Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jobs? Not On The Michigan Republican Legislative Agenda

Here's the latest from the Michigan GOP Mean Machine, cranking out legislation designed to appease the extremists that run the party. Just a few tidbits from the past couple of days to show you just what your taxpayer dollars are working on down in Lansing.

  • A report from Gongwer floats the idea that people who use state, local or school district e-mail for "political" purposes need to be thrown in jail. We can certainly afford that, right?

    Bill Banning Union Activities With Public Resources Reported

    Public employees found to have used their work e-mail for a political activity could face a year in jail under legislation reported Tuesday from the House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee.

    Define "political", because this could snare a whole bunch of legislators. That might be fun. Unfortunately, it's probably written to target union members only. More will be revealed if and when it comes to a vote.

  • Moving on, more punishment for the unemployed and hungry. Not content to go after just the college students, we need to take the - federally funded, mind you - food away from others as well. Say you have kids, and you were just laid off from your middle-class job, and found yourself taking home the max on unemployment, roughly $1200 a month if you're lucky. Well, buddy, you better start selling everything you own, or at least move those assets out of the sight of the state...

    Michigan has determined food assistance eligibility based only on income for roughly a decade. A new policy will include a review of certain financial assets starting Oct 1. The requirements will affect new applicants right away and existing recipients when their cases come up for review, which typically happens once every six months.

    Those with assets of more than $5,000 in bank accounts or some types of property would no longer be eligible for food assistance. Other assets that would count against the cap include vehicles with market values of more than $15,000 and second homes, depending on how much is owed on the properties.

    An undetermined number of people will be removed from the program, that way, Republicans can claim that they have reduced food stamp use. See how that works? Reducing use of social programs is easy if you throw everyone out. Other states have abandoned asset tests over the years; this is another example of how our crop of legislators is moving our state backwards from current accepted practices.

  • And finally, as predicted, here comes Ed Rivet and the anti-choice crowd, buying some unneeded and useless legislation to trumpet on the next round of fundraising letters. Partial birth abortion is already banned at the federal level, and as of early 2008, there hadn't been any reported in the state in the past three years. No matter, they have to pass this law against something that really doesn't exist - but don't miss the underlying agenda. It's the start of chip, chip, chipping away at a woman's right to choose.

    State Sens. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, and Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, introduced their bills earlier this year that essentially would outlaw physicians from performing partial-birth abortions in Michigan, except to save the mother's life, and establish sentencing guidelines making it a two-year felony.

    The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to approve both bills. Votes on Senate Bills 160 and 161 are expected Wednesday.


    Hansen said the state law, even with a federal ban already in place, is needed, because it "makes it easier to enforce the ban in Michigan." He said the state law would provide clarification of the ban for the Michigan Attorney General and law enforcement.

    Yeah, that's crap. They aren't happening now. This is totally unnecessary - unless you're trying proclaim victory to fleece the rubes to fund your next campaign as you promise to push for more restrictions later.

    Oh, but they're working on "jobs", honest they are!

    "Jobs is the No. 1 item we're working on, but we can't be paralyzed in other things we're doing," Hansen said. "But, jobs is the focus."

    Sure it is! Can't you tell?