Proposal 2 Opponents Tour Michigan, Urge No Vote on 2

New report shows major impacts on state adoption, lending and public school

gender equity efforts

Nov 06, 2006, 00:00 ET from One United Michigan

    LANSING, Mich., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- One United Michigan opponents
 visited Lansing, Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City and Detroit today,
 rallying their supporters to vote No on Proposal 2.
     The officials, including U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz,
 One United Michigan co-chairs Debbie Dingell and Heaster Wheeler, Michigan
 AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney, Judith A. Latcha, president of the National
 Association of Women Business Owners, Sister Monica Kostielney, president
 and CEO of the Michigan Catholic Conference and Fred Feliciano, president
 of the Hispanic Business Alliance, focused on a report released last week
 that shows nearly 50 state programs could be affected by Proposal 2.
     That report, prepared for the Michigan Law Revision Commission, says
 Proposal 2 would end programs aimed at encouraging adoption of Latino and
 African American children, state requirements that lenders ensure equal
 opportunity for women in state home lending and gender equity in local
 school districts.
     The commission's report provides a list of 49 state programs at risk or
 banned if Proposal 2 passes in November. In addition, numerous university
 and local government programs are also banned or endangered by the
 proposal, including those aimed at encouraging women to enter math and
 science professions, scholarships aimed at women or people of color, and
 outreach efforts to ensure qualified women and people of color are
 represented in state and local government.
     "For too long Californian Ward Connerly has hidden the true impact of
 his proposal. Now we learn that it would even hurt orphaned African
 American, Arab, Native American and Latino children, restricting programs
 aimed at encouraging their adoption. His proposal just goes too far. It
 must be defeated," said Heaster Wheeler, a steering committee co-chair of
 One United Michigan, the coalition of more than 200 organizations opposing
 Proposal 2.
     Sen. Carl Levin noted that the report suggests that passage of Proposal
 2 will deluge Michigan in lawsuits. "This will be a colossal waste of money
 and time at a period in our state when resources are very tight. We can't
 afford to roll back progress in Michigan."
     "The concerns raised by this report are frightening, and show One
 United Michigan is absolutely right in raising concerns that a literal
 interpretation of the very broad language of this proposed constitutional
 amendment absolutely puts at risk programs that help women, including
 health care programs, regardless of their current status in California,"
 said Debbie Dingell, another steering committee co-chair.
     Just a few of the programs that the report examined:
     * Adoption of minority children: State agencies will be prevented from
 providing special incentives to facilitate adoption of children whose
 ethnic or racial background might make their acceptance difficult. The
 report says these subsidies will likely be unconstitutional, meaning more
 children may miss out on adoption into permanent families.
     * Reporting and addressing gender-equity issues in education: The
 report says this provision of state law "requires local school districts to
 identify areas in which gender equity is lacking ... and to address
 remediation in school improvement plans." Steps to address these inequities
 -- whether they hurt boys or girls -- would be unconstitutional, the report
     * Michigan State Housing Development Authority lending programs: Law
 structuring this important agency requires that institutions "take
 affirmative action to assure an equal opportunity for employment and
 borrowing." That would be banned under the proposal.
     * Public health programs aimed at ensuring equal opportunity within the
 departments and promote equal access to government financed health
 services. The report says state efforts to reach out specifically to
 certain ethnic groups, or to women, would be deemed unconstitutional.
     * Contracting outreach aimed at ensuring equal opportunity for minority
 and women contractors. Any such plans would violate Proposal 2, the report
     "Proposal 2 would hurt women business owners, people of color, and
 Michigan as a whole by ending programs that ensure equal opportunity for
 important and growing segments of our population," said Judy Latcha of the
 National Association of Women Business Owners. "Proposal 2 is bad for
     Mark Gaffney of the Michigan AFL-CIO said union members know equal
 opportunity programs help everyone. "Thanks to affirmative action, today's
 girls have many opportunities that were denied to their mothers and
 certainly their grandmothers. But we still have a long way to go. In
 Michigan women earn 67 cents on the dollar, making us the second to the
 last state out of 50 in pay equity between women and men."
     "Michigan's growing Latino population is in danger of being left behind
 unless we have basic outreach programs for contracting and employment,"
 said Fred Feliciano, president of the Hispanic Business Alliance. "Without
 that competition, taxpayers will overpay for services."
     One United Michigan is a coalition of more than 200 organizations,
 including the League of Women Voters, AARP, religious leaders from the
 Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Jewish, Muslim and
 other faiths, business groups including chambers of commerce from Detroit,
 Flint, Lansing, Holland, Muskegon, Grand Rapids and other cities, and labor
 organizations including the AFL-CIO, UAW, Teamsters and others. For more
 information, visit .
     Paid for with regulated funds by One United Michigan, P. O. Box 81156,
 Lansing, MI 48908.

SOURCE One United Michigan