Do you remember, a week or so ago, when we were discussing the anti-abortion omnibus bill (HB 5711), often referred to in the national press as “the country’s most restrictive anti-abortion bill“? Well, it passed the Michigan Senate today, and, after a quick trip back to the House, where a few edits need to be approved, it will be heading to the desk of our Governor, Rick Snyder. If you’d asked me last week whether or not I thought it was possible that he’d sign it, I would have said, “Not a chance.” Now, though, in light of yesterday’s passage of the right-to-work bill, I’m not so sure. I keep telling myself that Snyder, if he wants to avoid recall, is going to have to stand up to the right wing zealots in his party, now that he’s delivered on right-to-work, and start vetoing some of these more egregious pieces of legislation that are coming across his desk. But, in the back of my mind, I can’t help but think that a lot of Republicans, giddy with excitement over yesterday’s historic defeat of organized labor, are feeling that this lame duck session is their one big chance to finally do everything that they’ve been dreaming of since the Carter administration. And, I don’t know that Snyder, even if he wanted to, could stand up to them now, if that’s the case… You’d have a better chance, in my estimation, of fighting off a gang of starving bodybuilders high on bath salts who are intent on eating your face.
Someone today asked State Representative Jeff Irwin what those of us who wanted to stop 5711 from becoming law could do. He responded that, at this point, all we could really do was contact the Governor’s office and express our concern. He then added the following… “My fear, however, is that Governor Snyder traded horrible anti-woman legislation for horrible anti-worker legislation.”
Could it be possible that Snyder agreed to sign 5711 in exchange for support on right-to-work? Is it possible that his love of unions is so strong that he’d be willing to sell out our state’s women in order to make organized labor stronger? (In case it’s not clear, that’s sarcasm… I still can’t get over the fact that Snyder is trying to peddle this ridiculous narrative that Michigan’s new right-to-work legislation, which, by the way, was copied almost word-for-word from the ALEC template, is pro-union, as though we’re not smart enough to see right through that.)
And, like it or not, 5711 is just the tip of the iceberg. Once the anti-choice super bill goes through, that’s when the floodgates open in earnest… At present, there are dozens of pieces of extremist legislation winding their way through the legislative process in Lansing, in hopes of being signed into law before our newly-elected Senators and Representatives arrive in town, and the balance of power shifts a little bit more toward sanity, as this magical “anything goes” period of extremist wish fulfillment comes to an end.
Not only are the Republicans in Lansing, at this very moment, moving to reinstate the controversial Emergency Manager legislation that the people of Michigan overwhelmingly voted to get rid of in November, but they’re also pushing through legislation that would make it possible for gun owners to carry concealed weapons into schools, and, if you can believe it, make it illegal for Michigan to adopt fundamentalist Muslim law, as though that’s a pressing threat that we’re up against at the moment. (I’ll have to check, but I don’t think that it’s Muslims who are behind the push to end abortion rights in our state, or put guns in our schools.)
And, these are just the bills that I’ve learned about today… As we’ve discussed over the past few weeks, there are still bills making their way to Snyder’s desk which would, if signed into law, protect the rights of bigots working in the health care, allow for the unrestrained expansion of for-profit charter schools, and end the personal property tax revenue that funds local police and fire protection, among other things.
The folks a Salon.com really weren’t kidding a few days ago, when they referred to us a Michissippi. We’re really through the looking glass now, my friends.