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Glad I'm not in Michigan

April 8, 2012 - John Stack
The current state of affairs in Michigan politics is such a travesty of democracy, I challenge anyone to come up with an acceptable reason for their actions. Back in 1960, Mitt Romney’s dad was the head of the Michigan GOP (just prior to hiom becoming governor). Michigan held a Constitutional Convention which the elder Romney presided over. One item was about when laws took effect. This committee decided, and it was put into the Michigan constitution , that any bill that passed would have to wait 90 days after the current legislature was out. So, if the legislature was in session until December 1st, the bill would become law on Mar 1. But, there was an exclusion to that. If 2/3 of the legislature voted for the bill, and asked for ‘immediate effect’ the law would take effect immediately after the governor signed the bill. This waiting period was set up so that any ramifications of the law, such as how to implement it, could be dissected for a good period of time to make sure all Ts were crossed and Is were dotted. As well as to give opponents of the law time to mount a possible repeal or correction to the law. The ‘immediate effect’ rule was put in for time sof emergency, where waiting possibly more than a year would cause undue hardship – such as appropriating emergency monies for a natural disaster.

The US Senate has similar rules, such as needing 60 percent of the Senate to vote to end a filibuster. Getting a constitutional amendment passed includes a number of super majorities to pass. These were set up so that a simple majority at any one time wasn’t able to make sweeping changes that only fit the current political climate. The filibuster rule was set up to also be used only in emergencies but is routinely employed by senators. Its legal, but not truly ethical.

Michigan statehouse was overtaken by the GOP in 2010 Since January 2011, 566 bills have been signed into law. Of those, 546 of them, 96.5% were passed under “immediate effect”. Again, although the law was set up for emergencies, the GOP has been basically passing nearly all laws under the ‘immediate effect’ rule. This does seem like ramming through laws that benefit the majority party to the detriment of anyone standing in their way. This ‘immediate effect’ rule has been used to cut immediately into union actions, democratically elected school boards, city, county and town officials, among a slew of other GOP desires. But, if it passes the 2/3 rule, it would be legal, right. Except for the a silly thing called math. Lets see. There are 109 state legislators in Michigan. There are 62 Republicans and 47 Democrats. So, to reach the 2/3 threshold, the GOP would need 73 votes (2/3 of 109) or, in other words, would need a minimum of all Republicans and 16 Democrats to vote with them. Guess what? Rarely do ANY Democrats vote with the Republicans. So how do they get 2/3 of the votes? Well…..They don’t.

They cheat. They ignore the Constitution of Michigan. They don’t believe it applies to them. What they do is this - They call for ‘immediate effect’. The Speaker asks for a voice vote and magically claims there were at least 73 ‘yea’ votes and claims it passed with 2/3 majority. Other times, they will ask legislators voting yes to stand. In a video, it shows the speaker asking them to stand for yes. 3 seconds later, he claims there is a 2/3 majority – although it is apparent to everyone that he neither could have counted that quickly, and that there are NOT 73 yes votes! Finally, after trying to bargain with the GOP, the Democrats got a restraining order to force the GOP to follow the Michigan Constitution. The Republicans of course appealed the ruling. They claimed that the judicial branch should have absolutely no say over how the legislative branch sets their rules. Amazing. The GOP wants to claim that there is some other interpretation of 2/3. Or that thelegislature does not have to follow the Michigan Constitution.

The GOP loves to peacock around about how the Constitution is a sacred document (although this is the state constitution and not the Federal) yet choose to completely ignore the Constitution when they feel they can get away with it.

Again, I challenge anyone to come up with a valid argument to back up the GOP’s action. And any ridiculous ‘The Democrats did it too’ is not a valid argument, even if true. Its wrong, wrong wrong and I cannot believe the state of Michigan GOP has turned the Wolverine state into basically a mid-western communist regime.

 
 

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