives to legalize marijuana for recreational use, curb partisan gerrymandering and expand voting options.
The vetoed bill would have empowered the Legislature to intervene in lawsuits, a power reserved until now for the attorney general, who will be a Democrat starting next week. Another law — signed by Snyder — makes it tougher for Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer's administration to set regulations that are stricter than those mandated by the federal government.
Regulators can still impose rules tougher than federal standards, but there must be a "clear and convincing" need.
Snyder this month also signed laws to weaken minimum wage and paid sick time laws that began as ballot initiatives — an unprecedented maneuver that is sure to be challenged in court.