Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Michigan Republican Power Grab Continues

Not one, not two, but three stories this morning on last minute legislation that will continue to consolidate power for the Republicans.

First off, they want to make it harder to register to vote...

Sponsoring voter registration drives in Michigan would become more difficult under a proposed change in state law.

How difficult is a matter of debate.

A spokesman from the Fair Election Legal Network, a Washington D.C.-based organization, calls the proposed law “onerous,” and the League of Women Voters of Michigan also has declared its opposition.

The two groups are among those also opposed to a second bill that would require photo identification for in-person registration and absentee voting.

The Senate is expected to vote on Senate Bills 751 and 754 this week.

The proposed changes “create unnecessary barriers to voting while doing little to improve Michigan’s election system,” said a mass email sent Monday by the League of Women Voters, in which they urged people to contact their legislators to oppose Senate bills 751 and 754. “The bills create unnecessary barriers for people who want to vote and make voting requirements more confusing.”

Follow the link for details on the bills. At first glance, yes, they are raising more barriers to registration, especially for those hard-to-reach (read: poor, elderly, minority) individuals that voter drives tend to target. GOP-led voter suppression is happening all across the country, surprised it took our legislators this long to act.

Next up, back to the favorite flavor of the year, more punishment for the unions! You didn't think they were done, did you?

Public employers would no longer be allowed to use payroll deduction to collect contributions to political action committees, a move backers say separates government operations from politics but opponents say is aimed at keeping unions from helping Democrats.

The state House Redistricting and Elections Committee this morning voted 6-2 along party lines to approve a pair of bills preventing public bodies such as state agencies and municipalities from working with political action committees to collect political contributions.

Knew that was coming. Another swipe at the MEA.

And last but certainly not least, more bureaucracy and government oversight for any city or school district under the emergency manager provision. How much will we have to pay a "transition team" anyway? And how long would they stay in "transition"? Until the unions are totally gone?

Treasurer Andy Dillon was on WJR-AM on Tuesday talking about the state's preliminary financial review of Detroit. He said that the administration wants legislation aimed at helping communities coming out of an EM situation transition back.

SB 0865 outlines broad powers for the transition team. The board would have veto power over the municipality or school district's budget and could review monthly cash flow projections and compliance with the debt elimination plan. The board also could require a consensus revenue estimating conference. And the board would have approval over collective bargaining agreements.

Bust 'em up, hold 'em down, and then keep 'em down, eh? Whew. That's a whole lotta government for a party that proclaims we need "less government", don't you think?

The rush is on to throw as much odious legislation at the wall that they possibly can before they take their six weeks off for Xmas break, hopes are that you will forget all about it by the time they come back - and that's usually what happens.

Maybe someone is keeping a list...