Someone correct me if I got any of this wrong, but here’s the gist of what I heard…
Historically, there’s always been a lag in Michigan between the time when a law is passed, and when it goes into effect. At the very least, it’s three months, but, depending on when a law is passed during the legislative cycle, it could be as many as fifteen months. This is done so that opponents have an opportunity to mount challenges, and the like, before bills go into effect. There is a way around this, however. It’s called “immediate effect,” and it requires a two-thirds majority vote from the legislature. This was intended to be used in rare instances of emergency, when it was absolutely necessary for the state government to act quickly, like in order to respond to a natural disaster. Well, since Snyder took office, the “immediate effect” provision has been invoked 546 times. (A total of 566 bills have been passed by the Republicans, who control both the House and Senate, as well as the Governor’s office, and 96% of them have been immediately made law under the rules of “immediate effect”.) The only only problem is, the Republicans don’t have a 2/3 majority in the Michigan House. And, as no Democrats have been voting with them, that means these 546 bills that were passed and rushed into law shouldn’t have been. This means, among other things, that the law that stripped domestic partner benefits from state employees, shouldn’t have technically gone into effect. And, apparently, no one has figured this out until now… Assuming Maddow is right on this, the ramifications could be enormous.
As pissed as I am at the Republicans for exploiting a loophole (illegally) to essentially invalidate one of the checks and balances that had existed for decades in Michigan law, I think I’m more pissed at the Democrats for not having caught on quicker that Republicans didn’t have the votes necessary to invoke “immediate effect.” Why did it take 544 bills to pass before someone brought up the fact that they Republicans didn’t have a two-thirds majority?
[note: No one is suggesting that the the bills passed illegally. They just went into effect illegally.]