Wednesday, May 25, 2005


ACTION: Education

If you like Michigan, or at least don't feel like having it become a ghost state, there is a rally you need to go to. The K-16 Coalition will march on Lansing JUNE 21 noon to demand the passage of SB-246 and HB-4582 that would require school funding increases at a minimum of the rate of inflation. There will be thousands of people there, myself among them. Grab your friends and family, hop in a car, get to lansing and get involved. Education means a strong state and a strong workforce. Call your reps and senators and tell them that it's not an option.


News update

I've been offline for the last week working on a farm in Marcellus, but here is a roundup of happenings from around the state.

An interesting profile of Livingston County at polstate.

Another good article at polstate about redistricting.

This senate bill slipped through before the legislative updated began, it's pretty sick in my opinion considering that you get stuck on the sex offender list for public urination.

Jerry Zandstra throws in his hat. Here's the ap story. Looks like the minister vote will be split.

Monday, May 23, 2005


MI Legislative Digest: 5/17 - 5/19

Apologies for the delay! Busy weekend!

The Hotlist:
HB 4770



Are all still in committee

Notable New Introduced Bills from 5/17-5/19:

New law creating "Health Savings Accounts" allowance.

Provides for deducting money contributed to HSA's from stste income tax

Removes right for preliminary examination by magistrate for certain types of offenses

Makes any person requesting a recount of one or more precints responsible for paying 100% of the estimated cost of the recount.

Requires school year to start after labor day

Fast food tax applied ONLY to restaraunts in cities over 750000 population. Money collected to be kept ONLY for appropriation to that city.

Random steroid testing for High School athletes

Requires owners/operators of child care facilities to meet the same "background checks" as their employees

Allows cities of over 750,000 residents to raise income taxes on NON-residents to a level that matches the rate on residents and corporations

Allows for capital gains to be deducted from income on State Income Taxes if reinvested within 1 year

Notable Engrossed Bills from 5/17-5/19:

A Gov't "beet barrel" (pork?) loan forgiveness bill. Will allow state treasurer to loan $5,000,000 at a time to sugar beet co-ops and allow for forgiving the loan.

New law requiring fitness centers/clubs to have emergency services available, including automated external defibrilators.

Establishes allowance for reciprocal "discount tuition rates" between Michigan and other states.

Allows schools to count ROTC classes as "instructional time/credit" in grades 7-12

Monday, May 16, 2005


Legislative Hot List

Based on my previous post about bills and laws in michigan, here's the hot that calls out items we should (IMO) track:

HR 4752 "Terri's Law"
This particular bill allows for an informal request to be granted by the court to block the "power of attorney" for the ending of life support (or a feeding tube) if the "guardian" is the 'spouse' and is either: A) Engaged in divorce proceedings or B) Engaged in a publicly acknowledged adulterous relationship...

Introduced by:
032 Acciavatti Daniel R 517-373-8931
041 Gosselin Robert R 517-373-1783
100 Hansen Goeff R 517-373-7317
093 Hummel Scott R 517-373-1778
056 Kehrl Herb D 517-373-2617
075 Kooiman Jerry R 517-373-2668
002 Lemmons Jr. LaMar D 517-373-0106
003 Lemmons III LaMar D 517-373-1776
098 Moolenaar John R 517-373-1791
078 Nitz Neal R 517-373-1796
103 Sheltrown Joel D 517-373-3817
040 Taub Shelley R 517-373-8670
089 Vander Veen Barb R 517-373-0838

What is this?? Why are the Lemmons' and Sheltrown's and Kehrl's of the legislature supporting this? I say email and call them demanding to know why they've sponsored something to undermine the power of attorney of spouses!

HB 4773

A classic republican 'tort reform' bill. It removes protections for the general public by deleting sections denying companies a "presumption of innocence" because of bribery or unethical activity!

HB 4770
The 'toothless wonder' that makes racial profiling for traffic stops illegal..well, sort of..but only if the officer breaks some other law in the process of racially profiling the person in question...aaahhhh, ok. Even better...the reps who raised it are ALL DEMOCRATS:

006 Cheeks Marsha D 517-373-0844
034 Clack Brenda D 517-373-8808
106 Gillard Matthew D 517-373-0833
009 Hunter Tupac D 517-373-1705
060 Lipsey Alexander D 517-373-1785
005 McConico Bill D 517-373-0144
068 Murphy Michael D 517-373-0826
054 Smith Alma D 517-373-1771
007 Smith Virgil D 517-373-0589
004 Waters Mary D 517-373-1008

Saturday, May 14, 2005


News update

Granholm's bond proposal isn't doing so hot out of the gate. According to a poll commissioned by the Detroit Free Press, she gets 35% up, 40% down and 25% undecided. Seems like a good deal to me if the 72k jobs figure is accurate than is seems like a steal at 2 billion dollars. Do the math, its like 28k a job. That seems like a good investment to me.

MiDems chairman Brewer will be making a big pitch to move up Michigan's primary during DNC meeting in chi-town this weekend. [Update] Here is his testimony.

In the Lansing mayors race, Bernero issues a challenge, 4 primary debates and 4 general election debates. Benavides hasn't accepted the challenge, and probably won't. He's old, senile and probably couldn't stand on his feet that long. This means Benavides will probably not make it through the primary setting up a race between Bernero and Martinez. Bernero's mistake here was having so many debates. I don't think he comes off as well as he thinks...

Friday, May 13, 2005


Debut Post - MI Legislative Digest

Hello all, call me Flounder. I'm a resident of Dearborn, MI and a life-long affirmed democratic party member. I'm joining the blogroll for MI-Politics here as a volunteer. I've been interested lately in getting involved a bit more in the political scene. One of the major things I can't find is a watch and discussion for the business that is tunneling though the state legislature.

I won't make any promises about being able to track all the bills as they are introduced and move through committee, but I'll try to keep a lock on major items (mainly ones that involve the gov't sticking its fingers into our business and budgetary ones).

Here's what I've got from the last couple of days:

Enrolled Items (Items finalized in committee and approved by both houses):

None of note, this week

Engrossed Items (Items passed by one house of legislature)

SB 0438
Appropriations bill to shift $81,000,000.oo from one fund to another in the state budget.

HB 4405
Removes penalties from the legal code for selling pharmaceuticals by mail.

HB 4242
Simplifies adoption process to allow for incompatibilities between Michigan and foreign countries on birth certificates and other paperwork

HB 4703

(1) A video game retailer shall post a sign in a prominent area within the video game retailer's retail establishment that provides information about a rating system or notifies consumers that a rating system is available to aid in the selection of a game and shall make information that explains the video game rating system available to consumers on request.

(2) A video game retailer that violates this section is responsible for a state civil infraction and may be ordered to pay a fine of not more than $1,000.00.

Hmm, I'm not certain I can go with this. This is requiring a merchant to display a ratings system that is developed and certified by a private entity. This would have a hard time passing a judicial challenge!

SB 131

This new act would make it a penalty for persons to have a visual or aural projection of sexually explicit material in such a way that it would be viewable by the general public. This seems to purposefully focus on displays emanating from vehicles.

Newly Introduced Bills and Resolutions:

HR 4752 !!!! A "Terri's Law" type bill!
The verbiage already in state law allows for a "friend" to send an informal letter to a judge or magistrate to request that the legal "guardian" be forcibly resigned by the court and a successor guardian named. This particular bill also allows for such an informal request to be granted by the court to block the "power of attorney" for the ending of life support (or a feeding tube) if the "guardian" is the 'spouse' and is either: A) Engaged in divorce proceedings or B) Engaged in a publicly acknowledged adulterous relationship...

This last part is particularly egregious, IMNSHO. Please go review the bill and contact your representatives!

HB 4773

WHAT? Read the text contained removes the loss of liability punishment that the original law provided for cases of graft or unethical behavior! "Tort reform" my big white hairy butt!

HB 4770
Makes racial profiling illegal as a basis for investigative stops by police...good thing, right? Um...then what does THIS provision do, guys?

"(3) This section applies only if the peace officer violates another penal law of this state in conjunction with the violation of this section."

That's REEEAAAALLLL this bill is toothless unless the officer has engaged in some illegal activity in the process of harassing someone?

HB 4745
Allows for ethical/moral objection to providing health care services

HB 4746
Allows for ethical/moral objection to providing health care services

HB 4747
Tax exemption for indigent senior citizens

HB 4748
This is a campaign finance bill that requires PACs that have raised, expended, or expect to raise/expend over $20,000.00 to file documentation with SOS and requires SOS to have a computer and assistant at EVERY SOS office to assist in said filings.

HB 4749
Very similar to 4748, but for a change in emphasis in action item (6) to provide an exception from reporting a candidate's loaning money to their campaign.

HB 4750
Again very similar to 4748

HB 4751
amendments to "social welfare act" including certain types of medical procedures and treatments

HB 4753
New law against "window peeping" involving tresspassing and calling for specific penalty limits for first time and repeat offenders

HB 4755
This establishes standards for Schoolboard elections in small townships and villages.

HB 4757
Elections; candidates; tax compliance statement certifying that any delinquent taxes owed by an elected candidate have been paid;

HB 4758
Levies a surcharge of $7.50 per ton on waste processed by landfills or incinerators. To be collected by the operator of said landfills and incinerators and passed on to State of Michigan and deposited into a fund managed by the State Treasurer.

HB 4759
Provides a spending structure for the money collected under HR 4758. Locks down the money until 2008 (but provides the capability for excess collections to be used in recycling programs) and then provides for the distribution of those monies to county and municipal governments based primarily upon their level of involvement in recycling activities. It goes on to provide an incentive to draw more counties and municipalities into having recycling programs by subsidizing them with the taxes collected by the surcharge on landfilled or incinerated trash....
Hmm, this proposal also requires extensive planning reports and action reports. Personally, I like the spirit, but this just smacks of adding a new layer of gov't bureaucracy.

HB 4760
Places a moratorium on landfill site certification until 2010..allows emergency relief for construction if proof can be shown that capacity of an existing site will be met or exceeded within 3 years (modified down from previous version's 5 years)

HB 4767
Alters the income tax code to effect in a $3,600.00 credit to heads of household for every person in their care (a dependent) who is over 65 or a dependent who suffers from one of a long list of extremely challenging handicaps (full blindness, quadraplegic, etc.). Also effects in a $1,200.00 child credit for all dependents under 19 years of age on the last tax day of the year.


A bill that would accomplish the same thing as House Joint Resolution 1 below...why the heck do they have a separate BILL and AMENDMENT

HR 0074 - Go to this Link (Journal of Day's activities) and search for 'Child'. This is a motion to send a memorandum (they phrase it as "memorialize") to the US Congress to FULLY FUND THE NCLB INITIATIVE. That says it plainly enough for me!

SB 0484

A bill that would allow local legislative authorities to petition the liquor commision against an establishment based on numbers of violent incidents reported both ON the grounds of the establishment and in areas "adjacent" to the establishment.

I don't like that additional exception..making a bar owner or other liquor-selling/serving shop responsible for vaguely defined "violent incidents" occuring in a nebulously defined "adjacent area"

SB 0488

Tied to House Joint Resolution I, regarding "Jobs for Michigan" Bonds and Dispensation

Joint Resolution I - Amendment to State Constitution for "Jobs for Michigan" Bond Authorization and Appropriations


Michigan gets off easy


Navy Reserve Center Marquette
Parisan U.S. Army Reserve Center, Lansing
Selfridge Army Activity
W.K. Kellogg Airport Air Guard Station

Detroit Arsenal
Selfridge Air National Gard Base

It's a net gain of 125 jobs. Here's a spreadsheet with the data.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


A better abortion

Republicans have used abortion for years to get people to vote for them, but have never done anything about it (yes it is still legal). If you're not from Michigan, you might not know about a fun thing that Republicans dug up a few years ago. CANADIAN TRASH! Since the dems jumped on the bandwagon a couple years back, it seems like any and every politician in the state has railed against this evil encroachment of filth. As it turns out though, it's still coming unabated. Despite my congressman's (rogers) best efforts, which he informs me about monthly, this plague still haunts our pristine state. The problem that the republicans ran into was landfill owners bankroll their campaigns, and the canadians pay. So, when a democratic state rep offers a bill to make bringing in trash prohibitivley expensive, does the gop bite? NO!!!! This issue is destined to linger on and on, just like abortion, but better, because this time, both parties get to play.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Bring on the police state

As if the security cameras aren't enough, the Supreme Court (Michigan) decided police can go through anything we have for any reason. We really need to get some better justices, the ruling was 6-1.


Lansing Mayoral Race Heats Up

Lynn Martinez just announced that she would seek election to Lansing Mayor later this year. Here's what I think will go down. Benavides will lose the three way primary between him, Bernero and Martinez. He is like Regan, equipped with a competent staff, but really old and not very lucid. People are bound to find out. Add that to the fact that Martinez will be able to capture much of the Hispanic vote, I doubt it will even close. That brings us to the actual election, it's hard to tell right now; Virg can raise some dough and he scored some points with libertarians when he introduced a bill to protect employees but he usually rubs people the wrong way. Don't get me wrong, I worked for the guy a couple summers back, but I doubt he'll will this one. Martinez knows how to win elections and I think she'll take it. That means Virg could be back for a second term in the Senate, and that means Whitmer will have to find something else to run for... Should be interesting.



There has been some *chuckle* discussion about the latest polling numbers out of Survey USA. Granholm didn't do so well, garnering only a 36% approval rating. a That's pretty bad, but when you look at the splits, her beef is really with democrats and young people. I mean, nobody else is supporting her, but it makes sense for them not to. 18-34 year olds give her a 28% approval rating, not all that bizarre considering most young people with any sense in their heads and any need for a job get the hell out of this state. I think people are realizing that Michigan has a serious economic problem that needs to be fixed, and if somebody isn't willing to take bold action, then it will only get worse.

Right now Granholm is touring the state, promoting her tax shift that aids manufacturers and bond initiative. She doesn't realize that nothing short of radical change will make the economy any better. Think doubling the education spending or providing health care for every worker, some kind of plan that would help Michigan stand out. Of course these would never get through the legislature, but at least people would see her as trying to make a difference. Her current plans just kinda suck. The SBT reform is too complicated to score anything, and the bond preposal is just government spending on research, noble, but a drop in the bucket.

I think she assumed that she would have a bit more time before she would have to raise her public profile. She comes across very well, but when it comes time to go to the polls, people will have to decide if this is a governor that can pull the state out of recession. This one hasn't, and if it comes election time (even the primary) and things don't start to pick up (they won't), she's going to lose.

HOWEVER, the republicans in this state are disfunctional, and I wouldn't be surprised if whichever candidate they ran lost more. I could talk for some time about how Granholm has been a big let down for democrats, it will remain to be seen if they will hold back and support her or get some balls and kick her out in the primary.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Kennedy sighting

Jr. stopped by Muskegon over the weekend... I wonder if he's up to something...

Also, a bit about my best buddy Gabe Leland


Fun Stuff

I'm personally very interested in education policy and I think Michigan is on the right track (mostly) as far as finances go. However, I watched a special on silly CNN which turned out to be quite good, except for this fellow named Greene who was a doofus. Anyhow, it was all about how bad standardized testing can be and how Florida and Texas (connection?) are relly screwed up because of it. Aside from the federal interference of No Child Left Behind, which I think is an evil bill no matter if it's funded or not, Michigan does a good job at the state level (except for releasing MEAP scores). I really worry that people (politicans) are going to jump on the "accountability" wagon in this state and usher in a new era of corporate drone education.


Clarke throws in his hat...

The Detroit mayoral election is shaping up to be very interesting, as judging from the way Kwame has governed, probably a bit rowdy. State Senator Hansen Clarke, (D-1) announced that he is now in the race. Detroit has a lot of problems and people might look to somebody with state experience to help the city avoid an embarassing receiver from Lansing. Also in the race are Councilwoman Sharon McPhail and former Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix. Right now, momentum will probably stand with those currently in the race, but the election is 6 months away and anything can happen. It seems unlikely that Clarke would give up his seat.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


A quick news wrap

Lansing looking to deal with cons

The House eats some candy after they find something that everybody can agree on. I can't imagine how many schools didn't already have this ban.

I like that people in this country can buy guns, but I don't like that they can shoot people. Why does the NRA? Look for this bill popping up in Michigan soon. TIME has a good article about it.

The Free Press ran an interesting story today about cash in politics, it's a good read, you should check it out.

To wrap up the fun, a bit of booze for you all (on Sunday no less), probably would have a better chance of passing if Christmas wasn't involved....

Sunday, May 01, 2005



I've been moving out of my place over the last few days, I'll get back to posting in a day or so.

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