Earlier this year, the state House and Senate passed identical bills that would add catalytic converters to the statute that makes it a five-year felony to steal stuff off an automobile.
Police want the law passed. So do prosecutors, who hope that making this crime a felony will discourage it and give them leverage to pressure thieves into ratting out the rogue dealers who buy the stolen converters.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm has pen poised to sign either bill into law -- again, there's no difference between them -- if one chamber would just take up the other's effort.
Hmmmm. Wonder which chamber is stopping progress. There must be a good reason why they won't allow this simple measure to pass. Oh yeah. It's an election year. Can't have anything "good" happen for the people of Michigan. How on earth can Republicans blame the Democrats for all our problems if they actually start trying to fix those problems? You can't claim government is broken if it works! Especially if it comes from a seat they covet...
The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Mary Valentine, a Democrat from Muskegon who faces a tough re-election bid this fall. Republicans, who control the Senate, are loathe to pass a bill that would make her look good and maybe spoil GOP chances to take her seat.
... so, with that in mind, the same folks that tried to tie abortion to the MBT surcharge and the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association bills, decided that this time, they needed to play politics with your car.
Republicans in the House layered the politics even thicker when the bill was being debated there. They tried to tie-bar it to three anti-abortion bills. One established sentencing guidelines for doctors who perform late-term abortions. One prevented teens seeking a waiver from parental consent laws from judge shopping. And a third would protect doctors who object to performing abortions from retaliation by their employers.
Emphasis on "tried", must be the Democrats found a way to stop this nonsense yet again, but Tobocman's next statement needs to be parsed a bit closer. Exactly which issue is he talking about when he says "compromise"?
"We haven't really gotten into it yet, in terms of trying to move those other issues aside," said Rep. Steve Tobocman, a Detroit Democrat who serves as majority floor leader in the House. One of the good guys in Lansing, Tobocman acknowledges how silly this looks.
"Hopefully we'll get it done before the election," he said. "We need some compromise on the issue."
Car criminals engaging in the hottest thing going must be smiling today. They cab count on this purposeful dysfunction to help them out; after all, with this action, House Republicans are proving that politics are more important to them than serving Michigan's citizens.
But you knew that already, didn't you.