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 says. * 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 says. "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 Michigan." 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 http://www.oneunitedmichigan.org . Paid for with regulated funds by One United Michigan, P. O. Box 81156, Lansing, MI 48908.
SOURCE One United Michigan