Townships throughout Michigan are one step closer to being able to initiate a name change if approved by voters.

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State Representative David Martin from Davison led the Michigan House in approving a bill that would grant townships the same authority that cities and villages in Michigan have.

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Martin, a Republican, said in a press release that townships should have the ability to seek approval from residents in order to modify township charters.

“Simply put, the law is not fair,” Martin said. “If a township wants to change its name, and the majority of the voters in the community approve, there’s absolutely no reason why the state should prevent them from doing so.”

Martin noted that there are many duplicate township names in Michigan. For instance, 'Gaines township' is a name used by townships in both Genesee County and Kent County on Michigan's west side. In fact, 28% of townships in Michigan share a name with another township in the state.

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Martin’s legislation, House Bill 4637, would allow a township to change its name if a township's governing board approves the measure by a two-thirds majority. The resolution would then need to be approved by a majority of township voters during an August or November regular election.

The measure received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and will now advance to the Michigan State Senate for further consideration.

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