Friday, December 03, 2010

The Late Late Show

It just wouldn't be the Michigan Legislature if they weren't rushing bills through in the middle of the night so they can take the rest of the week, month, year, whatever, off. Did anyone ever check and make sure that they aren't all vampires? Ahh well, doesn't matter now - it looks like they have wrapped up business, and are busy packing their coffins up to move on to their next place of employment and/or retirement.

MIRS just published at 5 am, and as I type this, Gongwer still isn't up yet. The MSM has a few details on what was or wasn't done while you were sleeping - here are the highlights:

  • As reported below, Pure Michigan received $10 million from the 21st Century Jobs Fund. This brings funding for the campaign to $15 million for next year - half of what is needed, but at least this gets us a regional winter/spring effort and on the national airwaves for next summer. Good deal.

  • Also reported below (note: at BFM), Mike Bishop and the Senate Republicans killed 10,000 construction jobs and probably created an international incident when they obstructed the DRIC for this session. Special interest money paid to the Republicans to protect Matty Moroun's monopoly on the international crossing screams corruption of the highest order, and let all their records reflect how they denied our state investment and jobs at a time when we needed it most. Governor Granholm summed it up best:

    "They are irresponsible, discarding 10,000 jobs for Michigan workers and ignoring the needs of job providers," she said. "It's simply incredible that they turned down a no-risk project."

    Actually, if the Michigan Senate had put our state and workers before their own selfish agenda, THAT would have been incredible. As it stands, this was par for the course. Hopes are that the next legislature will have more sense and work fast to get this approved. The Canadians are already building their side of the project, and will turn their attention to lobbying Washington next.

  • Autism insurance coverage died in the Michigan Senate as well. LG-elect Cally said that members were "unwilling to deal with the controversial issue" at the end of session. No mention was made that they had all year to do this, but the legislature only was in session for 96 days this year - less than "part time", so cut them some slack, OK?

  • Changes to teacher tenure did not pass, as far as I can tell. The legislation would have made it easier to dismiss teachers based on evaluations that are tied to pupil performance. Look for this one (and more) to pass when the Republicans take over next year and come after the teachers. Good luck everyone.

  • New restrictions for young drivers were passed by both chambers. Drivers under 21 in their first year of driving will not be allowed to carry more than one non-relative passenger unless they are going to school or work, and there are hours of the day mandated that they are not allowed to drive. Read Luke for the details, sounds confusing and unenforceable and something that I know I would have ignored back when I was a young driver. Have fun with that one, officers. Also, they voted to suspend the drivers licenses of people who had been found guilty of furnishing alcohol to minors multiple times. Suspending a license for a non-driving offense? Does that sound questionable to you? Does to me. Guess we will find out in court.

  • Fireworks legislation didn't make it through the Senate.

  • Greater transparency on film credits passed. No problem with that. Frame it up for Nancy and send her on her way.

  • Senate Republicans declined to pass a resolution urging Congress to extend unemployment benefits. That shouldn't surprise anyone at all.

  • $383.6 million in Capital Outlay projects passed both chambers, including "$15 million for a new Michigan State Police crime lab in Detroit, and individual projects for 11 universities and 10 community colleges". That comes from a headline at MIRS.

    That's it for now, there may be more when the dust settles and the reporters have had a few hours sleep and some coffee. Thanks for staying awake guys, you've been real troopers through all of this, and this reading public is greatly appreciative of your work.