About that Michigan story

Updated
 

Here again is our Thursday segment on what’s happening in Michigan, where Republicans control the governorship and both chambers of the legislature.

In a nutshell, the story is that the Michigan Constitution requires that bills wait until the end of the session – essentially, the end of the calendar year – plus 90 days before becoming law. You can, however, put a bill into effect immediately, provided you have a two-thirds majority in both chambers. Republicans have that super-majority in the Senate, but not in the House. Yet they appear to have given nearly every bill since they took over in January 2010 immediate effect.

Michigan Republicans have applied immediate effect even to legislation Democrats have opposed in a block, from taking away domestic partner benefits (pdf) to blocking the expansion of union rights (pdf) to the souped-up emergency manager law (pdf) that lets the state replace elected officials with managers who have unilateral control. As you can see in the clip above, the Republican speaker calls for a rising vote, waits a blink, and then gavels in his party’s super-majority.

Michigan Democrats have begun using their numbers to demand a record roll call vote, as a means of trying to make Republicans prove they have the super-majorities they claim to have. They say Republicans are denying them roll call votes, and last week,  they sued the House (and specifically Republican House leadership) over it. On Monday, a county judge ruled for the Democrats. Issuing a temporary injunction, he ordered the House leadership to grant the roll call votes; he also put on hold several recent bills passed improperly.

I’ll add files to this post as they come in. For now, these pdfs: the Democratic brief, the temporary injunction, the House (Republican) appeal and the Democratic response. Also, the official Journal of the House (pdf) on the day Republicans attached “immediate effect” to the emergency manager law. The action is on numbered pages 209 and 210; you’ll see the GOP has 62 votes, when a super-majority would be at least 73.

ADDING: Michigan Republicans have totaled up the number of bills Democrats passed under immediate effect when they were the majority and it was nearly all of them. What we don’t know yet is whether the Republican minority requested roll call votes and was denied them, which is what Democrats say has been happening to them.

More on this story Friday night and next week. If you’ve got links to add, please drop them in the comments.

Michigan

About that Michigan story

Updated