lame-duck

Hundreds of protesters organized by Women’s March Michigan took to the state capitol building in Lansing, Michigan Tuesday to protest the actions of the state’s lame-duck legislature. This includes gutting the minimum wage increases that the legislature passed earlier this year.

But Michigan Republicans have been up to so much more than that.

For instance, after Michigan passed a ballot initiative expanding voting rights, lame-duck Republicans have been working to curtail those efforts. This includes state senator Mike Kowall (R) introducing legislation to roll back the voter-approved automatic voter registration initiative.

There is also an effort to limit the impact of Proposition 1 — Michigan’s recreational marijuana initiative. The new law would allow Michiganders over 21 to cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R) wants to eliminate that provision.

“Big business interests should not be allowed to outlaw home cultivation, the farmer’s roadside stand, or small businesses,” protester William Clark told Grit Post.

And then there’s the government reforms that have been called a “naked power grab.” Like Wisconsin, the statewide elections in Michigan were swept by Democrats, and the Republican legislature is trying to diminish the power of the executive and judicial branches before they lose them in January.

“I was energized by the House Republicans introducing a bill to monitor and intervene in decisions that the incoming elected officials will have authority to do,” protester Mary Hall-Rayford told Grit Post. “They are attempting to keep themselves relevant as though the ‘women’ need a babysitter in order to do their jobs.”

One bill would allow the legislature to intervene in court cases in which they felt they had an interest. Enforcement of campaign finance law would be moved from the Secretary of State’s office to the legislature. Another bill would shield contributions from ‘dark money’ donors.

These bills, among others, constitute what Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson (D) called an “end-run around democracy.”

“Every voter in the state of Michigan should be outraged, because if any of these things go through, it creates a dangerous precedent,” Bensen told WJR. “What’s happening right now in the 11th hour is a complete eradication of the voters’ power.”

But that isn’t all that the lame-duck legislators set their eyes on. Michigan is the only state with a ten-cent bottle deposit, and the Republican legislature is aiming to end that distinction to save the sponsor’s business $9,000. There’s also a bill that would limit the use of science in regulating toxic clean-up efforts in the state.

Term-limited Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Michigan Republicans are also in a scramble to finalize controversial pipeline project “Line 5,” as the incoming Democratic administration opposes the project.

“Any issue that is important to progressive voters, the GOP is attempting to roll back, block or repeal – in Michigan and other states,” protester Dot Johnson said in a conversation with Grit Post. “The fight is on… Look out 2020.”

 

Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.

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