They came in the night


Lawmakers worked well into Friday morning passing a ton of bills. Normally, I would find this unprecedented legislative productivity refreshing. A lot of stuff got done. Much of it was pretty standard; the kind of things no one really pays attention to. However, there were some very interesting bills no one got the chance to pay attention to before they were enrolled.

In those early hours, Lansing was like an electronics store during the L.A. riots. Taking full advantage of the “lame duck” session, republicans approved all kinds of legislation; much of which nobody but them had ever seen, or heard about. There were more last second substitutions then an episode of Naruto. When the doors finally closed on the capital building, Christmas had come early for the GOP, and a fat stack of party legislation sent the the governor’s desk.

For a list of all the recent bills,  see here.

Guns. Check. Abortion restrictions. Check. New Emergency Manager Law. Check. “Right to Work”. Check.

My problem with a lot of things that will now be law, is that they came so suddenly, where there could be no opposition. I almost feel as if the whole “right to work” thing served as a distraction, as well as a goal. I think it worked. I got about 50 press releases a day about this. I got nothing on any of the other bills that passed.  This sort of things is okay if you are playing League of Legends. This is okay if you are fighting a war. It is not okay when you are a lawmaker.

I know a lot of you out there think you are in a war with “the other guys”.  This is the problem.

There are plenty of articles on what all the bills were.  I’m only going to cover a few that I found to be a bit suspect. Mind you, I’m not saying they are bad, but they are things people probably should have had a bit of warning about, and a chance to oppose.

These two are the worst offenders that everybody should be worried about.

The Local Financial Stability and Choice Act (Senate Bill 0865)

Otherwise known as Emergency Manager Law (Public Act 4), Part II. Like a bad horror movie, Public Act 4 was killed by voters in November, only to be resurrected. There have been some changes, mostly on who pays for things. The idea remains the same; the state can take over a city, and its institutions, install a manager, and do whatever it wants. It can void contracts, disband any local government, sell your shit; all without having to answer to anybody.

No means no.

House Bill 6060

How do you know the people passing all this fly-by-night stuff are afraid people might get mad about it? When they pass a bill to cover their asses. The big one here is that the reasons for a recall no longer have to be “clear”, they have to be “clear and factual”. I think we all know fact can infinitely be debated when it comes to politics. Only one recall attempt can be made, and there is a lot of new ways it can be “invalidated” mid-attempt. There are also limits as to when you can make a recall; only the second and third years of a 4 year term official, and not the first or last 6 months of a 2 year term official’s term.

Of course, if you get through this process, the recall is no longer a stay or GTFO thing. They get to campaign against an opponent.

House Bill 5711

Speaking of no means no, here are some changes as to how abortion is handled, and how institutions offering them operate when dealing with “the individual” (oddly changed from woman) getting the abortion.

Nothing too scary here, but some of it is intended to be a stop- gap before they moved on to ban abortion later (they said it, not me). I think it was kind of funny democrats tried to add amendments that would mirror some of the requirements women have to face when getting an abortion when men get vasectomy or are prescribed Viagra.

Senate Bill 0059

Guns. Guns everywhere. Not so sure it is a great idea to allow guns in bars. Starting to think it would have been great if a few of the faculty at Sandy Hook was packing heat. Yes, sometimes violence is the way to end violence. On the other hand, an armed society isn’t always a polite one; just ask people who lived in the “Wild West”.

Senate Bill 0116

This is the one erroneously called the “Right to Work” law. Look it up, if you don’t know what it is. At face value, it seems like a good idea. However, with the way things were before, it was hard to say who was the parasite, and who was the host.

It is the methods for enacting this law that bother me the most. Governor Snyder said he wasn’t interested in anything like this; until about two weeks ago. What caused this “change” of heart? It was also introduced, and passed, where there was no chance for any opposition.

Everybody knows there are ulterior motives for passing this bill. Everybody also knows there are ulterior motives for not wanting it passed, too. Sadly, it probably had very little to do with helping out the working man, no matter what side you were on, unless you are actually a union worker. I suppose the easy way to fix this is for everybody who might be worried that this will lead to less bargaining power to join the gosh-darn union, if they can.

As for the people who are going to be getting “free services” now, do not complain if your work environment and compensation are not what you would like it to be in the coming years.

A few other things bills include.

• A phased-out elimination of the personal property tax

• Bills needed to create a Regional Transportation Authority for southeast Michigan.

• A requirement — already vetoed once by Snyder — that voters declare in writing they are U.S. citizens.

• Changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws.


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