Is Michigan’s GOP-Led Government Misusing The State’s Constitution?

Filed in Gather Politics News Channel by on April 6, 2012 0 Comments

A Michigan circuit court judge has ordered in favor of state house Democrats, who are suing their Republican compatriots in an attempt to force them to stop “circumventing the constitution.”

In a shocking story broken nationally by Rachel Maddow, the GOP-led state congress has been misusing an emergency exemption in the state’s constitution as means of forcing bills through.

According to Maddow, the state constitution requires bills be implemented 90 days after the end of the session in which they were passed—which for the state is a full calendar year. An emergency provision allows for the passage of bills immediately in the case of a 2/3 majority. This is intended for emergencies like natural disasters or other things that are out of the ordinary.

Instead, the House of Representatives has been passing everything that comes their way under the emergency provision, including removal of health benefits for domestic partners of government employees and the appointment of emergency managers for a number of cities and school districts throughout Michigan.

According to Maddow, the slow process written into the constitution was on purpose—it gives dissenters the chance to make a case against it before it goes into effect.

The most shocking part of Maddow’s story is not the misuse of the provision for non-emergency bills, however; the most shocking part is the reason the democrats are suing in the first place: The Republicans do not have a 2/3 majority, so they cannot be legitimately using the provision in the first place. Furthermore, they are ignoring the Democrats cry for Roll Call and effectively rendering the Democrats votes null and void.

An Ingham County judge has sided with the Democrats and says that the Republicans must allow roll calls when requested by 22 members, a decision Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately requested be overturned.

A video shown of the house proceedings on Rachel Maddow’s show, however, shows that it might be more difficult than just getting a judge to tell them they have to have a roll call. When asked for a vote on immediate effect, the head of the house called the vote in favor in less than 3 seconds. A vote is conducted by having those in favor stand—an act that is not likely to be counted in that short of a time.

What’s worse is that the majority of residents aren’t aware of this provision and how it is being misused, although many residents have taken issue with several of the bills that have been passed since Governor Rick Snyder and the GOP-led congress were elected this year.

Michigan’s representatives have made no comment regarding Maddow’s story.

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