Friday, April 06, 2012

Michigan Republicans break law to pass laws

I didn't think much about this story when it first broke at Detroit News. When I saw the suit was about roll call votes, figured it was just local bickering over process. It's not like I haven't witnessed the same thing on CSPAN in the big House on the Hill a million times. And there were previous skirmishes over open meeting laws that didn't do much but delay implementation of GOP passed laws, so I didn't investigate because my beat at that blog is national politics.

Of course, Detroit News coverage didn't mention the immediate effect clause. When Rachel Maddow discovered the GOP was violating the Michigan state constitution, it got much more interesting. It seems the GOP majority in the MI House passed 546 bills, which they put into immediate effect under a provision that requires a 2/3 majority. They don't have a 2/3 majority. Many contentious bills were passed on party lines and then deemed thus authorized without the benefit of a roll call vote. Which is also required under the state constitution, upon request.

Seems like the GOPers should be impeached, but instead the state AG is defending them against the Dems current lawsuit. As I said in my post I'm wondering how this is legal. I've been told on twitter it's the AG's function to defend duly passed laws. I don't disagree with that. Makes total sense if an outside group is challenging a particular, duly passed law. But I don't think that's exactly what happening here.

I haven't seen the pleadings but from the coverage I've now read, the Dems are challenging the process under which the laws were passed in addition to naming three laws in the suit. It's a internal suit between two opposing political parties that alleges illegal activity by one of the parties. Just can't see how it's proper for an AG to defend one party over the other. Hoping someone with more time and resources checks into that.

In any event, Rachel is right. Wisconsin gets all the press, but the subversion of democracy in Michigan is far more radical. At the least, this should motivate everyone to make sure as many Republicans as possible get kicked out of state governments in November.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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