Michigan Republicans attempt a naked, lame duck power grab in advance of Whitmer, Nessel and Benson taking office

The Democrats, as you know, made huge gains across the midwest during this past midterm election. States like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, that had helped put Donald Trump in the White House, all took big strides back in the other direction. Here in Michigan, not only did we flip two historically Republican House seats, but we also elected strong Democratic women to serve as Governor (Gretchen Whitmer), Attorney General (Dana Nessel), and Secretary of State (Jocelyn Benson). And that, as you can imagine, isn’t exactly sitting well with Michigan Republicans in Lansing, who, like their brethren in Wisconsin, are employing every dirty trick at their disposal during this lame duck session to ensure that, when Democrats start to take back power, they won’t easily be able to unwind the damage that has been done.

Lame duck dirty tricks, of course, aren’t anything new. For years, Michigan Republicans, under the direction of well-funded conservative groups like ALEC, have hijacked the legislative process during lame duck session in order to push through unpopular retrograde polices. It’s how Michigan, the state that gave America the middle class, became a so-called “Right to Work” state back in 2012, and it’s how, at this very minute, Republicans in Lansing are attempting to once again circumvent the will of the people by making it more difficult, if not impossible, for incoming Democrats to do things like eliminate gerrymandering, extend access to the vote, and institute campaign finance laws.

Here, to give you a sense of what we’re up against, is an excerpt from today’s Washington Post.

Two of the Democratic Party’s biggest wins last month occurred in Wisconsin and Michigan, where their candidates won gubernatorial elections, unseating a well-known incumbent in the former and flipping the seat in the latter.

But in both states, Republicans maintained control of both chambers of the legislature. So, in anticipation of having to work with a Democratic governor, state lawmakers are aiming to hurriedly pass legislation that would dilute the executives’ powers…

In Michigan, where Democrats last month won the governor’s mansion as well as the races for attorney general and secretary of state, Republican lawmakers last week introduced measures that would water down the authority of those positions on campaign finance oversight and other legal matters. All three statewide winners are women, as one Detroit Free Press columnist pointed out.

A spokeswoman for the incoming secretary of state Jocelyn Benson decried the move as “shameful,” the Free Press reported

The Republicans, as I understand it, have already set in motion a roll-back of our paid sick leave and mandatory minimum wage laws, and now they’re pushing through legislation that would, among other things, tie the hands of incoming Democrats, who have been sent to Lansing to undo their damage. Among the worst pieces of legislation being pushed through the legislature this lame duck session are House Bill 6553, and Senate Bills 1251 and 1252, all of which are designed to stop incoming Democrats from pursuing the will of Michigan people, who said this past Election Day that they wanted an end to gerrymandering and voter suppression, among other things. Here, for those of you who are interested to know which Republicans are behind these bills, is a little more information. [For information on other bills being advanced by Republicans this lame duck session, I’d suggest checking out Bridge Michigan.]

The good news is, people are fighting back. Tomorrow, Michiganders will be showing up in force in Lansing to make it known that this is simply not acceptable. [According to the Michigan Resistance Facebook page, the lame duck protest will take place at the Capitol rotunda tomorrow at 11:00 AM. For more information, follow the #MiPowerGrab tag on Twitter.]

Call your elected officials, and tell you friends. This is important. We cannot allow the Republicans to once again change the rules of the game to serve the interests of their donors over those of the Michigan people.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I received the following yesterday:

    I need your help to stop the Lame Duck Legislature from gutting Proposal 2 that will end gerrymandering in Michigan.

    61% (2.5M) of Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 2 on November 6.

    SB 1254 was introduced on 11/29 to modify the process of selecting Commissioners

    It is a SHELL BILL that appears harmless; but in reality it is likely to be changed in Committee and may be more harmful to the success of a Fair, Impartial and Transparent redistricting process.

    House and Senate are meeting this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Legislature will probably be in session until 12/21 although they can be in session as long as 12/31.

    Immediate Strategy: I am asking each of you to do two things:
    1. Today: contact your network of family and friends to make a call tomorrow to their House representative.
    2. Tomorrow: Call your House member on Tuesday (tomorrow) Dec. 4 to vote no on SB 1254 and the House equivalent.
    3. Only call YOUR representative at this time.
    4. Stay on one unified message:

    Unified Message:
    NO CHANGES TO PROPOSAL 2. The will of the people must be respected.

    1. There is no need to rush through changes. The Sec Of State will not start the redistricting process for another year (January 2020) so no need to rush through changes to what the people voted for just a month ago.
    2. Lame Duck session: legislators who are termed out or lost their seats should not be making decisions for which they are unaccountable.
    3. Focus on House because Senate has a supermajority and will probably send it through quickly. Best hope is to stop it in the House and never get to the Governor’s desk.

    Why call Rabhi and Warren?

    Although we know that our representatives will NOT support this bill, it will be very powerful for them to say “I have received x thousand calls about this bill . . . “ If you live in Ann Arbor or Pittsfield and Scio Townships, your reps are:

    Yousef Rahbi
    (517) 373-2577

    Rebekah Warren
    (517) 373-2406

    Thanks so much for your time and effort!!

  2. Meta
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The Detroit Free Press Lame Duck Tracker:


  3. Jennifer Schlicht by proxy
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Jennifer Schlicht has shared the following to Facebook. It’s a work in progress, but these are her notes thus far on the legislation being pushed through the Michigan legislature. Updates can be found here:

    Welcome Michiganders! It’s going to get a lot worse in Lansing before it gets better – so let’s strategize and share:

    – Immediate tracking/awareness/response
    – Undoing the damage
    – Reforming the system

    Focusing on the first one for now, this post will be updated with where current legislation stands. If you know particular groups organizing responses that I don’t list or legislation I missed, comment and I’ll add it.


    #SB1175 Paid Sick Leave
    Status: Passed Senate
    Notes: Organizers Planning 2020 Ballot Drive

    #SB1171 Minimum Wage
    Status: Passed Senate
    Response: Good Jobs Now (12/3 Detroit Mtg)

    #SB796 Union Release Time (public sector some exempt)
    – Status: Passed Senate; In House Committee
    – Response:
    – Notes: Particular concern to teachers


    #HB6314 #HB6315 Circumventing State Oversight of Districts
    – Status:
    – Response:
    – Notes:

    #HB5526 A-F grading system for public schools
    – Status:
    – Response: MASB
    – Notes:


    #SB1197 Line 5 Tunnel
    – Status: Held in Senate
    – Response: Oil & Water Don’t Mix, Clean Water Action, etc.
    – Notes: Revising to create new authority (non Mac Bridge)
    – Action: https://www.oilandwaterdontmix.org/contact_these_reps_about_sb_1197

    #SB1211 Wetlands
    – Status:
    – Response: FLOW, etc.
    – Notes:

    #HB6532 Bottle Bill
    – Status: House Committee
    – Response: Overwhelming Negative Public
    – Notes: Bottle Bill will be implemented for 40 years on Dec 3 – symbolic birthday party action? Sponsor would also benefit directly if it passes

    #SB1188, etc Trees/Local Control
    – Status:
    – Response: Lorax, MEC
    – Notes:


    #SB1254 Redistricting Oversight
    – Status: Senate Committee
    – Response: Voters Not Politicians
    – Notes

    #SB1250 Campaign Finance Oversight
    – Status:
    – Response: MCFN
    – Notes:

    #SB1176 Charity Oversight/Dark Money
    – Status:
    – Response: Michigan Campaign Finance Network
    – Notes:


    #SB1198 Telemedicine Abortion Medication
    – Status: Passed Senate
    – Response: Planned Parenthood of Michigan
    – Notes:
    – Action: http://www.miplannedparenthood.org/news/the-michigan-state-senate-is-coming-for-our-health-care-again


    Marijuana Home Growing
    – Status:
    – Response:
    – Notes: Needs a supermajority to pass

    #HB5916 #HB5917 Puppy Mill Pet Sales/Local Oversight
    – Status: Passed House
    – Response: Humane Society
    – Notes:
    – Action: https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy…

    Casino Credit Betting
    – Status:
    – Response:
    – Note:


  4. site admin
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Show me what Democracy looks likeTHIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE#mileg #milameduck pic.twitter.com/VPJMA3aNQC— Jen. (@jenelaina) December 4, 2018

  5. Jeff Irwin by proxy
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mark. From what I can tell, the bills to lower the minimum wage and eliminate earned sick leave are probably the first to move and that the Line 5 tunnel will come up later because of policy complications with setting up the tunnel authority.

  6. Karen T.
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Lame Duck Watch: https://www.milameduckwatch.org

  7. wobblie
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    MM for covering this and the links that folks post. The Republicans always play hardball while the Democrats are busy playing slow pitch softball.

    Back to one of my pet projects, making the US a democracy again. I see our old Representative John Dingell posted an op-ed today that is right on target (I wonder it Debbie is on board). In addition to getting rid of the Senate, we need to double the size of the House of Representatives. The Republicans would become an insignificant rural party without much influence. If Democrats are not serious about power, then what good are they.


  8. John Brown
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Republicans thought bubble: “Dems are pussies. They don’t even have a militia that can be mobilized to stochastic terrorism. What are they gonna do about it?”

  9. Dan Blakeney
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Shit like this is one reason why so many don’t vote in the first place.

  10. iRobert
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    It’s at moments like these that we can see most clearly the true nature of most Republican officials. They are the very sort of filth that the founding fathers were attempting to keep at bay. They now swarm our government at every level and will be the undoing of America.

  11. verifyfirst
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Oh brother. So I suppose you are imagining that the Democrats would not abuse their lame duck power in any way if the positions were reversed. Lol.

    Maybe you should go on the record stating that, so we can all have a good laugh down the road.

  12. iRobert
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Verifyfirst, feel free to give examples.

  13. iRobert
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The GOP is ovverun with sociopaths. It is the trend generally in our society, but the GOP has been a magnet for them for obvious reasons. They have been undermining the traditional denocratic processes of this country at an excellerating rate. These are not your parent’s Republicans. They’re a new breed which places no value on maintaining the integrity of America’s systems and institutions.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    At least they’re being honest about it. Check this quote out from Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly:

    Vos says if extraordinary session bills aren’t passed “we are going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in.”

  15. The Onion
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    GOP-Controlled Wisconsin Legislature Votes To Dissolve State Rather Than Let Democrats Have It https://trib.al/RrrJpOl

  16. Lynne
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Well, all I know is that IF the Dems get power and then use dirty tricks to cheat to hold onto it, the right will not be able to be critical of them without being hypocrites. Unfortunately, they are not worried about their own hypocrisy.

  17. Kim
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    From the Associated Press:

    BREAKING: The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate has passed a sweeping measure taking power away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general. The state Assembly is expected to do the same later this morning.

  18. wobblie
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    It is funny to see the Republican’s here in Michigan try to rein in the authority of the Governor, when it is those same Republicans who couldn’t give John Engler enough power. When Granholm was Governor she did not use the authority that Republican legislator’s had given Engler to reorganize state agencies and populate the new agencies with Democratic supporters. Of course Snyder’s first actions as Governor was to use those powers to abolish agencies and reorganize them and populate them with Republican political hacks.

    Results are apparent. Environmental agencies which are complicit in the poisoning of the citizens of Flint, and the murder of about a dozen folks from Legionaries disease. An unempl0yment agency which has stolen millions of dollars (quit literally as a result of their utilizing robots to administer fraud findings) from unemployed Michiganders–thousands of folks economic lives damaged, some beyond repair. These are just two examples of the damage these folks have done to Michigan.

    Whitmer needs to totally purge Lansing of these incompetent, venal, Republican hacks.

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  1. […] it, in the future, was a simple majority. And that’s what just happened. During the current lame duck session, Republicans passed SB 1171 and SB 1175 to roll back their own Michigan Minimum Wage Increase […]

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