constitution

Four years ago, Michigan voters were asked if they wanted to summon a convention to write a new state constitution.

We said no, by a two-to-one margin. Nobody collected signatures to put that on the ballot, by the way. Under the current constitution, we’re automatically asked every 16 years if we want a convention to write a new one.

We’ll be asked again in 12 years.

But I now think the voters made a mistake in 2010. We may well need a new constitution, because there’s increasing evidence the old one, written in the early 1960s, no longer works.

Michigan could soon join about 20 states that are formally calling for a national convention to draft a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Michigan itself has a balanced budget requirement, but not so for the federal government.

This idea of a balanced budget amendment has really taken off in the past few years as the nation’s debt has increased.

Charles Ballad is an economist with Michigan State University, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Political scientists generally agree that the United States Constitution is one of the most amazing documents in history.

It was written 225 years ago, to provide a framework for the government of a small, not very wealthy agricultural nation of less than four million people.

Today, it still seems to function brilliantly as the fundamental document of a highly technological empire of more than 300-million people. Why does it still work so well?

A federal judge in Grand Rapids says a Michigan law that bans panhandling in public places "on its face" violates the First Amendment.... and the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

The judge made the ruling Friday in a civil suit by two Grand Rapids men arrested last year for begging.

The men were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

A Grand Rapids City Attorney says her office will analyze the judge's opinion before deciding whether to appeal.

Courtesy photo / facebook.com

Freshman Republican Congressman Justin Amash opposes a bill that would give the federal government the power to detain American citizens indefinitely, if suspected of terrorist activities.

"The federal government could come to someone’s house, pull the person out of the house and the family could ask, 'why are you taking my husband away?' and the federal government can simply say, 'we don’t have to tell you, he’s suspected of terrorism,'" he said in an interview with Michigan Radio's Jennifer White.

Eugene G. Wanger and boxes of documents from the Michigan Constitution
State of Michigan

Eugene G. Wanger was a 28 year-old attorney when he became a delegate for Michigan's Constitutional Convention in 1961. The republican was a strong opponent of the death penalty and authored the section in today's state constitution that bans the practice.