Skip to main content

Rachel Maddow devoted the last segment of her show Thursday to Michigan, and to the astounding lengths to which that state's Republican legislature and governor have gone to essentially overthrow democracy. If you can, watch the whole thing:

(The full transcript)

Here's the story in a nutshell: In the early 1960s, the state adopted a constitutional amendment that slowed the implementation of new laws so that they wouldn't take effect until three months after the end of the legislative session in which they were passed. They did, however, allow for passage of emergency legislation, provided the legislature could get a two-thirds majority vote on the legislation. With a two-thirds vote, a law could go into effect immediately. In an emergency.

As Maddow reported last night, that's not how it's been working lately.

The Democrats in Michigan say that since Republicans took over the Michigan house, they've passed 566 bills. We have looked into that count ourselves. It does seem accurate and the Republicans are not contesting it.

Of those 566 bills, 546, all about 20 of them, were passed under the immediate effect clause -- 96 percent of the bills they've passed have essentially been an emergency. Almost everything they've done has been done under this provision of the constitution that let's you put things into effect immediately because you've got a super majority. They've been designed to rush from the legislature to Governor Snyder for a quick signature and into full immediate effect that day, that minute, right now.

This is new in Michigan governance. This is not the way Michigan was set up. This is not the way it was supposed to be.

They have used that procedure to pass massively undemocratic legislation: the emergency manager law that lets the state take over towns, boot out the elected town or city officials, and just take over; the stripping of public employee benefits to domestic partners; blocking the expansion of the graduate students' union. They will almost certainly use it to pass pending voter suppression laws.

And how they've done this is remarkable. These "immediate effect" laws are supposed to get a two-thirds majority. That's numerically impossible in the House, because Republicans don't have two-thirds majority and Democrats have remained united as a bloc against them. The House Republicans simply ignore the two-thirds part of the law. They hold a separate "immediate effect" vote after voting in a bill, and rather than doing a roll call vote, just simply eyeball the assembly and call it two-thirds.

Michigan Democrats, after a year of this, finally sued, and on Monday got a county judge to issue "a temporary injunction ordering Michigan House Republicans to follow the law, to follow the constitution, to let the minority vote even though the minority are Democrats." Why it took state Democrats so long to figure that one out is a bit of mystery, but they did, and they got the attention of the courts which is going to be critical in the next steps of the fight.

But what is remarkable here is the extent to which a democratically elected legislature and governor have overturned democracy. They have stripped the votes of all of the people living in the cities and towns who have been taken over by emergency managers by removing the officials they elected. They have stripped the votes of legislators in their very state government. They are about to prevent untold thousands from even being able to cast a ballot in November.

Undoubtedly, all in the name of freedom.

(Eclectablog has a comprehensive post detailing Maddow's full report.)

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 12:54 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos and State & Local ACTION Group.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site