Constitution of Michigan

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Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963
Seal of Michigan.svg
CreatedAugust 1, 1962
RatifiedJune 20, 1963
Date effectiveJanuary 1, 1964
LocationLibrary of Michigan
Author(s)Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1961
PurposeTo replace the Michigan Constitution of 1908
Full Text
Michigan Constitution of 1963 at Wikisource

The Constitution of the State of Michigan is the governing document of the U.S. state of Michigan. It describes the structure and function of the state's government.

There have been four constitutions approved by the people of Michigan. The first was approved on October 5 and 6,[1] 1835, written as Michigan was preparing to become a state of the Union, which occurred in January 1837.[2] Subsequent constitutions were ratified in 1850 and 1908. The current constitution was approved by voters in 1963.[3]

Historic constitutions[edit]

1835 Constitution[edit]

The 1835 Constitution on display at the Michigan Historical Center on Statehood Day in 2013

On January 26, 1835, Acting Territorial Governor Stevens T. Mason issued an enabling act authorizing the people of Michigan to form a constitution and state government. The Michigan Territorial Council, the unicameral governing body of the Michigan Territory called a constitutional convention in anticipation of statehood. The convention lasted until June 24, and the proposed constitution was adopted by the voters on October 5, 1835, by a 5-to-1 margin, with 6,299 votes for and 1,359 votes against.[4][5] A bill of rights was included in this constitution, though suffrage was granted only to white males over age 21. The constitution established a superintendent of public instruction, an office which still exists today, and the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, as well as the auditor general and the justices of the Supreme Court were to be appointed, not elected.[1]

List of Delegates to the 1835 Constitutional Convention
Name County District Officer
John J. Adam Lenawee 3
J. S. Axford Macomb 6
Samuel Axford Macomb 6
John S. Barry St. Joseph 13
Louis Beaufait Wayne 1
John Biddle Wayne 1 President
Seleck C. Boughton Lenawee 3
John Brewer Washtenaw 4
Russell Briggs Washtenaw 4
Richard Brower Washtenaw 4
Ammon Brown Wayne 1
Ephraim Calkin Macomb 6
Emanuel Case Washtenaw 4
Bela Chapman Chippewa 16
Jonathan Chase Oakland 5
Eliphalet Clark Monroe 2
John Clark St. Clair 7
Lemuel Colbath Monroe 2
Alpheus Collins Washtenaw 4
Darius Comstock Lenawee 3
Ezra Convis Calhoun 10
Elijah F. Cook Oakland 5
Isaac E. Crary Calhoun 10
Rufus Crossman Washtenaw 4
Thomas Curtis Oakland 5
J. D. Davis Wayne 1
Rosevelt Davis Jackson 8
Norman Davison Oakland 5
Michael Dousman Mackinac 15
John Ellenwood Oakland 5
Edward D. Ellis Monroe 2
George W. Ferrington Wayne 1
Peter P. Ferry Monroe 2
Townsend E. Gidley Jackson 8
Abel Godard Washtenaw 4
James F. Godfroy Monroe 2
Caleb Herrington Wayne 1
Orin Howe Washtenaw 4
Joseph Howell Lenawee 3
Allen Hutchins Lenawee 3
Samuel Ingersoll Monroe 2
Charles F. Irwin Wayne 1
Baldwin Jenkins Cass 12
Elijah Lacy Berrien 14
Hubbell Loomis St. Joseph 13
Lucius Lyon Kalamazoo 11
Randolph Manning Oakland 5
Robert McClelland Monroe 2
John McDonell Wayne 1
Lewis T. Miller Hillsdale & Branch 9
William Moore Washtenaw 4
Benjamin B. Morris Oakland 5
Edward Mundy Washtenaw 4
Seneca Newberry Oakland 5
James Newton Cass 12
Nathaniel Noble Washtenaw 4
John Norvell Wayne 1
James O'Dell Cass 12
Asa H. Otis Wayne 1
William Patrick Oakland 5
Joseph H. Patterson Lenawee 3
Henry Porter Macomb 6
Solomon Porter Macomb 6
Robert Purdy Washtenaw 4
Ebenezer Raynale Oakland 5
Roswell B. Rexford Jackson 8
Jeremiah Riggs Oakland 5
Gilbert Shattuck Washtenaw 4
Martin G. Shellhouse St. Joseph 13
Amos Stevens Wayne 1
Michael P. Stubbs Washtenaw 4
Josephus V. D. Sutphen Monroe 2
Theophilus E. Tallman Wayne 1
Joshua B. Taylor Oakland 5
Conrad Ten Eyck Wayne 1
Alexander R. Tiffany Lenawee 3
Jacob Tucker Macomb 6
Peter VanEvery Wayne 1
Isaac I. Voorheis Oakland 5
Ralph Wadhams St. Clair 7
William H. Welch Kalamazoo 11
Hezekiah G. Wells Kalamazoo 11
Alpheus White Wayne 1
David White Monroe 2
Orrin White Monroe 4
Samuel White Oakland 5
John Whitney Lenawee 3
Ross Wilkins Lenawee 3
Titus B. Willard Berrien 14
John R. Williams Wayne 1
William Woodbridge Wayne 1


1850 Constitution[edit]

The Constitution of 1850 was adopted November 5, 1850, after a convention lasting two and a half months. Major changes from the 1835 Constitution included making the Secretary of State, the attorney general, the auditor general, and the Supreme Court elected rather than appointed offices, directed the state to establish an agricultural school, and added articles on local government, finance and taxation, and corporations. It also added the provision that the question of a general revision of the constitution be submitted at the general election every 16 years.[4][7] A proposed amendment to extend to women the right to vote in 1874 was defeated, 136,000-40,000.[8]

List of Delegates to the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Name County Officer
Wales Adam Branch
Peter R. Adams Lenawee
Henry J. Alvord Wayne
Robert H. Anderson Jackson
Alexander M. Arzeno Monroe
William T. Axford Oakland
Henry Backus Wayne
Joseph H. Bagg Wayne
Ely Barnard Livingston
Henry Bartow Ionia
John Bartow Genesee
Charles E. Beardsley Eaton
Jacob Beeson Berrien
Calvin Britain Berrien
Alvarado Brown Branch
Ammon Brown Wayne
Asahel Brown Branch
John D. Burns Eaton
Charles P. Bush Ingham
John L. Butterfield Jackson
William S. Carr Washtenaw
Charles Chandler Lenawee
Charles W. Chapel Macomb
Emerson Choate Monroe
Thomas B. Church Kent & Ottawa
John Clark St. Clair
Samuel Clark Kalamazoo
Addison J. Comstock Lenawee
William Connor St. Joseph
John P. Cook Hillsdale
Jerry G. Cornell Jackson
Isaac E. Crary Calhoun
Robert Crouse Livingston
Ephraim B. Danforth Ingham
Ebenezer Daniels Lenawee
Peter Desnoyer Wayne
Reuben B. Dimond St. Clair
Timothy Eastman Kent & Ottawa
Ebenezer C. Eaton Wayne
James M. Edmunds Washtenaw
Henry Fralick Wayne
Elbridge G. Gale Genesee
Earle P. Gardiner Washtenaw
John Gibson Wayne
Daniel Goodwin Wayne President
Jonathan B. Graham Hillsdale
Nelson Green Lenawee
Alfred H. Hanscom Oakland
Noah H. Hart Lapeer
George C. Harvey Lenawee
Volney Hascall Kalamazoo
Hiram Hathaway Macomb
Daniel Hixon Washtenaw
James Kingsley Washtenaw
Daniel Kinne Hillsdale
DeWitt C. Leach Genesee
Daniel S. Lee Livingston
Cyrus Lovell Ionia
Henry B. Marvin Monroe
Lorenzo Mason St. Clair
Robert McClelland Monroe
William Norman McLeod Mackinac
Edward S. Moore St. Joseph
William V. Morrison Calhoun
John Mosher Hillsdale
Zebina M. Mowry Oakland
Seneca Newberry Oakland
Morgan O'Brien Washtenaw
Joseph W. T. Orr Barry
John D. Pierce Calhoun
Nathan Pierce Calhoun
F. J. Prevost Shiawassee
Ebenezer Raynale Oakland
George Redfield Cass
Elijah J. Roberts Chippewa
Andrew S. Robertson Macomb
Elisha S. Robinson Jackson
Mitchel Robinson Cass
Rix Robinson Kent & Ottawa
Elias M. Skinner Washtenaw
Milo Soule Calhoun
Wilbur F. Storey Jackson
David Sturgis Clinton
James Sullivan Cass
Jabez G. Sutherland Saginaw
Alexander R. Tiffany Lenawee
Oka Town Allegan
Jacob Van Valkenburgh Oakland
Benjamin W. Wait Washtenaw
DeWitt C. Walker Macomb
Robert Warden Jr. Livingston
James Webster Oakland
Hezekiah G. Wells Kalamazoo
Charles W. Whipple Berrien
Jonathan R. White Lapeer
Gideon O. Whittemore Oakland
Isaac W. Willard Van Buren
Joseph R. Williams St. Joseph
Benjamin F. H. Witherell Wayne
Elias S. Woodman Oakland


1908 Constitution[edit]

The Constitution of 1908 was adopted on November 3 of that year, after a convention of 96 delegates lasting four and a half months, from October 1907 to March 1908.[4][9][10]

List of Delegates to the 1907–1908 Constitutional Convention
Name Senatorial District Post Office Officer
William H. Acker 12 Richmond
Edgar J. Adams 16 Grand Rapids
Theron W. Atwood 21 Caro
Robert S. Babcock 26 Manistee
John Baird 22 Zilwaukee
Clarke E. Baldwin 5 Adrian
Frederick J. Baldwin 18 Coral
Levi L. Barbour 2 Detroit
Horace T. Barnaby Jr. 17 Grand Rapids
James F. Barnett 16 Grand Rapids
Roswell P. Bishop 26 Ludington
Charles M. Black 23 Muskegon
Nathan S. Boynton 11 Port Huron
Archibald Broomfield 25 Big Rapids
Jefferson G. Brown 11 Avoca
Thomas H. Brown 1 Highland Park
William E. Brown 21 Lapeer
Wellington R. Burt 22 Saginaw
Clarence M. Burton 2 Detroit
William D. Calverly 32 Houghton
Gordon R. Campbell 32 Calumet
Henry M. Campbell 1 Detroit
John J. Carton 13 Flint President
Martin J. Cavanaugh 10 Ann Arbor
Merritt Chandler 29 Onaway
Albert B. Cook 14 Owosso
George W. Coomer 4 Wyandotte
Ozro N. Cranor 26 Ludington
William Dawson 20 Sandusky
Charles J. DeLand 10 Jackson
Andrew L. Deuel 29 Harbor Springs
John Archibald Fairlie 10 Ann Arbor
Delos Fall 9 Albion
Richard C. Flannigan 31 Norway
Alfred M. Fleischhauer 25 Reed City
Eugene Foster 28 Gladwin
Herbert L. Freeman 13 Flushing
Lawrence C. Fyfe 7 St. Joseph
Victor M. Gore 7 Benton Harbor
James H. Hall 20 Port Austin
Patrick J. M. Hally 3 Detroit
Victor Hawkins 6 Jonesville
Henry T. Heald 16 Grand Rapids
Benjamin F. Heckert 8 Paw Paw
Lawton T. Hemans 14 Mason
John W. Holmes 19 Alma
George B. Horton 5 Fruit Ridge
Calvin E. Houk 32 Ironwood
Frederick F. Ingram 3 Detroit
Walter C. Jones 7 Marcellus
William M. Kilpatrick 14 Owosso
Leonard F. Knowles 27 Boyne City
Colon C. Lillie 23 Coopersville
Medor E. Louisell 27 Frankfort
William C. Manchester 4 Detroit
Frank D. Mead 30 Escanaba
Joseph Merrell 3 Detroit
Alfred Milnes 6 Coldwater
Frank R. Monfort 19 Ithaca
Andrew L. Moore 12 Pontiac
George W. Moore 11 Port Huron
David T. Morgan 31 Republic
Edwin C. Nichols 9 Battle Creek
William J. Oberdorfer 30 Stephenson
William E. Osmun 23 Montague
Floyd L. Post 24 Midland
Herbert E. Powell 18 Ionia
Frank S. Pratt 24 Bay City
Leslie B. Robertson 5 Adrian
Kleber P. Rockwell 12 Pontiac
George E. Rowe 17 Grand Rapids
Frederick J. Russell 26 Hart
Ignatius J. Salliotte 4 Ecorse
Eugene F. Sawyer 27 Cadillac
Albert E. Sharpe 30 Sault Ste. Marie
Edwin O. Shaw 25 Newaygo
Charles C. Simons 2 Detroit
John M. C. Smith 15 Charlotte
Osmond H. Smith 28 Harrisville
Ernest A. Snow 22 Saginaw
Hugh P. Stewart 6 Centreville
Justin L. Sutherland 18 Portland
Walter R. Taylor 9 Kalamazoo
Charles N. Thew 8 Allegan
Charles H. Thomas 15 Hastings
Charles D. Thompson 20 Bad Axe
Louis E. Tossy 1 Detroit
Willis L. Townsend 29 Gaylord
Edward A. Turnbull 15 Grand Ledge
James Van Kleeck 24 Bay City
Henry E. Walbridge 19 St. Johns
Jay C. Walton 13 Howell
Charles H. Watson 31 Crystal Falls President Pro Tem
Guy J. Wicksall 8 South Haven
Walter S. Wixson 21 Caro
Henry H. Woodruff 28 Roscommon
Roger I. Wykes 17 Grand Rapids


1963 Constitution[edit]

Article I: Declaration of Rights[edit]

Many provisions of Article I of the Michigan Constitution appear to be taken from the United States Bill of Rights, with some sections being verbatim ones found there.

Article one of the Michigan Constitution is analogous to the United States Bill of Rights and consists of 27 sections, though originally consisting of only 23 sections when the current constitution was adopted in 1963. It is similar to the declaration of rights in many other state constitutions and mirrors many of the provisions found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Section one spells out how “All political power is inherent in the people.” Section two establishes the rule of law, equality before the law, and principles of non-discrimination. Section three describes the rights of assembly, consultation, instruction, and petition; the rights of association and protest can also be derived from this section. Section four establishes the freedom of religion by saying, “Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.” Section five protects the freedom of speech and the freedom of press. Section six consists of the right to bear arms.

Section seven provides that the military power is subordinate to the civil power and section eight provides protection against the quartering of soldiers on private property and the undue intrusion of agents of the state. Section nine prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, but specifically allows for criminal punishments that amount to community service. Section ten says, “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law or law impairing the obligation of contract shall be enacted.”

Section eleven protects against unreasonable searches and seizures and creates the necessity for law enforcement to obtain warrants to conduct either one. Part of section eleven was struck down numerous times in court as being in violation of the United States Constitution (Lucas v. People, Caver v. Kropp, People v. Pennington, and People v. Andrews); that part reads, “The provisions of this section shall not be construed to bar from evidence in any criminal proceeding any narcotic drug, firearm, bomb, explosive or any other dangerous weapon, seized by a peace officer outside the curtilage of any dwelling house in this state.” Section twelve protects the writ of habeas corpus, while section thirteen provides “A suitor in any court of this state has the right to prosecute or defend his suit, either in his own proper person or by an attorney.” It could be interpreted as the right of access to the courts.

Section fourteen preserve the right to trial by jury, in both civil (for those with remedies at law; juries for equitable remedies require a special process) and criminal cases. Section fifteen prohibits double jeopardy, provides that “All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties”, but goes on to list the limited instances where bail can be denied and the remedies for those who were denied bail. Section sixteen protects against excessive punishments, including cruel or unusual punishment, excessive bail, and excessive fines. It also prohibits the unreasonable detention of witnesses. Section seventeen protects a person against forced self-incrimination and provides for fair treatment during investigations and hearings. Section eighteen prohibits witnesses from being dismissed because of religious beliefs. Section nineteen provides the right to truth as a defense against defamation accusations. Section twenty provides for the rights of the accused during criminal proceedings. Section twenty-one prohibits imprisonment for debt, and section twenty-two provides for the definition of treason and the requirements to convict someone of it. Section twenty-three proclaims “The enumeration in this constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Section twenty-four provides for the rights of crime victims and was adopted by initiative in 1988. Section twenty-five was adopted by initiative in 2004 and defines marriage as between one man and one woman, effectively prohibiting same-sex marriage and polygamy. Section twenty-six prohibits affirmative action programs and calls for the equal treatment of all candidates for public education, employment, and contracts; it was adopted in 2006 by initiative. Section twenty-seven provides for human embryonic stem cell research in the state; it was adopted by initiative in 2008. Section twenty-eight provides a right to reproductive freedom; it was adopted by initiative in 2022.

Article II: Elections[edit]

U.S. Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin, is an example of someone who benefited from the Supreme Court's ruling overturning state-imposed term limits on Members of Congress like those found in Article II of the Michigan Constitution. He served in the Senate from 1979 to 2015.

Article two establishes the basic rules, procedures, and guidelines for elections in the State of Michigan. It provides that all citizens of the United States who are at least 21 years of age (though the 26th amendment to the United States Constitution lowers this to 18 years), have resided in the state at least six months, and who meets the requirements of local residence shall be entitled to vote. It also empowers the legislature to exclude people from voting because of mental incompetence (though in Doe v. Rowe Federal District Court Judge George Singal found it unconstitutional to deny a person the right to vote solely because of the existence of a mental illness)[11] or commitment to a jail or prison. It also allows the legislature to lessen these requirements for presidential elections.

The article also establishes the time, place, and manner of elections, in addition to the necessity of a vote of the resident electors for increases in property taxes above certain thresholds on the county and municipal level as well as for the issuing of municipal and county bonds. Article two establishes a state board of canvassers and primary elections. It prohibits ballot designations of candidates, except in cases of similar surnames. It also instructs the legislature to “enact laws to preserve the purity of elections, to preserve the secrecy of the ballot, to guard against abuses of the elective franchise, and to provide for a system of voter registration and absentee voting.”

Article two provides for limited direct democracy through the initiative, referendum, and recall, establishing a process for all three. All three are invoked by petitions followed up by ballot votes.

Article two also attempts to restrict the number of terms United States Senators and Representatives from the State of Michigan can serve. For senators, it is twice within any given twenty-four year period (no more than two-consecutive terms without a break of two terms), while for representatives it is three times during any given twelve-year period (no more than three consecutive terms without a break of three terms). Such term limits were adopted in 1992 by ballot initiative but were ruled to be unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.

Article III: General Government[edit]

The seal of the State of Michigan as provided for in Section 3 of Article 3

Article three outlines some of the basics of the Michigan government, including that the state capital is Lansing and that within the government there shall be a separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial branches. It also establishes a great seal and a militia, providing that law will regulate both. The article also allows the state and its subdivisions to enter into agreements with other governments, including other states, the United States, and Canada, and any subdivisions therein.

Section six limits internal improvements. Section seven of the article continues the common law and statutes already in effect at the time it takes force which do not conflict with the constitution itself. Section eight says that “Either house of the legislature or the governor may request the opinion of the supreme court on important questions of law upon solemn occasions as to the constitutionality of legislation after it has been enacted into law but before its effective date.”

Article IV: Legislative Branch[edit]

The floor of the Michigan House of Representatives

Article IV has 54 sections, originally having only 53 sections before the addition of term limits for members of the State Legislature.

Section 1 vests the legislative powers of the state in a house of representatives and a senate. It continues by stating that the number of senators is to be 38 and their terms are to be for four years. It describes the process to create senatorial districts and apportionment factors and rules. It then fixes the number of representatives at 110 and their terms for periods of two years.

It continues by describing the apportionment rules and factors for representative districts, including the method, the process to form areas for districts, the annexation or merger with a city for apportionment purposes, the contiguity of islands. The article also describes the composition of and empowers the commission which draws state legislative districts, including eligibility for membership on the commission, terms, the filling of vacancies, officers, compensation, public hearings, and public records. It also handles disagreement by the commission as to which plan is the best or most appropriate, which is settled by the Supreme Court. The same section also empowers any elector to challenge the lines drawn by the commission in the Supreme Court on any basis of bias or discrimination or otherwise not meeting the standards set forth in the constitution.

Section seven sets forth the qualifications of senators and representatives: "Each senator and representative must be a citizen of the United States, at least 21 years of age, and an elector of the district he represents. The removal of his domicile from the district shall be deemed a vacation of the office. No person who has been convicted of subversion or who has within the preceding 20 years been convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust shall be eligible for either house of the legislature."

Sections eight and nine describe the ineligibility of legislators to be federal, state, or local employees or officials, but allows them to be in the armed forces reserves and or a notary public. Section ten prohibits conflicts of interest in state, county, and municipal contracts for legislators and other state employees. Section eleven describes the privileges of members of the legislature, all of which are similar to those of Members of Congress. Section twelve establishes the state compensation commission and allows the legislature to override it only be active action.

Sections thirteen and fourteen deal with specific procedural issues of the legislature, including quorums, convening, adjournment, and related topics.

Article V: Executive Branch[edit]

Gretchen Whitmer is the governor of Michigan and the head of the executive branch.

Article V has a total of 30 sections which outline the powers and duties of officers in the executive branch of state government.

The executive power of the state is vested in the governor.[12]

Section 2 limits the number of state executive departments to 20 which may be reorganized by the governor by executive order (the Legislature has the power to disapprove of a reorganization within 60 days). The head of each department is required to be a single person appointed by the governor, except where the constitution or law provides for a board or commission.

Many appointments by the governor are subject to the advice and consent of the state Senate, however a Senate vote is only for disapproval of an appointment as opposed to the advice and consent of the United States Senate for a presidential appointment which is required before a nominee takes office.[13]

The departments of state government are under the supervision of the governor, and the directors form the governor's cabinet. The governor also has the power to initiate court proceedings in the state's name to enforce compliance with a constitutional or state mandate, but this power does not authorize a suit against the Legislature.[14] The governor also has the power to remove or suspend from office any elected or appointed state officer, except a legislator or a judge.[15]

The governor is the commander-in-chief of the Michigan National Guard, issues writs of election to fill vacancies in the Legislature, has the power to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and may convene the Legislature on extraordinary occasions.

Annually, the governor delivers a State of the State message to a joint session of the Legislature and may present special messages throughout the year on various topics. They also delivers a budget recommendation each year, assisted by the State Budget Director. The governor has a line-item veto for appropriations bills.

Article V also prescribes the powers and duties of the three other major elected state officers: the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and the attorney general. All three are nominated at their respective party conventions; the lieutenant governor runs on a ticket with the governor for the general election.

In order to be eligible for election as governor or lieutenant governor, a person must be 30 years old and a registered voter in Michigan for the four years preceding election.

An executive residence is provided for the use of the governor at Lansing. They also have a summer residence on Mackinac Island.

Like the Vice President of the United States, the lieutenant governor is the president of the state Senate. The lieutenant governor is also first in the line of gubernatorial succession, followed by the secretary of state and the attorney general. Unlike the Vice President, when the governor is out of the state, the lieutenant governor possesses all of the powers of the governor, including the power to sign bills passed by the Legislature.

Under an amendment to the state Constitution adopted by the voters in 1992, the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general are limited to two four-year terms in office.

Article VI: Judicial Branch[edit]

The Honorable Robert P. Young, Jr. was the chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and the functional head of the judicial branch.

The Constitution vests the judicial power of the state in "one court of justice," divided into one supreme court, one court of appeals, one circuit court (the state trial court), probate courts, and other courts that the Legislature may establish.[16]

The Supreme Court consists of seven justices nominated at party conventions and elected at a non-partisan general election. A chief justice is elected by the court from among its members, and the court also selects an administrator of the courts.[17] The Court has "general superintending power" over all of the courts in the state, but it does not have the power to remove a judge. Decisions of the Court and dissents are required to be in writing.

Article VII: Local government[edit]

Article VII provides for local units of government, particularly counties, townships, cities, and villages.

Counties are to be governed by an elected board of commissioners, as well as a popularly elected sheriff, clerk, treasurer, register of deeds, and prosecuting attorney. State law also provides for an optional form of county government which includes a popularly elected county executive.[18] Currently, only Oakland and Bay Counties are governed in this fashion. Counties are also granted the authority to adopt a charter, subject to a vote of the people. Currently, only Wayne and Macomb Counties have adopted county charters.

Article VIII: Education[edit]

Article VIII provides for a system of public education in the state, stating that "Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

The Legislature is charged with the maintenance of the state's public schools and assigns supervision of education in the state to a popularly elected State Board of Education; the State Board, in turn, selects a state superintendent of public instruction who is the principal officer of the Michigan Department of Education.

Michigan's 15 public universities are each governed by a board, which is either elected (in the cases of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, the University of Michigan Board of Regents, and Wayne State University Board of Governors) or appointed by the governor (in the cases of the other 12 universities' boards of control or trustees). Each board selects the university's president.

The legislature also establishes and supports public community and junior colleges and public libraries.

Article IX: Finance and Taxation[edit]

Article IX deals with taxation and financial issues with the government of Michigan.

Section 1 outlines how taxes should be used to pay the expenses of the government.

Section 2 gives the power of taxation for the government of Michigan exclusively to the government of Michigan and cannot be sold, or given to any other groups.

Section 3 describes the assessment of property for taxation, how property should be evaluated for taxation, and other details of property taxes.

Section 4 states non-profit religious and educational properties are exempt from real and personal property tax.

Section 5 states that the assessment of the property will be provided by the legislature of Michigan and that properties assessed by the state shall be assessed as the same proportion of the true cash value as specified by the legislature.

Section 7 declares that the state of Michigan or its subdivision will not impose an income tax.

Section 8 states the state cannot tax more than 4% sales tax on gross taxable sales of tangible personal property. No sales tax or use tax will be charged on the sale of prescription drugs and food except for alcoholic beverages.

Section 9 describes that no less than 90% of taxes collected as a result of sales tax of transport vehicles be used on public transport infrastructure. Along with that 100% of sales taxes collected from fuel for transport vehicles be used on public transport infrastructure.

Section 10 states 15% of sales taxes not exceeding 4% will be exclusively used by municipal governments according to population.

Section 11 states 60% of sales taxes not exceeding 4% will be used for school aid and public education.

Section 12 states evidence of debt by the state will not be issued except for debts authorized by the Constitution of Michigan.

Section 13 states Public bodies are allowed to take on debt.

Section 14 states that the total debt of the state is not allowed to exceed 15% of state revenues of the previous fiscal year and such debts will be paid for by the end of the fiscal year.

Section 15 outlines the state can borrow money in amounts approved by 2/3 of each house of the state legislature and a majority of electors voting in any general election.

Section 16 outlines debt relating to public education; bonds of school districts, repayments of loans, and the levying of taxes by school districts, along with allowing school districts unhampered limitations of tax rates or interest.

Section 17 declares the state cannot pay for purchases without appropriations by law.

Section 18 states the credit of the state will not be used for the aid of any individual or organization without authorization of the Constitution of Michigan.

Section 19 prevents the state from investing or buying stock in any corporation except for pensions or retirement restrained by law, charitable or educational purposes held by trustees, permanent or endowment funds, investments in banks, saving and loan associations, or credit unions.

Section 20 states no state money shall be deposited in banks, saving loan associations, or credit unions other than those organized by the state or United States Federal Government. No money deposited in banks, saving loan associations, or credit unions be in excess of 50% of the net worth of the associated banks, saving loan associations, or credit unions. Any banks, saving loan associations, or credit unions, receiving such funds shall publish these deposits publicly.

Section 21 requires the state to annually account for all public finances, state and local. Local governments are required uniform accounting throughout the state.

Section 22 states procedures for the examination and adjustment of claims against the state shall be prescribed by law.

Section 23 states all financial records are to be made publicly available. All revenues and expenses shall be published and distributed annually.

Section 24 states the financial benefits of pension plans shall not be diminished or impaired.

Section 25 declares property taxes or local taxes are not allowed to be raised above the limit prescribed by the Constitution without voter approval. The state is not allowed to expand services by local governments in such a way as to burden local governments or change the proportion of funding to a greater share being paid for by local governments.

Section 26 describes a limit to how much taxes can be raised in a fiscal year, this limit cannot be changed without majority voter approval as provided in Article XII. Outlines the formula for the revenue limit, and associated situations regarding the revenue limit and revenue of the state.

Section 27 states that the state may only exceed the revenue limit if, the governor requests the legislator declares an emergency, the request is specific to the nature of the emergency, and at least 2/3rds of the legislature of both houses declares an emergency in accordance to the governor's request.

Section 28 states no expenses of the state government shall be acquired in any fiscal year which goes over the limitations in sections 26 and 27.

Section 29 states the state is not allowed to lower the proportion of costs of any service. A new service or increase in an existing service greater than those stated by law shall not be required by the legislature or any departments of local governments unless a state appropriation is made and disbursed to pay the unit of local government for increased costs.

Section 30 states total state spending on local governments shall not be reduced lower than the 1978-1979 fiscal year.

Section 31 states local governments are not allowed to levy taxes without authorization by law or approval of a majority of qualified electors in local governments.

Section 32 states taxpayers can bring a suit to the Michigan State Court of Appeals to enforce provisions sections 25 to 31.

Section 33 describes definitions used in previous sections of Article IX.

Section 34 declares the Michigan Legislature must implement sections 25 to 33 in Article IX.

Section 35 establishes a natural resource trust fund for the State of Michigan.

Section 36 states there will be a 6% sales tax on tobacco products that shall be spent on improving healthcare in residents of the states.

Section 37 establishes a trust fund for veterans.

Section 38 the trust fund for veterans described in section 37 will be managed by a fund board of trustees consisting of veterans who are honourably discharged or appointed by the governor.

Section 39 the trust fund board of trustees for the trust fund described in section 38 shall administer the trust fund described in section 38.

Section 40 establishes conservatory and recreation legacy funds. That funds and protects forests, off-vehicle parks, recreational parks, snowmobile parks, state parks, and waterways.

Section 41 establishes a trust fund for game and fish protection for hunting and fishing.

Section 42 establishes a trust fund for nongame fish and wildlife.

Article X: Property[edit]

Article XI: Public Officers and Employment[edit]

Article XI prescribes the oath of office to be taken by all officers of the state. It also sets the time at which terms of office of elective state officers and judges begins—12 noon on the January 1 after their election.

This article also sets provisions regarding money and public officials, saying that no extra compensation can be given to any public officer, agent or contractor after services have been rendered or a contract entered into. Additionally, a person have custody or control of public money cannot be a member of the Legislature or hold office under the state until an accounting is made of what they are liable for.

The state civil service is also described in this article.

Similar to the process at the federal level, the Michigan House of Representatives is granted the sole power of impeachment of civil officers, and the Senate then tries the impeachment.

In 2010, voters approved the so-called "Kwame Amendment", named for former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit. It provides that a person is not eligible for election or appointment to any state or local office if they have been convicted of a felony involving "dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or a breach of the public trust" related to their duties in an elected position or in public employment.[19]

Article XII: Amendment and Revision[edit]

Article XII establishes the rules by which the constitution can be amended. Several methods can be employed to propose and ratify amendments. Section 1 allows amendment by proposal of the legislature, and ratification by popular vote.[20] Section 2, however, allows the electorate to propose amendments by petition, and ratification by popular vote.[21]

Section 3 establishes the precedent that, starting with 1978 and every 16th year thereafter, the electors of the state will be asked whether the constitution shall be revised. If a majority of the popular vote finds this to be the case, there will be a constitutional convention.[22]

List of Delegates to the 1961–1962 Constitutional Convention
Name Party Post Office District Officer
Glenn S. Allen Jr. Republican Kalamazoo Kalamazoo County 1st District
Vera Andrus Republican Port Huron St. Clair County District
Charles L. Anspach Republican Mt. Pleasant Isabella County District
Richard H. Austin Democratic Detroit Wayne County 6th District
Martin W. Baginski Democratic Detroit Wayne County 5th District
Frank A. Balcer Jr. Democratic Detroit Wayne County 8th District
Sidney Barthwell Democratic Detroit Wayne County 2nd District
Don G. Batchelor Republican Grand Blanc Genesee County 2nd District
Berry N. Beaman Republican Parma 10th Senatorial District
Alvin M. Bentley Republican Owosso 15th Senatorial District
Don Binkowski Democratic Detroit 2nd Senatorial District
Robert H. Blandford Republican Grand Rapids Kent County 1st District
Harold E. Bledsoe Democratic Detroit Wayne County 11th District
Roscoe O. Bonisteel Republican Ann Arbor 33rd Senatorial District
Lee Boothby Republican Niles 7th Senatorial District
Robert Bowens Democratic Pontiac Oakland County 2nd District
Russell W. Bradley Democratic Menominee 30th Senatorial District
D. Hale Brake Republican Stanton 25th Senatorial District
Garry E. Brown Republican Schoolcraft 6th Senatorial District
Theodore S. Brown Democratic Garden City Wayne County 20th District
Peter L. Buback Democratic Detroit Wayne County 3rd District
Ruth G. Butler Republican Houghton Houghton County District
Anna M. Conklin Republican Livonia Wayne County 21st District
William B. Cudlip Republican Grosse Pointe Shores Wayne County 13th District
Katherine Moore Cushman Democratic Dearborn Wayne County 16th District
Malcolm Gray Dade Democratic Detroit Wayne County 4th District
Robert J. Danhof Republican Muskegon 23rd Senatorial District
Charles J. Davis Republican Onondaga Ingham County 2nd District
Herman Dehnke Republican Harrisville Alpena County District
Clarence B. Dell Republican St. Ignace Chippewa County District
Walter D. DeVries Republican Grand Rapids Kent County 1st District
Ann E. Donnelly Republican Highland Park Wayne County 15th District
Dean Doty Republican Grand Ledge Eaton County District
Donald D. Doty Republican Monroe Monroe County District
Edward L. Douglas Democratic Detroit Wayne County 8th District
Tom Downs Democratic Detroit Wayne County 4th District Vice President
Clyne W. Durst Jr. Republican Adrian Lenawee County District
Arthur G. Elliott Jr. Republican Pleasant Ridge Oakland County 5th District
Daisy L. Elliott Democratic Detroit Wayne County 4th District
Claud R. Erickson Republican Lansing Ingham County 1st District
Stanley Everett Republican Battle Creek Calhoun County 2nd District
James S. Farnsworth Republican Allegan Allegan County District
Jack Faxon Democratic Detroit 5th Senatorial District
Charles Figy Republican Morenci 19th Senatorial District
Francis Finch Republican Mattawan Van Buren County District
Charles L. Follo Democratic Escanaba Delta County District
William D. Ford Democratic Taylor Wayne County 13th District
Paul V. Gadola Sr. Republican Flint 13th Senatorial District
Wynne C. Garvin Democratic Detroit Wayne County 3rd District
Paul G. Goebel Republican Grand Rapids 16th Senatorial District
William G. Gover Republican Sheridan Montcalm County District
William O. Greene Democratic Detroit 3rd Senatorial District
Rockwell T. Gust Jr. Republican Grosse Pointe Farms 1st Senatorial District
Donald M. Habermehl Republican Alpena 29th Senatorial District
William F. Hanna Republican Muskegon Muskegon County 2nd District
John A. Hannah Republican East Lansing 14th Senatorial District
Adelaide J. Hart Democratic Detroit Wayne County 10th District
Ervin J. Haskill Republican Lapeer Lapeer County District
H. V. Hatch Republican Marshall Calhoun County 1st District
Lillian Hatcher Democratic Detroit 4th Senatorial District
Bert M. Heideman Republican Hancock 32nd Senatorial District
Milton E. Higgs Republican Bay City Bay County District
Robert G. Hodges Democratic Detroit Wayne County 1st District
Morris W. Hood Sr. Democratic Detroit Wayne County 2nd District
Roy Howes Republican Copemish Wexford County District
T. Jefferson Hoxie Republican St. Louis Gratiot County District
Lewis T. Hubbs Republican Gladwin 28th Senatorial District
J. Edward Hutchinson Republican Fennville 8th Senatorial District Vice President
Arthur T. Iverson Republican Detroit Wayne County 10th District
Howard L. Jones Democratic Webberville Ingham County 2nd District
Dorothy Leonard Judd Republican Grand Rapids Kent County 3rd District
Dan E. Karn Republican Jackson Jackson County 1st District
John T. Kelsey Democratic Warren Macomb County 1st District
Raymond L. King Republican Pontiac Oakland County 2nd District
Shuford Kirk Republican Caro Tuscola County District
Blaque Knirk Republican Quincy 9th Senatorial District
Ella D. Koeze Republican Grand Rapids Kent County 2nd District
Ray Krolikowski Democratic Hamtramck Wayne County 14th District
Richard D. Kuhn Republican Pontiac Oakland County 1st District
J. Don Lawrence Republican Ypsilanti Washtenaw County District
Karl K. Leibrand Republican Bay City 24th Senatorial District
William J. Leppien Republican Saginaw 22nd Senatorial District
Edmond Lesinski Democratic Detroit Wayne County 5th District
Ralph A. Liberato Democratic Warren 11th Senatorial District
Kent T. Lundgren Republican Menominee 30th Senatorial District
Arthur J. Madar Democratic Detroit Wayne County 1st District
Paul R. Mahinske Democratic Detroit Wayne County 7th District
William C. Marshall Democratic Taylor 21st Senatorial District
John B. Martin Jr. Republican Grand Rapids 17th Senatorial District
Thomas R. McAllister Republican Bad Axe Huron County District
John E. McCauley Democratic Wyandotte Wayne County 18th District
Marjorie McGowan Democratic Detroit Wayne County 5th District
Edward A. McLogan Republican Flint Genesee County 1st District
Frank G. Millard Republican Flint Genesee County 1st District
Carl D. Mosier Republican Dowagiac St. Joseph County District
Raymond M. Murphy Democratic Detroit Wayne County 11th District
Stephen S. Nisbet Republican Fremont 26th Senatorial District President
Melvin Nord Democratic Detroit Wayne County 6th District
Harold Norris Democratic Detroit Wayne County 6th District
Samuel B. Ostrow Democratic Detroit Wayne County 2nd District
G. Keyes Page Republican Flint Genesee County 1st District
William P. Pellow Democratic Bessemer 31st Senatorial District
Frank T. Perlich Democratic Bessemer Gogebic County District
Clifford E. Perras Sr. Republican Nadeau Menominee County District
Raymond A. Plank Republican Ludington Mason County District
James K. Pollock Republican Ann Arbor Washtenaw County 1st District
Stanley M. Powell Republican Ionia Ionia County District
Kenneth G. Prettie Republican Hillsdale Hillsdale County District
Earl C. Pugsley Republican Hart Newaygo County District
Elmer L. Radka Republican Rogers City Presque Isle County District
Nick J. Rajkovich Republican Traverse City Grand Traverse County District
J. Burton Richards Republican Eau Claire Berrien County 2nd District
Leslie W. Richards Republican Negaunee Marquette County District
George Romney Republican Bloomfield Hills 12th Senatorial District Vice President
James R. Rood Republican Midland Midland County District
Allen F. Rush Republican Lake Orion Macomb County 3rd District
Joseph F. Sablich Democratic Caspian Iron County District
Don F. Seyferth Republican Muskegon Muskegon County 1st District
James M. Shackleton Republican Saginaw Saginaw County 1st District
John C. Shaffer Republican Gladwin Arenac County District
Edward K. Shanahan Republican Charlevoix Charlevoix County District
Thomas G. Sharpe Republican Howell Shiawassee County District
Julius C. Sleder Republican Traverse City 27th Senatorial District
Joseph M. Snyder Democratic St. Clair Shores Macomb County 2nd District
H. Carl Spitler Republican Petoskey Emmet County District
Henrik E. Stafseth Republican Grand Haven Ottawa County District
Frank O. Staiger Jr. Republican Port Huron 34th Senatorial District
Anthony Stamm Republican Kalamazoo Kalamazoo County 2nd District
James H. Sterrett Republican Detroit Wayne County 12th District
J. Harold Stevens Republican Detroit Wayne County 12th District
Stephen Stopczynski Democratic Detroit Wayne County 7th District
William G. Suzore Democratic Lincoln Park Wayne County 17th District
James F. Thomson Republican Jackson Jackson County 2nd District
Robert S. Tubbs Republican Grand Rapids Kent County 1st District
Herbert M. Turner Republican Saginaw Saginaw County 2nd District
S. Martin Tweedie III Republican Port Huron St. Clair County District
David F. Upton Republican St. Joseph Berrien County 1st District
Richard C. Van Dusen Republican Birmingham Oakland County 4th District
Lee Walker Democratic Madison Heights Oakland County 6th District
Eugene G. Wanger Republican Lansing Ingham County 1st District
Ink White Republican St. Johns Eaton County District
Anthony J. Wilkowski Democratic Detroit Wayne County 9th District
Claude L. Wood Republican Brown City 20th Senatorial District
Henry L. Woolfenden Republican Bloomfield Hills Oakland County 3rd District
Weldon O. Yeager Republican Detroit 18th Senatorial District
Coleman A. Young Democratic Detroit Wayne County 9th District
Charles N. Youngblood Jr. Democratic Detroit Wayne County 3rd District



The Michigan Constitution has been amended several times since its creation.[23]

Subject of Amendment Article/section Method Year Action Vote in favor Vote opposed
Establish Judicial Tenure Commission Art. VI, sec. 30[24] HJR PP of 1968 Aug. 1968 Approved 553,182 228,738
Require legislature to create state officers compensation commission Art. IV, sec. 12[25] HJR AAA of 1968 Aug. 1968 Approved 417,393 346,839
Define manner of filling judicial vacancies Art. VI, secs. 20,[26] 22,[27] 23,[28] 24[29] HJR F of 1968 Aug. 1968 Approved 494,512 266,561
Prohibit public aid to nonpublic schools and students Art. VIII, sec. 2[30] Initiatory Petition of 1970 Nov. 1970 Approved 1,416,838 1,078,740
Allow legislature to authorize lotteries and the sale of lottery tickets Art. IV, sec. 41[31] HJR V of 1972 May 1972 Approved 1,352,768 506,778
Allow trial by jury of less than 12 jurors in all prosecutions for misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year Art. I, sec. 20[32] HJR M of 1972 Aug. 1972 Approved 696,570 357,186
Prohibit legislators' pay increases for lawmakers unless approved by a 2/3 vote of each house of the legislature Art. IV, sec. 12[33] HJR of 2002 Aug. 2002 Approved 1,057,503 404,682
Limits eminent domain powers of local communities Art. IV, sec. 12[34] SJR E of 1972 Nov. 2006 Approved 2,914,214 724,573
Establish an independent redistricting commission Art. IV, sec. 6[35] Initiative Petition of 2017 Nov. 2018 Approved 2,507,294 1,586,831

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "CONSTITUTION OF MICHIGAN". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  2. ^ 19th century Michigan History
  3. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Michigan Manual 2011-2012: Constitutions
  5. ^ Journal of the Senate of the State of Michigan (1835–1836 ed.), Detroit: John S. Bagg, 1836, p. iii, retrieved November 5, 2018 – via HathiTrust
  6. ^ a b c d Michigan Manual 1999-2000: Michigan's Constitutions - Constitutional Conventions - List of Attendees
  7. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF MICHIGAN". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  8. ^ Berenson, Barbara F. (April 9, 2018). Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers. History Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-4671-1862-0. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  9. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN OF 1908". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  10. ^ Fairle, John A. (1908). "The Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1907–1908". American Political Science Review. 2 (3): 443–447. doi:10.2307/1944826. ISSN 1537-5943.
  11. ^ "The Right to Vote".
  12. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  13. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  14. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  16. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  17. ^ "State Court Administrative Office". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  18. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  19. ^ Oosting, Jonathan (June 11, 2010). "'Kwame Amendment' to Michigan Constitution would ban felon politicians for 20 years". MLive.
  20. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  21. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  22. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  23. ^ 2011-2012 Michigan Manual: Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of 1963—Summary of Adoption or Rejection
  24. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  25. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  26. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  27. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  28. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  29. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  30. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  31. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  32. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  33. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  34. ^ "Michigan Legislature". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  35. ^ Jackson, Stephen. "Proposal 18-2" (PDF). Senate Fiscal Agency.

External links[edit]