December 07, 2020
Contact: Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

MEDIA ADVISORY: December 7, 2020

MEDIA ALERT


December 7, 2020

 

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Campaign Director, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, luanne@letsbanfracking.org, 231-944-8750

 

Media invited to watch Michigan Court of Appeals live-streamed hearing of the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan's lawsuit against the Michigan Board of State Canvassers

 

Who: The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, a ballot question committee

What: The Committee's lawsuit against the Michigan Board of State Canvassers will be heard in oral argument in a live-streamed hearing.

When: Tuesday, December 8, 2020, beginning at 11 am. If previous case call starting at 10 am finishes earlier, might take place earlier than 11. 

How to watch: The court, based in Lansing, Michigan, will hold the hearing virtually and can be watched on the Michigan Court of Appeals' YouTube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/MichiganCourtofAppeals

 

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan's case is #354270. The case is #13 on the docket, and the 11 am case call begins with case #7.

 

What's at stake: The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan's 271,000 petition signatures were turned down at the door by the Michigan Secretary of State in 2018.

Last April after a 17-month long litigation, this same court ruled the State's action was unlawful and that the Committee filed properly in 2018 and in time for the 2020 election. The Court ruled that if the Committee's petitions were not treated as properly filed in 2018, it would "punish petition sponsors and the electorate for unlawful actions by election officials." After that warning, still the State delayed the processing of the Committee's petitions by canvassing other petition groups' and candidates' signatures filed later, ahead of the Committee to Ban Fracking's, and further delayed through the courts, preventing the Committee's proposal from appearing on the November 2020 ballot by running out the clock.

Now the Committee seeks justice for placing the measure on the 2022 ballot. At issue is the constitutionality of the statute limiting signature gathering to 180 days, a law that was amended in 2016 in an attempt to stop the Committee to Ban Fracking. Also at issue is whether the lower court had jurisdiction to hear the case. After the Committee was prevented from seeking a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality in 2016 litigation before filing signatures, the State is now attempting to put ballot committees in a Catch-22 in which under neither circumstance--before filing or after filing signatures--can a committee challenge the 180-day statute (MCL 168.472a).

The case filings:

Visit the Committee's Lawsuit page on the letsbanfracking.org website for all case filings.

To make it easier, below are four items to read that Committee to Ban Fracking filed, and the Michigan Board of State Canvassers' brief filed on Sept. 2.

The Committee's current case began July 6 in the Court of Claims, the very next day after the Supreme Court denied to hear the case there.

 

Read the Committee to Ban Fracking's:

Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Motion and Brief

 

After the Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray ruled on July 20 that that court had no jurisdiction, the Committee filed the current appeal in Michigan Court of Appeals on July 22. 

 

Read the Committee to Ban Fracking's:

Brief of Appellant (Exhibits in Appendix).

After the Committee's motion to expedite the briefing failed, the State was given the standard 35 days to file a response, but the State delayed even further and didn't file a response until after the due date, which deprived the Committee of enough time in court to get on the 2020 ballot. A different panel of this court allowed the State's brief to be filed late.

 

Read the Canvassers':

Brief (and their Appendix with exhibits)

 

Then finally, read the Committee's:

 

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