In Michigan
8:48 am
Fri June 18, 2010

Amendment would bar felons from holding office

Lansing, MI – A measure headed for the November ballot would bar former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and other public officials convicted of dishonesty in office from seeking another government job for 20 years.

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Under the proposal, Kilpatrick would be unable to run again for mayor or some other public office or even accept an appointed government job until at least 2028. That will be the 20-year mark since his guilty plea to charges of lying under oath.

The measure easily cleared the House by the super-majority needed to put the question on the ballot. But a handful of lawmakers including Representative Shannelle Jackson say it is punitive and unnecessary.

"We have an astute electorate who can make decisions about who they want serving," Jackson says.

The sanction would be imposed on any state or local official convicted of a felony that involves dishonesty, deceit, or a breach of the public trust. The state cannot make its own rules on who can hold a federal office.

Because the measure would amend the state constitution, it requires voter approval.