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The Latest: Ex-Snyder aide urges veto of ballot drive bill

December 18, 2018

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on developments during the Michigan Legislature’s lame-duck session (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

A former aide to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is urging him to veto legislation that would make it harder to initiate Michigan ballot measures, should it reach his desk.

Bill Rustem, Snyder’s ex-strategy director, issued an open letter to Snyder Tuesday. It was also signed by Doug Ross, a former gubernatorial candidate who worked in Democratic Gov. Jim Blanchard’s administration.

Rustem led the 1976 ballot drive for Michigan’s 10-cent bottle deposit law. Ross led a 1974 ballot initiative to repeal a sales tax on food and medicine.

The House-passed bill, pending in the Senate, would allow no more than 15 percent of initiative signatures to come from a congressional district.

Rustem and Ross say the limit would “move the right to petition the government beyond the practical reach of its citizens.”

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12:25 a.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is the wild card in Republican lawmakers’ attempt to dilute the authority of newly elected Democrats.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation aimed at taking power from his Democratic successor. But Snyder is not certain to go along with bills that would strip power from the incoming Democratic secretary of state and let GOP lawmakers intervene in lawsuits at a time when a Democrat will lead the attorney general’s office.

Snyder is more pragmatic and has not always gotten behind GOP lawmakers’ agenda in his eight-year tenure.

Democrats in Michigan are warning Snyder that signing the bills could tar his legacy but he says he does not think about that.

He says he signs legislation if “it’s the best public policy interest of our state.”

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