We talked earlier about Wisconsin Republicans, after suffering a series of losses, scrambling to overhaul state government, rigging the game in their favor, before they’re forced to relinquish power in the new year. As it happens, an eerily similar situation is unfolding in a state next door.
For the first time in nearly three decades, voters in Michigan elected a Democratic governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. As the Detroit Free Press reported the other day, GOP state legislators don’t appear to be taking it well:
As Democratic candidates prepare to take three statewide offices on Jan. 1 – governor, attorney general and secretary of state – Republican lawmakers introduced bills Thursday to challenge their authority.
State Rep. Robert VerHeulen, R-Walker, introduced a bill that would allow the state House of Representatives and Senate to intervene in any legal proceedings involving the state, which has traditionally been the purview of the state attorney general or the governor’s office.
In addition, state Sen. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, introduced a bill that would shift oversight of campaign finance law from the secretary of state to a six-person commission appointed by the governor. The panel members would be nominated by the state Republican and Democratic parties.
And that’s really just the start. The GOP-led state legislature – where Republicans rule thanks to one of the nation’s most egregiously gerrymandered maps – immediately got to work “substantially” scaling back minimum wage and paid-sick-leave laws approved by Michigan voters.
The Detroit Free Press’ Brian Dickerson called this what it is: a partisan “smash-and-grab.”
The question is whether outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who declined to endorse his party’s far-right candidate in the race to succeed him, intends to go along with these Republican schemes. As Dickerson put it, the retiring two-term governor “must decide whether he wishes to be remembered as the conservative accountant who brought order to Michigan’s fiscal house or the GOP apparatchik who enabled his party’s 11th-hour smash-and-grab.”
The path Snyder prefers is not yet clear.