State Constitutions: Referendum Row

Michigan modernized its constitution four years ago, but the proud old traditions of initiative and referendum survived the streamlining. Dating from the turn of the century and designed to prevent high-handed legislatures from disregarding the will of the people, initiative-referendum provisions exist in nearly half the states. Such clauses can occasionally produce some unintended results, as Michigan has discovered in a case that recently came—quite literally—to light.

Michigan's problem arose after the U.S. Congress approved Daylight Saving Time for all states except those that specifically asked to be exempted. Michigan's legislature duly voted for exemption, largely because the state lies...

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