Monday, March 15, 2010

More Government From the Less Government Republicans

Alternate titles: "Keeping Up With the Crazy", or, "Why We Need to Keep Electing Democrats". Take your pick. They all fit.

As frustrating as the Democrats can be, at least they (generally) aren't running around demanding that we continue to cut taxes while they are proposing all kinds of new government spending and regulations that cater to the extreme ends of the electorate. The Republicans, on the other hand, tell us they want to cut government spending, turn around and complain about the cuts to government spending, while they propose even more government spending that panders to the whims and wishes of what's left of their "base".

Yesterday, we reported the House Republican proposals to spend taxpayer dollars to wage their "War on the Poor" - pictures on Bridge Cards that will cost the state a fortune, mandates on private businesses to check IDs or face a $50 fine, random drug testing for welfare recipients. You can find the exact wording on all those bills at the Michigan Legislature website, HB 5940-5945.

What you won't find there is a way to pay for all these new government regulations, of course. And, seeing as how the bills are worded in a way that doesn't provide strict definitions as to how these provisions would be implemented, i.e., how many recipients would be randomly tested, how they would pick who is tested, how often this would occur, where this would occur, etc and so on - the whole thing smells of "campaign stunt" anyway. In other words, they are wasting your time, your money, and creating a diversion from their inability to address the real budget problems that face our state. Matter of fact, they are making the problem worse. Par for the course when it comes to the "Less Government" crowd, right?

It gets better. Or not, depending on whether or not you want to laugh or cry. Here are a couple more proposals from the "pander to the crazy base" side of the aisle:

Covenant marriages. Yes, even though only 1%-3% of marriages are deemed "covenant" in the three states where this is offered by law (not a high demand option), the Dept. of Community Health would be required to furnish each county clerk with new marriage license forms with a space for the covenant option, and the state would be required to publish a pamphlet entitled "Michigan's covenant marriage act", with all the rules and regulations spelled out within(HB5949-5951). Description of the main bill provided by MichiganVotes:

House Bill 5951 (Create “covenant marriage” option)

Introduced by Rep. Tom McMillin (R) on March 11, 2010, to authorize “covenant marriages,” in which the parties make more explicit declarations of an intent to stay married until death do them part. Divorce would only be allowed if one spouse had committed adultery, been convicted of a felony, sexually abused the other spouse or a child, is habitually drunk, committed “cruel or barbarous” behavior, or the spouses have lived apart for two years, depending on certain circumstances and proofs.

In case you were wondering, the exact wording on the bill is "1 man and 1 woman". But you knew that already, didn't you.

Not many House Republicans signed up to co-sponsor the covenant marriage idea, but they sure signed up to plant a big smooch on the cheeks of the Right to Lifers with this gruesome bit of legislation:

House Bill 5929 (Establish disposition of fetus regulations )

Introduced by Rep. Joseph Haveman (R) on March 8, 2010, to require a health facility to take into account the expressed wishes of the parents of a dead fetus, or just the mother if she is unmarried, and seek authorization before arranging the final disposition of the fetus. The bill would prohibit the cremation of an aborted fetus with medical waste. In other words, a fetus would have to be cremated separately.

This one is spelled out in precise detail, and includes all beyond eight weeks. Even if this occurs outside a medical facility, if a health professional is aware of the situation, they must inform the parent or parents of this provision under penalty of a $1000 fine, and this also provides for the right to sue for damages, including "emotional distress". Lawsuits are never frivolous where the anti-choice crowd is concerned.

Sign up for Michigan Votes e-mails. Yeah, it's the Mac Center, and they are promoting their new right-wing news site, but just ignore that. Watch the legislation. It's good to keep track of the hypocrisy of the people who are demanding that we "live within our means" as they vote for cuts to education and public safety, and then turn around and propose more government spending to force their extreme social views on others.