“Lansing hates us,…the People love us!!!”

1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 2-13-19;
MIRS News Service

Legal Challenge To Paid Sick Leave, Min. Wage Changes Imminent

A legal challenge to take down the Legislature's lame duck changes to the state's minimum wage and paid sick leave proposals is coming soon, MIRS has learned.

Leaders of both drives to create a $12-an-hour floor by 2022 and an annual bank of 72 hours of paid sick leave said with "100 percent certainty" something would be done to bring back the original proposals approved by lawmakers last summer before they were changed in December.

Oakland County Commission Chair Dave WOODWARD, who did work for both Time To Care and One Fair Wage, said he could say with "100 percent" certainty that "we're going to improve paid sick time for all workers and we're going to do whatever it takes."

"We're not going to stop," he said. "We're going to keep at this. We're going to keep moving the needle so workers have a chance to climb up that ladder of opportunity."

That could mean going back to the ballot in 2020, but Woodward also said, "I'd like to explore the constitutionality of what (the Legislature) did" when it passed both citizens initiatives in September (See "House, Senate Pass Paid Sick Leave, $12 Minimum Wage," 9/5/18) and then significantly changed both proposals in December (See "House Further Revises, Then Passes Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage Bills," 12/4/18).

No lawsuit challenging the amending of the citizens initiatives has been filed, yet, but One Fair Wage and Time to Care, the groups that pushed the proposals, have previously decried the legislative action as being unconstitutional.

Danielle ATKINSON, founder of Mothering Justice in Michigan, also emphasized during a panel discussion at the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE) annual conference that her group isn't letting off the gas.

"Mothering Justice is a momma's agenda. Leave policies are on that agenda. We've been working toward that for six years. We will not stop until all of our proposals are enacted," she said.

Justin WINSLOW, executive director of the Michigan Restaurant Association, and Charlie OWENS, National Federation of Independent Businesses, also shared their perspective during an issue panel.

Under the legislative changes, the $12 minimum wage won't be phased in until 2022 as opposed to 2030. Also, tipped workers won't be brought up to $12, which was in the original proposal. Instead, restaurant staff's pre-tip wage will be 38 percent of the existing minimum wage.

The Legislature's changed paid-sick leave proposal limits the number of impacted businesses to those with more than 50 employees. Instead of 72 hours of paid sick time a year, it would be 40 hours and would only apply to employees with a year of service.

Winslow called the original proposals a "fundamental and existential threat to the restaurant industry," the state's second-largest employer. Polling from 1,700 of his members showed that because of this change, 19 percent will be allowed to stay open.

Another 76 percent said because of the retention of the tip credit, they will be able to grow or retain jobs.

On the issue of whether One Fair Wage and Time to Care will be on the ballot in 2020, Winslow took a pessimistic view that "this will be a perpetual two-year process. There is no end game. Politically speaking, it makes sense to put this on the ballot every two years."

While the straight polling on both issues is strong, Owens said if respondents knew the impact both proposals would have -- a projected 18,000 jobs lost and $3.9 million sucked out of the state's economy -- they would change their minds.

"It is a soul-crushing experience to be a small business owner and have 10 employees and have to walk out to two of them . . . and say 'I'm sorry, we have to let you go' . . . in order to afford this mandated benefit on the remaining eight employees," Owens said.
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TOMORROW - Wednesday, February 13th, 2019,
(3rd Hour 11 am - Noon);
"Trucker Randy's" response to Michigan Governor - Gretchen Whitmer's "State of the State" address tonight;

Listen online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com
Or, on the TuneIn app (download, open and search for WYPV) and LIVE on Facebook via my personal page;
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 2-11-19;
MIRS News Service

Whitmer Wants 'Legislative Improvements' For Healthy MI Work Requirements

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER wrote to federal officials today that she plans to ask for legislative "improvements" to the Medicaid expansion program Healthy Michigan and the work requirements lawmakers last year added to the program.

The federal government signed off late last year on Michigan adding work requirements to Healthy Michigan beneficiaries (See "Feds Approve Healthy MI Waiver For Another 5 Years," 12/21/18).

While that may be, Whitmer said she's planning to ask the Legislature to "work with me in the coming months on changes to the Healthy Michigan Plan that preserve coverage, promote work, and reduce red tape for Michiganders, while also minimizing administrative cost to the state."

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) said today in response that Whitmer "missed a chance to demonstrate her voiced commitment to 'partnering with the legislature' by going public with her intent to likely water down Michigan's unique and thoughtful Medicaid work requirement."

Shirkey said "learning to commit to the disciplines of work is a very key element of fulfilling" the mission of Healthy Michigan, which he said is to remove the health-related obstacles that prevent enrollees from achieving their highest level of personal responsibility.

"I will be an active listener," Shirkey said.

Shirkey sponsored the legislation last year requiring the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to submit a waiver proposing work requirements for Healthy Michigan (See "Medicaid Work Requirement Bill Signed," 6/22/18).

In the letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Whitmer pointed to Arkansas, where she said 18,000 people lost insurance in the first seven months under similar requirements, with many losing coverage "simply because they had not heard or did not understand how to comply."

The Governor then referenced a study this week projecting anywhere between 61,000 to 183,000 Michiganders could lose health coverage with the work requirements scheduled to be implemented in 2020 (See "Report: 183K Could Lose Medicaid Coverage Under Work Requirement," 2/6/19).

"As in Arkansas, Michigan's new law provides no resources for job training, job search or job supports," Whitmer wrote. "There is no reason to expect better job outcomes."

Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) President and CEO Gilda JACOBS today commended Whitmer for acting to keep Healthy Michigan going, while moving to promote change to the work requirements piece.

Jacobs said the law forced Whitmer's hand "by requiring her either to accept the work requirements -- a policy she clearly has concerns with -- or risk eliminating the Healthy Michigan Plan altogether, which puts the care of 680,000 people in jeopardy (See "Pink and Blue Sounded Nice But Did Greenbacks Call the Tune?" 2/4/19).

"It is an unfortunate statement on how this public policy was crafted that the only recourse our state's top elected official currently has is a letter, but we appreciate that Gov. Whitmer is doing what she can to oppose this and protect Michiganders’ healthcare," Jacobs said.

The Michigan Association of Health Plans (MAHP) said in a statement today that while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) "has raised concerns about a few issues," the MAHP doesn't believe "they create serious disruption for the Healthy Michigan Plan.

"We are prepared to work with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration and the Legislature to refine the Healthy Michigan Plan policies to meet the needs of our state," said Dominick PALLONE, executive director of the MAHP.

The work requirements stipulated by the legislation and reflected in the DHHS waiver were intended to "closely mirror" the current cash and food assistance program work requirements.

The requirements in Healthy Michigan would apply to beneficiaries aged 19 to 62 who aren't already exempt to log an average of 80 hours a month of qualified work activities.

Among those qualified activities include education related to employment, job training, vocation training, internships, participation in a substance abuse disorder treatment program, and community service with a nonprofit, although the community service can only count for three months of work activity in a 12-month period.

There are a number of exemptions to the work requirements, including caretakers of a family member under age 6, pregnant women, beneficiaries of temporary or long-term disability benefits, the medically frail and people who had been incarcerated in the past six months, among other categories.

Beneficiaries would be expected to self-report these hours, and are allowed three months of noncompliance in a 12-month period. After that, the beneficiary's eligibility would be suspended, and if anyone misrepresents his or her compliance with work requirements, they'd be barred from Healthy Michigan for a one-year period.
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 2-5-19;
MIRS News Service, Lansing, MI

AG Withdraws State From 4 More Federal Cases, after withdrawing from 8 cases last week;

Attorney General Dana NESSEL's efforts to withdraw Michigan from federal cases continued today as she withdrew the state from four federal cases involving civil rights.

The cases are: Fish v. Kobach in the 10th Circuit; Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Merrill in the 11th Circuit; Lopez-Aguilar v. Marion County in the Seventh Circuit; and United States v. California in the Ninth Circuit.

"Michigan is a melting pot of legal residents who have come here from every corner of the world," Nessel said today in a prepared statement. "This office will not take any action that would limit full and active participation as voters and as residents."

Fish was filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City and it seeks an order requiring the state to immediately register thousands of Kansans who sought to register to vote, but who were denied due to the alleged failure to complete citizenship documentation requirements, according to the ACLU of Kansas.

Greater Birmingham is a legal challenge to Alabama's voter photo identification law, according to the Campaign Legal Center.

Lopez-Aguilar is an Indiana case about the sheriff's department detaining someone without a probable cause warrant from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The California case challenges the state's sanctuary laws.

Nessel announced in late January that she had pulled Michigan from federal cases dealing with abortions and the separation of church and state (See "AG Pulls Michigan From 8 Federal Cases," 1/31/19).

Nessel also moved to intervene in a federal lawsuit defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is known as Obamacare. (See "Michigan Moves To Intervene In Federal ACA Case," 1/31/19.
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Hour 2 discussion today, Monday 2-4-19;
MIRS News Service

Gary Glenn: Consumers Energy Crisis Was Avoidable

The fall-out from the unexpected fire at a Consumers Energy pumping station that stopped the daily flow of 1.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day down to zero could have been avoided had the utility had a reliable back-up system to fall back on during the state's most brutal deep freeze since 1994.

That's the opinion of long-time utility critic and former House Energy Committee Chair Gary GLENN. He argues the Jackson company needs a "backup infrastructure and a redundant system" that would have negated the need to urge customers to lower thermostats to 65 degrees (See "Whitmer, Consumers Energy President: Please Turn Thermostats To 65," 1/30/19).

Consumers CEO Patti POPPE and Gov. Gretchen WHITMER asked all Lower Peninsula customers to comply with that request, which resulted in a 10 percent reduction in usage.

Poppe credited the voluntary reductions with helping the company restore power to its normal levels. Consumers may have been in a position of using rolling blackouts if it didn't have the inability to get enough natural gas to its customers.

Glenn said he believes Consumers has the least reliable system in the Great Lakes region. Citing a report done for his former Energy committee, Michigan and Minnesota have the most outages, but Michigan has 13 a year, which he contends is "double" the other states.

The utility reportedly did obtain more natural gas from the interstate pipeline and from other storage facilities in Northville and St. Clair.

The ex-GOP lawmaker demanded the utility use what he believes was $43 million spent on political commercials last year to beef up its infrastructure.

He told the Off the Record panel that part of the money the utility spent on negative ads against him cost him a Senate seat. He had a comfortable 8-point lead, but he saw it evaporate after those commercials hit the airwaves.

The Public Service Commission in a recent order, forced the company to halt such expenditures for now.

Consumers spokesperson Katie CAREY said the company faced an "unprecedented and unexpected emergency" because of the fire at its largest natural gas compressor station on the day before the state's coldest day since 1994.

"We have invested over $3.2 billion over the last 5 years to upgrade our infrastructure. However, we know that this week’s events have caused unease which is why we are already under way with a full investigation to help ensure this doesn’t happen again," she said.

Senate Wants Review Of Consumers After Fire, Too
Senate Energy and Technology Committee Chair Dan LAUWERS (R-Brockway) said today he wants to review the state's energy supply after a fire at a Consumers Energy facility Wednesday resulted in a statewide call for residents to turn down their thermostats to 65 degrees during the recent cold snap.

The fire at Consumers Energy's Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County resulted in all three of the facility's compressors being shut down. The facility handles a significant amount of the natural gas for the utility, and the shutdown reduced the amount of natural gas that could be delivered to customers from underground storage.

On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER asked the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to conduct a review of natural gas supply and delivery as well as electrical and propane supply and develop a contingency plan by July 1.
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1st half hour discussion today, Monday 2-4-19;
MIRS News Service

AG Pulls Michigan From 8 Federal Cases

Attorney General Dana NESSEL announced today that Michigan will withdraw from eight federal cases, including four dealing with abortions and three involving the separation of church and state.

In making the announcement, Nessel said: "As Michigan's Attorney General, I will not use this office to undermine some of the most important values in our state, including those involving reproductive rights and the separation of church and state."

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan agreed with the decision, tweeting: "Best possible use of the pull-out method."

Amanda WEST, director of government affairs for Planned Parenthood, said Michigan residents "finally have the ally they deserve."

"Women elected strong leaders like AG Nessel to protect our access to reproductive health care, and with today's actions, she is doing just that," West said. "We were fed up with our bodies being politicized and our rights being the first concession in any negotiation."

Genevieve MARNON, legislative director for Right to Life, said Nessel's decision isn't a surprise since she "made her opinion . . . extremely well known" throughout her campaign. She called Nessel's comment about what's "most important" in Michigan's values is "a matter of opinion, which I don't share."

"She has her specific set of agenda," Marnon said. "She removes us from limiting abortion and joins anything that helps her friends at Planned Parenthood, such as challenging the (Affordable Care Act) rules."

Nessel announced today that she, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and attorney generals from Colorado, Nevada and Iowa filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit that seeks to defend the ACA.

Three abortion-related cases are in the Sixth Circuit:

- EMW Women's Surgical Center v Glisson, concerns the constitutionality of a statute requiring abortion clinics to maintain written "transfer agreements" with a licensed acute care hospital and written "transport agreements" with a licensed ambulance service

- Pre-Term Cleveland v Himes, challenges Ohio's law that criminalizes performing an abortion if the person performing the abortion knows that one reason for the woman's decision to terminate the pregnancy is a fetal indication of Down syndrome

- Planned Parenthood of Ohio v. Himes, challenges a law that ensures funds received through non-abortion-related federal health programs aren't used to contract with entities that perform or promote nontherapeutic abortions.

The fourth case, Garza v. Azar, is in the District of Columbia Circuit Court. The suit is about an undocumented immigrant teen in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who seeks an abortion.

The three cases arguing the separation of church and state are:

- Freedom From Religion v. Lehigh, Lehigh, Pennsylvania, appeals a ruling that found a prominent cross in their county seal was unconstitutional.

- Gaylor v. Mnuchin challenges the constitutionality of Internal Revenue Code Section 107(2) -- commonly called the parsonage allowance -- that allows ministers to receive an untaxed cash housing allowance as part of their salaries.

- Barker v. Conroy deals is the constitutionality of the U.S. House of Representatives' guest chaplain policy that requires chaplains offering a prayer addressing a "higher power" to be ordained clergy.

Nessel, the state's first openly gay attorney general, also withdrew the state from Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management in the Eighth Circuit. That case, she said, would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Missouri resident Mark HORTON claimed Midwest discriminated against him when it rescinded a job offer after learning he was gay.

Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie SCOTT applauded Nessel's decision.

"Pulling out of these lawsuits is a great move for our state," Scott said in a statement. "Reproductive rights and freedom for all people are areas that need to be expanded and protected, and we're glad to see the attorney general standing up for those values."
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2 weeks ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd hour discussion today, Friday 2-1-19;

Click on the below link for the Crain's Business story;

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Hour 2, 1st half hour discussion today, Thursday 1-31-19; MIRS News Service

Whitmer, Consumers Energy President: Please Turn Thermostats To 65

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER is urging Consumers Energy natural gas customers, which is much of the Lower Peninsula, to turn down their thermostats to 65 degrees on Michigan's coldest night since 1996 in the face of a potential gas shortage Thursday. Whitmer asked people to keep their indoor heat at 65 degrees until noon Friday.

A morning fire at a "significant facility" in Macomb County is straining the system and Consumers President and CEO Patti POPPE is concerned about getting enough heat to hospitals, senior citizen homes and other facilities Thursday in the face of a second straight day of subzero temperatures.

Lansing's forecast for tonight is a low of -11 with a wind chill of -34.

Roughly 4.1 million Michiganders rely on Consumers Energy natural gas to heat their homes. This includes nearly all of mid-Michigan, the northern part of Metro Detroit and the tri-cities area around Saginaw, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

"You can play a role in helping people across the state survive these extreme temperatures," Whitmer said. "Please do. We’re calling on every Michigander to do your part and help us weather this storm together.”

Poppe said she's already convinced General Motors, Chrysler, Ford and "countless" other business to slow its production schedules in the face of the problem, but "it's not enough."

"No one can do everything, but everyone can do something and I need you to take action right now," Poppe said. "We are appealing to all Michiganders to consider reducing your thermostat as much as you can. It will make a difference."

The 10:33 a.m. fire at Consumers Energy's Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station was contained with no reported injuries. The cause is still under investigation. In the meantime, the compressor station has been shut down until safety and damage assessments are done.

Consumers is tapping into its emergency storage in Northville and St. Clair to help deliver natural gas, but the utility may be reaching "uncharted territory" and that demand may overwhelm what can be supplied. Contingency plans are being developed on what that might look like.
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1st half hour discussion Thursday, 1-31-19; MIRS News Service

Mackinac Island Going After State Over Line 5

The city of Mackinac Island is formally challenging two permits issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2018 to try to reduce the "risk of catastrophic damage" to the island posed by the 66-year old Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

Mackinac Island Mayor Margaret DOUD said residents were promised that Line 5 "would have a limited life span," but state officials have proposed to "extend the operation of the dual pipelines as much as another 10 years" rather than phasing it out.

"The city, people, and businesses have waited far too long," she said. "It is time to bring Line 5 under the rule of law and bring it to an orderly closure. Enough is enough."

The city's petition contests the DEQ's November decision to issue a permit for the installation of 48 saddle supports along the dual pipelines, as well as an application to intervene in an already pending contested case involving a similar permit for 22 such supports issued by the DEQ in May 2018, according to a press release issued today.

The city argues the anchor supports "significantly alters the structure and design" of the pipelines that the state originally approved in 1953.

By turning the pipelines into an underwater suspension bridge above the lakebed, these support structures increase the risk of an anchor strike hitting the pipeline, like the one that occurred in April 2018, the city alleges. (See "Line 5 Back Up After Being Down, Coast Guard Still Investigating," 4/16/18)

The Straits of Mackinac Alliance, a local citizens group, filed the existing contested case in the summer. (See "Bits And Tidbits New Coalition Challenges Enbridge's Anchor Permit," 5/22/18.)

A separate petition also was filed by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and combined into one administrative proceeding (See "State Approves 4 Anchors For Straits Pipe Holds Off On 18 Others," 10/3/16).
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 1-28-19;

Trump Seeks Chatfield Advice . . . Really?

"It was a neat experience. I can't lie."

Ya think?

That's the takeaway from an exclusive 12-minute con fab with President Donald TRUMP and the House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) earlier this week after Chatfield invited Trump to do his State of the Union address in the state House chambers.

Once the President graciously declined the offer, the chat moved onto something that might raise your eyebrows. The 72-year-old Trump was picking the brain of 30-year-old Chatfield on how to get along with the other side.

"I understand you have a Democratic governor," Trump began. "How are you able to work things out?" he wondered out loud, perhaps with shades of his nasty and very public verbal fisticuffs with U.S. House Speaker Nancy PELOSI and Senate Minority Leader SCHUMER still spinning in his head?

The Speaker did not tell the Off the Record panel his response, but he did say, "He was certainly asking how to do it."

To prove that it can be done, at this early stage, the bi-partisan thing at the state capitol is taking shape. The Speaker noted that he already trusts the Governor and "we have a great relationship . . . We got off on the right foot," while acknowledging what everybody knows, there will be times when he and she don't agree.

Back to the Trump conversation, it's a talk that almost did not happen.

It was not the Speaker's original idea to extend the SOTU overture to the White House. In fact, he was not sure he wanted to do it given the feeling that he knew what the response would be. But he pulled the trigger and came away from the phone conversation from the Oval office to the Speaker's office with this impression,

"It was a genuine interest in wanting to have further investment in the State of Michigan," he said.

The big loser in all this was perhaps the unnamed reporter who was interviewing Chatfield when the series of text messages flew back and forth between Lansing and Washington. The reporter had no idea that the President was going to be on the line. So, he left missing out on an exclusive that never was.

As for the Speaker, it is unclear if he pinched himself after the once-in-a-lifetime exchange with the leader of the free world.
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3rd hour discussion today, Friday 1-25-19; MIRS News Service

Civil Asset Forfeiture Bill First To Move In Session

Someone would have to be convicted of a crime before police could keep, through civil asset forfeiture, money or property seized during an investigation, under legislation that moved out of a Senate committee this morning.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0002, sponsored by Sen. Peter LUCIDO (R-Shelby Twp.), became the first bill reported out of a legislative committee in the 2019-2020 session after members took roughly 45 minutes of testimony on the matter.

The measure mirrors House-passed legislation that stalled in the Senate during last month's lame duck session (See "About 50/50 Custody And Other Bills That Died In The House Today," 12/12/18).

"SB 2 has already been voted on in the House," Lucido told his colleagues, in reference to last session's vote. "It was overwhelmingly a bipartisan-supported bill.

After the hearing, Lucido, chair of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, told reporters he saw no reason why the bill shouldn't move quickly on the Senate floor.

There was no testimony offered against the legislation, however, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police turned in a card opposing it. Support for the bill came from groups across the ideological spectrum -- including the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the ACLU, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the Bankers Association and the District Attorneys Association.

Sen. Tom BARRETT (R-Potterville) questioned why cash or property valued at $50,000 or more isn't treated the same way under Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0002 as smaller amounts are treated.

"I don't feel like, as of itself, having a large sum of money is a criminal act in this state and that alone shouldn't make you forfeit anything of your own," Barrett said.

Lucido asserted that the $50,000 threshold does not define when the property becomes subject to forfeiture, it defines when the police turn the situation over to the prosecutor, who then has to determine whether there's probable cause to believe a crime is involved.

Sen. Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake), who chaired the House Judiciary Committee last term where much of the work on the legislation took place, pointed out that between 80 and 90 percent of all forfeitures involve amounts below $50,000.

Sen. Curt VanderWALL (R-Ludington) asked what happens to someone's property if their case gets "plead down."

"You can still fight the asset forfeiture, however that plea can be used against you," Lucido said. "But if you talk with the police, they'll tell you that 99.9 percent of the time they'll work out the property as part of the plea disposition."

Sen. Jeff IRWIN (D-Ann Arbor) said, though he is in favor of the legislation, he'd prefer that it further reflected the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He then posed a hypothetical question.

"You spoke of folks out there who feel we can go even further – for the record, you can count me among them," Irwin said. "However, I appreciate the direction this is going. But how will this play out when we have something that's legal under state law, but federal law makes it illegal?"

He then asked if the State Police or the Macomb County Sheriff's Department could seize medical marijuana and destroy it based on the argument that it's an illegal substance under federal law.

In response, Lucido admitted that the legalities of the situation described by Irwin are open to debate.

"I'd like to see an Attorney General opinion, or that of a U.S. Attorney from the Eastern or Western district," Lucido said. "Nobody really knows what the federal government is going to do."

Waterford Township Police Chief Scott UNDERWOOD, who said he began his 35-year career as an undercover narcotics detective, testified in favor of the bill.

"Asset forfeiture has been a valuable tool in the fight against drugs for all of us," Underwood said. "I think we need to continue to be able to use that as police officers. We still need to seize property while we continue to negotiate, using the assets and pleas. I believe that those interests in this particular bill have been addressed."

Charles OWENS of National Federation of Independent Businesses-Michigan, also testified in favor of the legislation.

"Our members have made it clear that they want us to go further," Owens said. "We do support SB 2 as more progress toward resolving some of the outstanding concerns with this issue."

"Why does small business care about this issue?" Owens continued. "It's not unusual for small businesses to carry a lot of cash."

After the bill was reported out of committee, MIRS asked Lucido if he'd talked with Senate leadership about moving SB 2 quickly. He answered "yes," and then emphasized that the issue is also on solid ground in the House, where House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) has made asset forfeiture reform priority No. 1. (See "Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Is First Horse Out Of The Gate," 1/9/19).

"I talked to the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee [Rep. Graham FILLER (R-DeWitt)] last night, because it's the No.1 priority of the Speaker of the House, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside," Lucido said. "They have taken my initiative of interest and brought it right to the front."

Amber McCANN, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) told reporters that it has yet to be decided how soon SB 2 will be brought up on the Senate floor.
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 1-24-19; MIRS News Service, Lansing, MI

Senate Gives Shirkey Authority To Intervene In Redistricting Case

With a voice vote, the Senate today passed SR 6, which gives Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) the authority to engage counsel to file a motion on behalf of the Senate to intervene in League of Women Voters of Michigan et al v. Jocelyn Benson.

Senate Republicans want their interests represented in the court case and suspect Secretary of State Jocelyn BENSON doesn't have their best interests in mind now that she is pursuing a deal to settle the lawsuit (See "Benson Seeks Deal In Redistricting Suit; May Mean Redrawn Districts in 2020," 1/17/19.)

The voice vote on SR 6 seemed less than enthusiastic. But although the Republicans weren't particularly loud in calling out: "aye," they seemed more adamant than the Democrats did, when they voted "nay."

"If the bear and the raccoon choose to get together to decide how to divide up the forest . . . it only makes sense that the owl provide some wise input," Shirkey said.

One Senator's voice that wasn't heard taking the vote, was former Secretary of State and current Sen. Ruth JOHNSON (R- Holly), who officially abstained to avoid any question of a conflict of interest. The suit was originally filed with her as defendant -- in her role as Secretary of State.

Johnson told MIRS she preferred not to comment on either SR 6 or the lawsuit at this time.

Bill BALLENGER, editor of the Ballenger Report, offered a theory about the seemingly less than enthusiastic 'nay' votes coming from the Senate Democrats.

"That might be because some of the Democrats weren't exactly thrilled at the prospect of possibly having to run again in 2020, or not even being termed out in 2020 if they're currently serving their second term," Ballenger suggested, referring to the point he made in a recent article titled: "Jocelyn Benson To Legislative Democrats -- 'You've Got To Take One For The Team.'"

Ballenger's point is that if Benson's efforts result in requiring 2020 State Senate races, current senators would see the term they're serving halved; meaning Senators now in their second term would be ineligible to run. Among others, this would include: Shirkey, Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint), Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter MACGREGOR (R-Rockford), Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim STAMAS (R-Midland), Sen. Curtis HERTEL, Jr. (D-East Lansing), Sen. Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City), Sen. Dale ZORN (R-Ida), and Sen. Ken HORN (R- Frankenmuth), the sponsor of SR 6.

MIRS asked Ballenger if he was aware of anything in Michigan's political past that was on par with the situation now beginning to play out with Benson's approach to the lawsuit.

"Absolutely not," Ballenger said. "There hasn't been anything like this. The closest thing I can think of, and it wasn't anything nearly as weird as this, was in 1961-62, when the Democrats and Republicans couldn't agree on how to draw the state's new 19th Congressional District. Yeah, that was way back when we were actually gaining districts.

"Well, they were running out of time, so the court made them use the previous 18 districts and had the new 19th District congressional race decided by a statewide vote," Ballenger continued. "The winner was Neil STABLER of Ann Arbor, and he did so well statewide that the Democrats ran him against then-Governor George ROMNEY in 1964. But Romney clobbered him, despite the fact that the Democrats and LBJ won just about everything else there was that year."

Ballenger said the courts also made Michigan redraw its congressional districts in 1964 to comply with the so-called "one man-one vote" principle. But neither the 19th district snafu in 1962 nor the 1964 map changes come close to what's happening under Benson.

"This is just crazy," Ballenger said. "These districts have been uncontested by the Democrats since 2011. It's obvious what should be done. Let the new commission draw the next maps. That will be tough enough. Jocelyn Benson may be a law school dean but she's totally unfamiliar with the Michigan Constitution."
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-23-19; MIRS NEWS Service, Lansing, MI;

Leaving office, Gov. Rick Snyder's MSU Board Pick Gave $4K To Whitmer, $2,500 To Benson

Michigan Republicans are grumbling behind the scenes about how Gov. Rick SNYDER's Michigan State University (MSU) trustee appointment is a Democrat who helped push the party's former leader, ex-Gov. John ENGLER, out of a job.

Nancy SCHLICHTING does not wear her partisan credentials on sleeve. Her calling card is that she was the president and CEO of Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital who turned around, for the better, a health system that was $90 million in the hole when she took over.

The published author's professional accolades and other board positions are numerous.

But Schlichting is an admitted Democrat who supported Engler's removal as interim MSU president as one of her first actions on the board (See "Engler Resigns As MSU President In Face Of Removal," 1/16/19). That isn't setting well with Republican activists, according to numerous sources.

"That's offensive to a Republican Spartan from a barely Republican Wolverine," said Republican strategist Greg McNEILLY about the action by Snyder, a University of Michigan graduate.

Schlichting gave $4,000 to now-Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's campaign in the 2018 campaign and another $2,500 to now-Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn BENSON.

Schlichting donated $3,300 to former Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM back in the day. Combined, she's given $13,800 to Democratic candidates compared to $2,950 to Republican candidates, based on campaign finance records.

According to data compiled by Practical Political Consultants' Mark GREBNER, Schlichting voted Democratic in the 2016 presidential primary and signed the Voters Not Politicians petitions. Over the past 10 years, she has signed the nominating petitions of seven Democratic candidates and four Republican candidates.

In interviews with some media outlets, Schlichting has conceded that she is a Democrat, which Grebner said the election-related activities of she and her household would back up.

"My model says that given an evenly matched pair of candidates, there's an 85 percent chance she'll choose the Dem," he said. "That's not what I'd call a 'strong Democrat,' but more like a Dem-leaning independent."

Unlike Snyder's other appointments to college boards, his lone appointment to replace former retiring Democratic Trustee George PERLES comes with a political label. If she chooses, Schlichting could run in 2022. If she wants to seek the nomination, current Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Brandon DILLON said he doesn't see any reason why she wouldn't get a nod from Dem delegates . . . particularly after she was among the board members who pushed out Engler.
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4 weeks ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” Monday 1-21-19;

Lansing policies have got to change, to fix what is wrong with our Great State!!!


The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 1-21-19; MIRS News Service

Former Sen. Jack Brandenburg Shooting For 239 Pounds

So what do former senators, who chaired the finance committee for example, do now that they no longer have a shot at eliminating the state income tax?

Answer: They work out every other day on the elliptical contraption with a goal of getting their weight down from 245 to 239.

"I want to get it below that 240 mark," laughed ex-Macomb County lawmaker and ex-football player Jack BRANDENBURG. His record is climbing 12.6 miles in 65 minutes "and after that I was dead and slept very well."

"It was six of one kind, half a dozen of the other" on leaving the legislature, he added.

“I didn't want to go. But it's nice to work on my schedule," Brandenburg reported from his retirement digs in Harrison Township. "I do miss the action. I loved walking onto the Senate floor every day and being ready for anything. I liked to play the game and score some points," he laughed again.

One of the touchdowns he could not score was his ill-fated effort to wipe out the state income tax. He labored long and hard with other like-minded conservative anti-taxers in the upper chamber but in the end, he couldn't get it by former Gov. Rick SNYDER.

He revealed the best he hoped for was a tax shift whereby the income tax would go bye-bye only to be replaced by about a 10 percent sales tax. He trotted out the argument he made as a senator.

"From 2006 to 2016, Michigan had 44,000 new people move here. Texas had 2.7 million and it has no income tax," he said.

Despite his hours working this thing behind the scenes, he still thinks, "it could have been done" were it not for the Governor and state Treasurer, who told him in no uncertain terms that they would not cut the budget. And even though Snyder did not telegraph veto threats, Brandenburg reported the Governor broke the rule on this one.

"I'm glad to be home," he reflected and recounts a conversation he had with his bride the other night, "Are you tired of having me around so much?" he cautiously inquired.

"You are not driving me crazy, yet," she revealed.

But for the next two months, he may get a chance to do that as he and she are heading to Naples, Florida, for his first-ever elongated break from the daily grind. "The most time I ever took off was three weeks," he recounted.

"I'm healthy, enjoying life and will help my son run the business, but I won't get in his way," which is a departure from what he did in the legislature. He was not bashful about getting his towering body in the way of those who stood in the way of advancing his agenda.

And as one wag put it, "if ever you were in a bar fight, you'd want Jack on your side." Not that they do any drinking or fighting in Macomb County.
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4 weeks ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” Wednesday 1-16-19;
“Reforming Michigan’s No-Fault Car Insurance”


The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 1-8-19;

So, based on this law, how are people getting elected and being sworn in on Korans, let alone being allowed into America???!!!
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1 month ago

Your Defending Fathers

We LOST POWER at our Studio, try back later,...Thanks Everybody!!! ... See MoreSee Less

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2nd hour discussion today, Monday, 1-7-19;

I will be attending this event on Saturday, and will be giving a "Field Report" on Monday;
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 12-31-18;
MIRS News Service

Snyder Vetoes 42 Bills - Nonprofit Donor Shield, and
Any Suit Any Time Go Down

While Gov. Rick SNYDER's last day in office involved a lot of bill signing, he also vetoed 25 pieces of legislation ranging from lifting the sunset on a telemedicine ban to expanding online gaming.

A big question going into and coming out of this year's mammoth Lame Duck was, 'just what would Snyder sign' among a series of bills that Democrats complained were an over-reach on the part of GOP lawmakers.

Snyder never had to decide on a Campaign Finance Commission, but one bill that did advance and get a veto was Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6553, sponsored by Rep. Rob VERHEULEN (R-Walker). The bill would give the legislature automatic standing in any case challenging the validity or constitutionality of a legislative action a move Democrats saw as a stab at incoming Democratic Attorney General-elect Dana NESSEL (See "'Any Suit, Any Time' For Legislative Legal Action Going To Governor," 12/20/2018).

"We are grateful to Gov. Snyder for demonstrating his integrity and commitment to upholding the Michigan Constitution,” said Nessel, reacting to the news.

In his veto letter, Snyder wrote he believes the current process has worked well to ensure the Legislature's position is considered. He also argued that had the law been in place during his tenure, it would have limited his office's ability to coordinate and manage the defense of the state in lawsuits.

Legislation that would have prevented the secretary of state or any other government entity to force nonprofits to disclose donor information was also rejected by Snyder. In vetoing Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1176 sponsored by Sen. Mike SHIRKEY's (R-Clarklake), the governor wrote that the "broad prohibitions in this bill will impair the executive branch's ability to protect donors." In addition, he wrote that he believes the bill is a solution in search of a problem.

Also rejected was Shirkey's Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0822 that would have required a memorandum of understanding between the state and another party to be in effect only for the term of the particular governor who signed the agreement. Snyder wrote in his veto letter that while the "aim of the legislation appears to be a noble purpose, which is transparency, it also has the potential to lead to more routine legislative encroachment into regulating the activity of future governors."

At least one veto, that of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0035, the charitable gaming law pushed by Sen. Rick JONES (R-Grand Ledge), earned a strong reaction from the sponsor.

"After his veto of this common sense bill, Gov. Snyder has shown he is the King of the Grinches. Keep the big casinos happy and harm the little charities," said Jones. "Bah Humbug on you Mr. Nerd! Go back to Ann Arbor!" Incoming House Speaker Lee [CHATFIELD] (R-Levering) expressed disappointment with the bills Snyder rejected. "Our state has vastly improved under Gov. Snyder's tenure, but I'm incredibly disappointed by the many vetoes today," Chatfield posted on Twitter. "Important work by the Legislature was left undone, but I'm proud of my colleagues for standing tall and evaluating bills, on merit, despite political pressure."

Other vetoed bills included:

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0035, sponsored by state Sen. Rick JONES (R-Grand Ledge), would have provided for general amendments to bingo and charitable gaming millionaire parties. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that this legislation would undermine the work the Michigan Gaming Control Board has done over the past six years and return millionaire parties to an underregulated market ripe with potential for fraud and abuse.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0100 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0101, sponsored by Sen. Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba) and Robertson, that would have removed certain restrictions on recovery costs and fees in action involving the state and exempts parole hearings from the administrative procedures act. In vetoing the bills, Snyder wrote they could create legal uncertainty considering they contain substantially justifiable standard coupled with a clear and convincing standard, which neither federal law nor other state laws contain.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0304, sponsored by state Sen. Joe HUNE (R-Gregory), would have removed the sunset on the cap of 50 cents per cigar tax. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that it is appropriate to maintain the current expectation for expiration of the cap on October 1, 2021 and return the tax to 32 percent of the wholesale price.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0362, sponsored by Sen. Darwin BOOHER (R-Evart) would have amended the Financial Institution Tax Act to revise the apportionment formula for a financial institution with respect to gross business attributable to the foreign business of a controlled foreign corporation. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that the legislation represents a significant departure from the tax policy practices that have allowed Michigan to return to solid financial footing.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0721, sponsored by Booher which would have amended law pertaining to sand dunes protection and management. Snyder said he vetoed the bill because allowing large-scale contour changes proposed by the legislation is not protective to the dune ecosystem. Further, it would provide opportunities to degrade, erode and destabilize critical dunes.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1249, sponsored by Sen. Dave ROBERTSON (R-Grand Blanc), would have changed the statute of limitations for campaign finance violations to five years. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that the Code of Criminal Procedure currently provides that an indictment may be filed within six years of a crime being committed. Shortening the statute of limitations to five years results in minimal to no functional change.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1040, sponsored by Sen. Hoon-Yung [HOPGOOD] (D-Taylor), would have expanded the definition of historical vehicles to include certain military surplus vehicles. Snyder wrote in his veto letter that vehicles which were never manufactured or intended for on-road passenger use could be registered and permitted on public streets and roads and he doesn't believe that's appropriate.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1170, sponsored by state Sen. Dave HILDENBRAND (R-Lowell), would have allowed certain taxpayers who are members of a flow-through entity to claim a corporate income tax credit. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that this substantial change to the state tax code was passed in a short period of time and that the implementation of a brand-new tax in such a limited time is inappropriate given the significance of such a change, and the risk of IRS action.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1097, sponsored by state Sen. Jack BRANDENBURG (R-Harrison Twp.), would have decoupled state interest expense deductions from federal limitations. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that the bill proposed amendments in a manner inconsistent with the sound budgetary practices this administration has followed during the past eight years.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1198, sponsored by Casperson, would have removed the sunset on the prohibition of telemedicine examination prior to a physician diagnosing and prescribing a medical abortion. In rejecting the bill, Snyder said providing patients with the ability to remotely receive safe and proper medical care, at a time-sensitive period for the patient, is significant.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4081, sponsored by state Rep. Tom BARRETT (R-Charlotte), would have provided for general amendments to bingo and charitable gaming millionaire parties. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that this legislation would undermine the work the Michigan Gaming Control Board has done over the past six years and return millionaire parties to an underregulated market ripe with potential for fraud and abuse.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4611, sponsored by Rep. Dan LAUWERS (R-Brockway), would have amended the Horse Racing Law of 1995. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that this bill was tie-barred to Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4926 which he previously vetoed and therefore it cannot take effect.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4926, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4927 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4928, sponsored by state Reps. Brandt IDEN (R-Kalmazoo) and Klint KESTO (R-Walled Lake), would have allowed and regulated internet gaming, and enacted guidelines for violation of the lawful internet gaming act. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that he is vetoing these bills largely due to unknown revenue implications and believes more study and comparison with other states is necessary before authorizing online gambling.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5143 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5680, sponsored Barrett by which would have modified the exemption for alternative energy personal property and excluded placement of solar panels on residential real property from assessment of true case value. In rejecting the bills, Snyder said Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5143 included several technical issues it failed to resolve including differential treatment based on the effective date of the bill. Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5680 was rejected because it was tie-barred.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5634, sponsored by Rep. Julie ALEXANDER (R-Hanover) would have eliminated prohibitions on window tinting and obstruction of a driver's vision. In rejecting the bill, Snyder wrote that the changes would have increased the risk of harm to law enforcement personnel, particularly when approaching a vehicle during a traffic stop.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5881, sponsored by Iden, would have provided for general amendments to the Michigan gaming control and revenue act. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that since this bill was tie-barred to Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4926, which he previously vetoed, this bill cannot take effect.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5916 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5917, sponsored by Rep. Hank VAUPEL (R-Fowlerville), that would have clarified pet shop regulations in the sale of dogs and prohibited local governments from enacting or enforcing an ordinance, policy, resolution or rule regulating a qualified pet shot. In rejecting the bills, Snyder said he had concerns they would have addressed are manifestly local in nature and local officials should be afforded the discretion to address them.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6205, sponsored by Lauwers, which would have modified the Animal Industry Act. In rejecting the bill, Snyder said the language was added at the last-minute that was already vetoed in Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0660, so he rejected Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6205 for the same reasons.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6206, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6207, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6208, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6209, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6210, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6211, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6212, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6213, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6214 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6216 which would have modified the Animal Industry Act and were tied barred to Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6205, which was vetoed, went down with 6205.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6420, sponsored by Iden, would have created the fantasy contests consumer protection act to regulate betting on fantasy sports in Michigan. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that he does not believe this legislation would accomplish positive results for Michigan and therefore is returning it for approval.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6485, sponsored by state Rep. Triston COLE (R-Mancelona), would have clarified exemptions of income and expenses of producing oil and gas. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that tax reforms in recent years have sought to eliminate tax deductions and loopholes that resulted in unfair benefit for some taxpayers. This bill would run contrary to that objective.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6499, sponsored by Rep. John REILLY (R-Oakland) would have increased the number of children receiving care at certain child care institutions. In rejecting the bill, Snyder wrote that increasing the capacity and concentration of fostered youths would negatively impact the goals of providing foster youth care.

- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6549 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6550, sponsored by Rep. Bronna KAHLE (R-Adrian) would have exempted certain aviation equipment from sales tax and use tax. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote he rejected identical language on Oct. 16 of this year, and is therefore rejecting the second go around.
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 12-27-18;


Trumps make SECOND stop to visit U.S. troops in Germany
President Trump and Melania made their second unannounced visit to US troops abroad around 8pm ET as they visited troops on the German base of Ramstein.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” Monday 12-24-18;

Monday Morning Quarterback - Sen. Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and the final numbers of the Lame Duck Session - 2018!!!


The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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3rd hour discussion today, (Last day of the "Lame Duck Session - 2018") Thursday 12-20-18 MIRS News Service;

On The 12th Day Of Lame Duck, Lawmakers Gave To Us . . .

On Thursday, Lansing dives into, presumably, the final day of Michigan's longest lame duck session with so many balls in the air it could all end in a spectacular show of productivity, a colossal collapse or anything in-between.

Day 12 begins in the aftermath of Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-Grand Haven Twp.) lighting up House leadership in private for Rep. Aaron MILLER (R-Sturgis) publicly sticking a fork in the Meekhof-supported campaign finance commission (See "Campaign Finance Commish, Prop 2 Bills Dead In House," 12/18/18).

Under a different set of circumstances, the House flushing the Sen. Dave ROBERTSON (R-Grand Blanc) "Fair Political Practices Commission" in public fashion (as opposed to let it die quietly on lame duck's last day) would be grounds for Meekhof to play hardball. He could, at a minimum, hold up bills or go nuclear -- abruptly adjourn the Senate sine die, essentially killing dozens of pieces of legislation.

While Lansing has seen both scenarios play out before, neither is happening this time. The reason? Meekhof has as much reason to stick in town as Leonard. It is mutually assured destruction time for both of them. An enormous supplemental need passing before year's end, less (in their minds) Gov.-elect Gretchen WHITMER enters office with at least $371 million in General Fund money to spend.

Tens of millions of dollars in projects are suspected to have been promised to Republicans who reluctantly agreed to support the coming A-F grading scale for schools, one of Gov. Rick SNYDER's top priorities.

In that respect, Meekhof and Leonard find themselves like the dysfunctional family hopelessly snowed into a cabin together. They're trying real hard to play nice, passing the time away by passing bills to keep their fellow family members . . . ur . . . legislators happy until the plow truck comes . . . ur . . . the supplemental is ready.

With that backdrop, here is the update on some of the more outstanding controversial issues.

- Gaming package. The Senate is close to wrapping up an all-encompassing gaming expansion plan that creates regulated fantasy sports, internet gaming, horse track simulcasting and looser charitable gaming rules.

The problem is the city of Detroit wants a 55 percent cut of whatever tax money the Detroit casinos collect from internet gambling, which is the same percentage they get under the brick-and-mortar tax structure. The Senate wants to cut that percentage to 15 percent because the people playing the games are not playing in the city of Detroit like they do when they drive to Motown to visit MGM, MotorCity or Greektown.

Meekhof has made it clear that this is an all-or-nothing deal. All of the gambling interest sink or swim together and the longer the standoff goes on the more water this package takes on.

Wayfair Money For Environmental Cleanup, Roads. The good news is the Wayfair decision from June meant more internet sales tax money for Michigan. The bad news is steering that money to somewhere other than the schools comes with constitutional problems.

Snyder agreed with the Senate Republicans that he's willing to use this revenue stream to cleanup brownfields and contaminated properties, but they also want to use some of it for roads. But when the constitution directs 73 percent of all sales tax money to the School Aid Fund how does that work?

The Senate and Snyder have a vehicle bill in Rep. Martin HOWRYLAK's Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4991 they can play around with, but for now, figuring out how this is going to work has become a fiscal Rubik's cube.

No-Fault Resurrection Taking On Water. Developer Dan GILBERT's proposed compromise on auto no-fault may be a great idea, but a growing number of House members simply don't want to deal with an issue this large with dozens of other bills flying around.

Combining personal injury protection choice and a hospital fee schedule with the elimination of some insurance rating factors may be a good idea, but returning members are inclined to "workgroup it" or bring it back in January for a thorough vetting.

Any Suit, Any Time. Meekhof could hold up the Rep. Rob VERHEULEN (R-Walker) bill that gives the legislature automatic legal standing when bills it has passed are being questioned in court. Arguably, he could hold it hostage in retaliation for the election commission dying.

But Meekhof wants Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 6553 as much as anybody so future lawmakers have some leverage if Attorney General-Elect Dana NESSEL makes half-hearted defenses of laws he's passionate about.

Tree Bill Hasn't Been Chopped To Bits, Yet
The House Republican caucus is expected Thursday to bring up the Sen. Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba) bills that prohibit a local unit of government from adopting or enforcing ordinances that restrict cutting any vegetation other than a heritage tree.

The House Local Government Committee initially took a pass on Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1188, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1189, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1190, 1191, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1192, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1193 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1194 out of concern of making statewide policy in response to a situation in Canton Township where a pair of brothers face $450,000 in fees for clear-cutting 1,400 trees off their land (See "Tree Ordinance Pre-Emption Bills Hit A Buzzsaw In House Committee," 12/11/18).

But the impacted brothers are claiming Canton Township is not abiding by the same rules when they are developing property and that little guys, like them, are getting the short end of the stick.

If there's renewed interest among Republican caucus members, this one could make a return. They are on the agenda for possible action.

Tying Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SJR O To Passport Opt-Out?
A constitutional amendment proposal to steer more oil and gas revenue to local and state park improvements instead of land and development purchases cleared the House Appropriations Committee today, but some Democrats want to link the package to the Senate-passed parks passport opt-out bills (See "Senate Action: Recreational Passport Fee Made An Opt-Out," 12/13/18).

On its own, members seemed inclined to support putting Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SJR O on the ballot. It would rearrange how officials could spend the oil, gas and mineral revenue that goes into the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund (MSPEF) above $800 million (See "Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SJR O Heads Toward Uncertain Future in House," 5/16/18).

In basic terms, House members see value in doing more to fix up parks property it purchases before going out and buying more land. The issue is that the House needs two-thirds support to put Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SJR O on the ballot so they need some Democrats.

Republicans may have the 74 votes, but the Ds are trying to hold together for the opt-out language on the $11 vehicle tab addition that some drivers current opt-in to purchase so they don't need to pay state park entrance fees.

They argue that making drivers opt-out of the $11 parks passport as opposed to opting-in brings more money into the system. Republican members sniff a tax increase though, and aren't enthusiastic about creating the linkage, to say the least.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers”, Tuesday 12-18-18;

NOW,...the MI Republicans are going to pass reforms to our (highest cost in America) no fault auto insurance,...after they lost the Nov. 6th elections,...just so the Democrat Gov. elect - Gretchen Whitmer doesn't do it and gets the credit for it in 2019!!!


The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1st hour discussion, Monday 12-17-18;
MIRS News Service

Gov Signs Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage Changes

Gov. Rick SNYDER today signed into law changes to the minimum wage and paid sick leave initiatives favored by the GOP Legislature and the business community.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1171, sponsored by Sen. Dave HILDENBRAND (R-Lowell), changes the minimum wage proposal by having it go to $12.05 by 2030, rather than the originally proposed $12 by 2022.

It also keeps the tip credit and raises the minimum wage for tipped workers to $4.58 by 2030. The citizens' initiative would've thrown out the tip credit and eventually raise tipped workers' wages to the same level as the regular minimum wage.

The Hildenbrand bill also ends the future minimum wage increases being tied to increases in the consumer price index (CPI), meaning the law provides for no increases to the wage after 2030 (See "Senate Bill Hikes Minimum Wage To $12 By 2030, Then Leaves It There," 11/28/18).

And Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1175, sponsored by Sen. Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake), workers could earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time each year, and workers could earn one hour of paid leave for every 35 hours worked. Both of those changes came from the House, which tweaked the Senate proposal (See "House Further Revises, Then Passes Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage Bills," 12/4/18).

In the original paid sick leave proposal, workers could earn 72 hours of sick leave in a year, and an hour for every 30 hours worked.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1175 exempts the requirement to provide paid sick leave from businesses with 50 or fewer employees, and allows employees to begin accruing and using hours toward sick leave immediately upon the effective date of the law, except for new employees, who must wait 90 days.

The Mi Time to Care campaign – the proponents behind the paid sick leave proposal – protested the small business exemption, arguing nearly 40 percent (or 2 million) of Michigan workers work in businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1175 also nixed references to "domestic partner" throughout the proposal, which the House Fiscal Agency (HFA) said is defined as an adult in a "committed relationship" that would also include same-sex relationships. It also says people can't use paid sick leave to take care of a domestic partner's relatives, according to the HFA.

Both bills went through the House and Senate on largely party-line votes.

The changes to the paid sick leave and minimum wage proposals were favored by business groups, who said the proposals as written would be harmful for the economy and job providers.

"Without these changes, these laws as adopted would have had a negative impact on employee/employer relations and would have taken an economic wrecking ball to Michigan's overall competitiveness," said Rich STUDLEY, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, in a statement.

"Every server I've met throughout the last couple of months didn't want the tip credit removed," said Scott ELLIS, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA), in a statement. "Most servers make much more than $12 an hour and the language in the ballot proposal would have been unfavorable for them in the long-run."

The Governor said the original proposals were "well-intentioned" but would have resulted in "cost and compliance burdens for job providers that could have negatively impacted employment in Michigan."

Snyder said the paid sick leave bill offers "the majority of workers" paid leave of up to a week off work, one of 11 states that provide such a benefit, according to Snyder's office. On minimum wage, the bill would help keep Michigan in the top third of states nationally.

But supporters of the initiatives protested the changes, arguing it would gut the original intent of the policies and undermine the will of the people who signed the petitions.

"For the people of Michigan, the gutting of earned paid sick time and the minimum wage is personal to them and their families," said DeWayne WELLS, executive director of the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan (EJAM).

"A literal cloud hangs over the Capitol today to match the figurative cloud of shame that Gov. Snyder brought on by signing these bills," said Gilda JACOBS, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), in a statement.

Progress Michigan said Snyder's signing "cements his legacy as a governor who cares nothing about hardworking Michiganders."

The EJAM issued poll results today that show 84 percent of Michigan voters supported the paid sick leave as passed by the Legislature in September, and another 77 percent supported the original minimum wage proposal.

The poll, conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group, also said 74 percent of voters would be less favorable toward a legislator who changed their vote and decided to "repeal the paid sick leave policy," according to the polling memo.

For minimum wage, 71 percent of independents said they'd be less favorable to a lawmaker who voted to "repeal the new minimum wage law," as the memo puts it.

The poll consisted of 1,406 interviews with registered Michigan voters between Nov. 26 and Dec. 6, with a margin of error of 2.6 percent.

The Legislature approved the two ballot proposals in September, rather than let them go to the November ballot, with the intention of coming back to change them (See "House, Senate Pass Paid Sick Leave, $12 Minimum Wage," 9/5/18).

While critics contended that approving and amending a ballot proposal in the same session was unconstitutional, Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE issued an opinion, as requested by Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-Grand Haven Twp.), saying it is constitutional (See "AG: Legislature Can Amend Citizens' Initiatives," 12/4/18).

The paid sick leave group has threatened to bring legal action or run another ballot proposal campaign in 2020 (See "Paid Sick Leave Proponents: Negotiate With Us Or We Do This Again In '20," 12/3/18).
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers”, Friday 12-14-18;

Recited most of the 68 bills' titles that were passed in Lansing this week!!!


The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1st half hour today, Thursday 12-13-18; MIRS News Service

As Republicans Pass 'No Stricter' Bill, Allor Pulls Her Co-Sponsorship

Rep. Triston COLE (R-Mancelona) says his so-called "no stricter than federal" legislation does not stop the state from adopting more stringent rules and is really about transparency, forcing department directors to explain to lawmakers why they want to exceed federal standards.

And enough of his Republican colleagues agreed with him today to send it off to the Governor for a signature. They voted 57-51 to pass Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4205.

But Rep. Sue ALLOR (R-Wolverine), originally a co-sponsor, not only voted against the bill, but asked her name be taken off the legislation. She said poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are her main concern.

"At the time I did agree with the basic premise of the bill, but as time has gone on and there has been more information come out with regards to contamination and contamination concerns, PFAS, not being able to get solid answers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)," Allor said. ". . . When you look at EPA standards, they are set for across the country." She said she wants the state to be very specific to the situation in Michigan and not be tied to a generic one that is for the whole country.

The bill would prohibit a state agency from promulgating a rule, except an emergency rule, that is stricter than the applicable federal standard unless the agency director determines there is "a clear and convincing need to exceed" that federal standard (See "House Starts, Then Stops Debate On 'No stricter Than Federal'," 12/6/18).

The director would have to put those reasons in writing and submit the explanation to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), Cole said.

"Right now, we have unelected bureaucrats placing rules that have the power of law that circumvent elected officials like myself and the rest of my colleagues. This offers some transparency about why they are making these rules that would take us introducing legislation to end. So this helps stabilize the regulatory side of things to continue making Michigan the best place for businesses to operate," he said.

He also noted that the bill would apply to all manner of rules, like workplace safety rules, not just environmental standards.

"This would push the departments to offer their reasoning, not just offer up what the rule should be. This forces them to put a justification to it, again transparency for why they are pushing the regulation they are pushing," Cole said.

Cole said the bill would "empower" elected officials.

Rep. Abdullah HAMMOUD (D-Dearborn) argued on the floor before the vote that it would do the opposite. He contended the legislation would be elected state legislators ceding control to the federal government.

Whether Gov. Rick SNYDER will sign the bill is not clear. He has previously vetoed such legislation, but Cole said he worked with the administration to address its concerns about the bill. He said wording was adjusted in several places to address those concerns.

But he stopped short of predicting whether Snyder would sign and the Governor's office has not stated a position on this latest version of the bill, yet.

Only Republicans voted in support.

Republicans joining Democrats in dissent included Allor, Reps. Martin HOWRYLAK (R-Troy), Larry INMAN (R-Williamsburg), David MATUREN (R-Vicksburg), Dave PAGEL (R-Berrien Springs) and Scott VANSINGEL (R-Grant).

Rep. Sherry GAY-DAGNOGO (D-Detroit) and Rep. Bettie Cook SCOTT (D-Detroit) were absent.
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1st hour discussion, Wednesday 12-12-18; MIRS News Service

Line 5 Tunnel Bill Shoveled Onto Gov's Desk

The Legislature today sent Gov. Rick SNYDER a bill paving the way for a new state authority to oversee an underground tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac as a replacement for Line 5.

Shortly after burrowing up from a House committee today, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1197 passed the House on a 74-34 vote, with several Democrats crossing over to support it. It was concurred by the Senate shortly after on a 25-12 vote and shipped off to the Governor's desk.

Snyder today said he looks forward to receiving that bill sponsored by Sen. Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba), and that appointments to the proposed Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority would come "fairly soon."

In the Senate, Sens. Joe HUNE (R-Fowlerville), Rick JONES (R-Grand Ledge) and Tonya SCHUITMAKER (R-Lawton) voted no and Sen. Adam HOLLIER (D-Detroit) joined most Republicans in voting yes.

House Democrats crossing over to join Republicans in supporting Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1197 were Reps. Wendell BYRD (D-Detroit), Sara CAMBENSY (D-Marquette), John CHIRKUN (D-Roseville), Scott DIANDA (D-Calumet), Fred DURHAL III (D-Detroit), Brian ELDER (D-Bay City), LaTanya GARRETT (D-Detroit), Patrick GREEN (D-Warren), Jewell JONES (D-Inkster), Robert KOSOWSKI (D-Westland), Leslie LOVE (D-Oak Park), Phil PHELPS (D-Flushing), Terry SABO (D-Muskegon) and Tenisha YANCEY (D-Grosse Pointe).

Republicans who voted no along with Democrats were Reps. Sue ALLOR (R-Wolverine), Larry INMAN (R-Williamsburg) and Jeff YAROCH (R-Richmond). Reps. Sherry GAY-DAGNOGO (D-Detroit) and Bettie Cook SCOTT (D-Detroit) did not vote.

While the bill creates a new Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority to oversee the proposed tunnel -- subject to an agreement between the state and Enbridge currently being negotiated -- it first gives that authority to the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) with the idea it would transfer that power to the new tunnel authority once Snyder appoints its three members.

Earlier this morning, the House Government Operations Committee, chaired by House Speaker Pro Tem Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering), moved Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1197 to the House floor, with committee Democrats House Minority Leader Sam SINGH (D-East Lansing) and Rep. Christine GREIG (D-Farmington Hills) passing on the vote.

Democrats won one amendment from Singh in committee, which provided the proposed tunnel agreement ensures the MBA is reimbursed for any loss of profit from the leasing of space in the tunnel to data and telecommunications transmission lines.

Former MBA Chair and Republican Bill GNODTKE during committee expressed concerns over whether the new tunnel would compete with the MBA on fiber services, as the MBA nets more than $500,000 in fiber leases each year.

An amendment offered by Cambensy and adopted on the House floor would require the proposed tunnel agreement to have a plan for engaging "this state's labor pool in the project."

Other Democratic amendments -- like putting a five-year end date on decommissioning Line 5, removing the requirement that the Attorney General pay for outside counsel if it doesn't represent the authority in litigation, and paying tunnel workers the prevailing wage – were all rejected, both on the House floor and earlier today in committee.

But the Oil & Water Don't Mix Coalition warned that legal challenges to the bill are "near-certain" if Snyder signs the bill. Liz KIRKWOOD, executive director of For Love of Water (FLOW), said during committee today she believes there's a title-object constitutional issue with the bill (See "Constitutionality Of Mackinac Tunnel Legislation Could Be Issue," 12/10/18).

Snyder today was asked if he was concerned if the Line 5 bill would go to court, to which he replied, "many things go to court" and that "we do what we do best and assume we're doing it on a legal basis."

Asked if he's drafted an "unconstitutional proposal," the Governor replied, "I think you are leading the question on that one, and I'll just let that go. I think we wouldn't be doing it if we didn't think we had grounds for what we're doing."

Democrats, environmental groups and activists raised other issues with the legislation. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters, in a statement today, called the bill an "irresponsible and dangerous proposal" that was "jammed through the Legislature at the 11th hour."

They claimed it "imperils our water by keeping oil pumping through the damaged Line 5 Pipeline for another decade or more."

Singh, on the House floor, said the legislation contained no hard date by when the current Line 5 would be decommissioned, nor did it have the protections for taxpayers he wanted to see or job opportunities for northern Michigan residents on the project.

During committee, when Singh mentioned his concern with the bill not actually calling for the decommissioning of the current Line 5, Keith CREAGH, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said the expected third agreement, which is still under negotiation, would provide specific milestones for completing the tunnel.

Creagh said current talks involve instituting economic "incentives" and "penalties" to ensure the tunnel is completed, or to have "cash reserves" to make sure the tunnel is completed. He also said a prior agreement between the state and Enbridge called for permanent deactivation of the current Line 5 pipelines once the tunnel is in place.

Yet Chatfield spoke in favor of the bill, saying it wasn't a Democratic or Republican issue and that it's an issue that should concern the whole state. He thanked Snyder for getting Enbridge to the table and said this was the right solution.

Dianda said in a statement today, "This plan provides certainty to northern Michigan families that their home heating costs will stay low, while also making sure our Great Lakes are preserved for future generations."

Earlier today in committee, Gnodtke went through a number of lines in the bill he saw as problematic. He and current MBA Democratic member Barbara BROWN urged the committee to instead draft up a separate statute that would create the tunnel authority. Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1197 amends the law that enabled the MBA to build the Mackinac Bridge.

Greig expressed concerns about the timeline provided in the bill -- the tunnel authority would enter into an agreement by Dec. 31, provided the administration presents a plan to the authority by Dec. 21.

According to the House Fiscal Agency (HFA) report, even if Snyder didn't meet that deadline, the Straits Corridor Authority would still need to act on a proposed agreement within 45 days after one is presented.

There were also concerns raised about the costs for taxpayers. While the bill requires the tunnel agreement provides that the private party pay to build the tunnel, the Attorney General would need to pay for counsel chosen by either the MBA or the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority if the AG declined to represent either body in a matter related to the tunnel.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

Mr. President Trump,...shut it DOWN!!! WATCH THIS VIDEO AND SHARE THIS POST!!!

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
JUST IN: "I am proud to shut down the government for border security," President Trump says in the Oval Office.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

Dave Agema’s Speech - Michigan Grassroots Alliance (12-8-18) ... See MoreSee Less

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1st hour discussion today, Friday 11-30-18;
MIRS News Service, Lansing

Bill Strips Campaign Finance Oversight From 'Partisan' Secretary Of State

A state "Fair Political Practices Commission" would administer and enforce the state's campaign finance laws, not the Secretary of State (SOS), under a package of bills introduced by Sen. David ROBERTSON (R-Grand Blanc) today.

Other expected "implementation" bills introduced by GOP senators today touch the voter-approved Proposal 2 redistricting commission and Proposal 3 voting access proposals. (See "Lame Duck -- 5 Things That Fly, 5 That Die, 5 That May & 5 That Stay," 11/21/18).

The main bill in the Robertson election package, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1250, creates the Fair Political Practices Commission as an autonomous entity within the SOS and gives the commission the ability to administer and enforce the state's campaign finance law and hire an executive director and staff.

All throughout the bill, which is an amendment of the state's campaign finance law, references to the Secretary of State are crossed out and replaced with "commission."

The bill gives the commission six members, with no more than three from the same political party. The Governor is allowed to appoint three members each from two lists: One submitted by the state central committee for the Republican Party and one submitted by the state central committee for the Democratic Party. The commission members must serve for four years.

Senate Republicans spokesperson Amber McCANN said Robertson feels it would be "worthwhile" to consider moving to a bipartisan commission for campaign finance and elections issues, rather than having those functions "in a partisan office."

Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn BENSON spokesperson Liz BOYD today called it "shameful" that "legislative Republicans are now trying to thwart the will of the voters with bills that ignore their voices, defies history and will make Michigan a national punch line by effectively ending enforcement of the campaign finance laws they are required to abide by."

Asked about the notion that the bill is about taking these powers away from Benson, McCann said, "I don't think Ms. Benson or anyone that would have that office would be short on any amount of work to be done with this change. I think there are plenty of other responsibilities that are housed in the Secretary of State's office."

McCann said instead of having these campaign finance issues and oversight of such issues subject to "a single officeholder with a partisan bent," Robertson wants to consider this bipartisan commission idea.

Asked what Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) thinks of the Robertson bill, McCann said, "he's interested in the concept."

Craig MAUGER, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN), said the bill appears to be setting up a structure similar to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), which is also a six-member commission that cannot carry more than three members from any one party.

Mauger said the FEC has "been pretty much defunct" and not able to enforce campaign finance laws because of the partisan split on the commission.

He also said the bill doesn't appear to provide any guidance on how long the list of commission member choices each party would need to provide to the Governor.

"Could the parties just provide three names and say, here are the three people we want you to put on?" Mauger said.

Senate Democrats spokesperson Rosie JONES said she hadn't reviewed the Robertson bills, but said that anytime campaign finance bills are introduced in lame duck session, "we definitely raise an eyebrow."

The main bill in Robertson's package is Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1250, while Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1248, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1249, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1251 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1252 are all tie-barred to it. The entire package was sent to Robertson's Elections and Government Reform Committee.

Meanwhile, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1254 was introduced by Sen. Phil PAVLOV (R-St. Clair) and touches on the independent redistricting commission, while Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1238 was introduced by Sen. Mike KOWALL (R-White Lake) and touches on many of the same subjects that Proposal 3 did.

The unveiling has stoked fears from Voters Not Politicians (VNP) that Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1254 will serve as a vehicle to alter the redistricting commission approved in Prop 2.

"Senate Bill 1254 seeks to interfere with the voice of Michigan voters who overwhelmingly supported the constitutional amendment as it was written," said Katie FAHEY, executive director of VNP, in a statement. "Given past activities by the Legislature this week, we expect this bill may only be a shell and that lawmakers will use to alter the fair, impartial and independent nature of the Commission that was overwhelmingly approved by voters."

Fahey is referring to the bills affecting the minimum wage and paid sick leave that were subbed in with more changes to both proposals, with both bills having already cleared the Senate (See "Senate Bill Hikes Minimum Wage To $12 By 2030, Then Leaves It There," 11/28/18).

Todd COOK, the lead voice for the Promote the Vote effort, said the coalition is still reviewing the legislation and that it looks forward to "working productively with the legislature. It's our hope there isn't an attempt to circumvent the will of 2.7 million voters." Cook said the goal of Proposal 3 is to establish a secure system.

Yet McCann described both Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1254 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1238 as "implementation bills" that "don't seek to change anything to do with the actual substance of the policy that was approved by voters."

Asked about these bills serving as vehicles for other ideas for redistricting and voting regulations, McCann said, "the bills as introduced were strictly implementation bills, there isn't a plan to sub out those bills with some ulterior language or policy." She added, however, that if there's any technical changes needed, or something brought to the sponsor worth considering, that's still a possibility.

McCann acknowledged both constitutional amendments didn't specifically call for implementation legislation to be enacted as far as she knew, but she said it's not unusual that approved ballot proposals often have "broad strokes" and that legislation is needed to accompany proposals.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1254, Pavlov's bill that touches on redistricting, was sent to Meekhof's Government Operations Committee. And Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1238 was referred to Robertson's Elections and Government Reform Committee.
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday, 11-29-18; MIRS News Service, Lansing

Senate Bill Hikes Minimum Wage To $12 By 2030, Then Leaves It There

The Senate's changes to the minimum wage initiative not only keeps the tip credit system around, but unchains any future increases after 2030 from inflationary increases, meaning the minimum wage would stay frozen at $12 an hour after 2030.

The new version of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1171 approved by the full Senate today changed the minimum wage proposal to allow for a $12 minimum wage and a $4 minimum wage for tipped workers by 2030, keeping the status quo that calls for tipped workers to be paid the difference between the regular minimum wage and the tipped wage if they don't make it up in tips.

But a substitute version of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1171 that debuted this morning in committee also unhooks future minimum wage increases from the consumer price index (CPI).

The ballot proposal would've hooked increases to the $12 minimum wage after 2022 to the CPI. And, starting in January under the law in place before the ballot proposal passed this fall, annual adjustments to the state's minimum wage would've already been hooked to increases to the CPI.

Assuming 2 percent growth each year, the state's current $9.25 per hour wage would've eventually grown to roughly $11.73 by 2030, according to MIRS' estimates.

Asked about why the bill ditches the CPI increases, bill sponsor Sen. Dave HILDENBRAND (R-Lowell), said in committee today he had been "uncomfortable" with tying 2014 legislation to the CPI, which is when the Legislature approved a minimum wage increase after a similar ballot proposal campaign to raise the wage.

But the idea was by tying future increases to the minimum wage to the CPI, the Legislature wouldn't need to revisit the issue, he said.

However, the issue was revisited this year, with the Michigan One Fair Wage campaign sponsoring the $12-an-hour campaign.

"We have a full-time Legislature, and since we're going to be reviewing this issue, sounds like, every so many years, why have an automatic increase in it?" Hildenbrand asked.

Pete VARGAS, campaign manager for Michigan One Fair Wage, said there shouldn't be a "time limit" on when Michigan citizens can exercise their constitutional rights to initiate legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint), who asked the question about the CPI during committee, said he disagreed with Hildenbrand's approach, adding that it's important that as costs go up, people's incomes go up as well.

Peter RUARK, senior policy analyst with the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), asked about the CPI issue. His hope is that the "next Legislature will do a better job and fix this mess that the Senate has created today."

Ananich also pointed out Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1171 would actually decrease the percentage of the regular minimum wage that tipped workers are paid from 38 percent to 33 percent under the new bill.

The original minimum wage proposal had eliminated what's known as the tip credit and instead would eventually bring tipped workers – who are now paid a minimum of $3.52 per hour -- up to the same level as all other minimum wage workers. That goes away in the Senate-passed bill.

The Senate bill would also phase in the minimum wage hike slower than the ballot proposal, which had provided for $12 an hour by 2022. The MLPP called the Senate's annual 23-cent hike until 2030 a "minimal and sluggish increase" that would "fail to keep up with the ever-rising cost of inflation and the cost of living."

The full Senate today approved Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1171 on a 26-12 vote, as well as Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1175, which includes a number of changes to the paid sick time proposal. Sen. Tory ROCCA (R-Sterling Heights) joined the Democrats in opposing the bills.

Sen. Curtis HERTEL Jr. (D-East Lansing) spoke out against both bills on the floor prior to passage, but otherwise there was no other debate. Both bills will now head to the House.

Hertel said he predicted that when the Legislature adopted both proposals that it was "nothing more than a political game" and that voters wouldn't be told about plans to change those proposals until after the election.

"Lo and behold, that is exactly what has happened," Hertel said.

On the paid sick leave changes in Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1175, sponsored by Sen. Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake), the substitute changes the maximum amount of paid sick leave a person can earn to 36 hours a year, as opposed to the 72 hours in the original proposal.

Also, the substitute would allow workers to earn 1 hour of paid sick leave time for every 40 hours worked, instead of the original 30 hours worked.

The substitute also exempts businesses with 50 or fewer employees from the law, and only allows employees eligible to use sick leave after working for one year and 1,250 hours for the same employer over the past 12 months, among other changes.

The MLPP said the 50-or-fewer employees provision would end up "locking out many of our state's lowest paid workers from paid sick leave."

Both ballot proposal-altering bills advanced from Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF's (R-West Olive) Government Operations Committee this morning on party-line votes, with Ananich and Sen. Morris HOOD III (D-Detroit) in opposition.

Individuals representing both proposals spoke out in committee against the bills that changed them, advocating for the proposals in their original form (See "Paid Sick Leave, $12 Minimum Wage Supporters Decry 'Gutting' Of Policies," 11/20/18).

Some protested against the Legislature moving to change the initiatives that were ultimately approved by the Legislature after organizers had garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures, arguing such a move subverted the will of the people.

"Gutting this proposal after adopting it is a cynical ploy to undermine the will of the 400,000 Michiganders who signed the One Fair Wage petition to support increasing the minimum wage," said Dr. Alicia Renee FARRIS, the steering committee chair for Michigan One Fair Wage, in a statement.

And the issue of whether such an alteration of an approved by the Legislature during the same session is constitutional was raised, as well (See "Adopt & Amend Ballot Q In Same Session? Never Done Under '63 Constitution," 9/4/18).

"Adopting the One Fair Wage proposal only to later gut it in lame duck is blatantly unconstitutional and will lead to costly time-consuming court challenges," Vargas said in a statement. "Regardless of one's feelings on raising the minimum wage, we expect all our elected leaders to uphold the constitution and preserve the rule of law at all times."

Meekhof said the state constitution doesn't prohibit the Legislature from amending an adopted initiative in the same session. And in reference to an opinion from former Attorney General Frank KELLEY saying the Legislature cannot do such a thing, which critics have pointed to as grounds for opposing the legislation, Meekhof said, "it's just his opinion."

Asked if the issue would eventually end up in court, Meekhof said, "That's not up to me."

A number of business groups spoke out in favor of the bills, including the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce on the paid sick leave bill, and the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA) on the minimum wage bill.

NFIB State Director Charlie OWENS thanked the Senate for making "major changes" to "the extreme and poorly drafted sick leave proposal forced on employers by outside special interest groups."

Business groups portrayed the sick leave proposal as more stringent than other states' sick leave policies and a threat to Michigan's ability to compete.

"Without changes, Michigan's new mandatory paid sick leave law would make Michigan an outlier in the Midwest and jeopardize our state's competitiveness," said Jim HOLCOMB, executive vice president and general counsel for the Chamber, in a statement.

NFIB is hoping the House will take up the paid sick leave bill next week.
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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 11-27-18;
MIRS News Service, Lansing

Michigan's Legislature is back in Lansing for the "Lame Duck" session. Here is what they are up to;

Lame Duck -- 5 Things That Fly, 5 That Die, 5 That May & 5 That Stay
The bird state Capitol folks are thinking about these days isn't turkey.

It's lame duck, that special time when difficult policies are shoved through under the cover of Yule-time joy and out-going legislators feeling free to support bills with reduced fear of political consequences.

In the 2018 version of this biennial tradition, the No. 1 issue on the minds of legislators isn't the No. 1 issue in Gov. Rick SNYDER's mind.

The term-limited Republican governor wants to hike the 36-cent-per-cubic-ton landfill tipping fee to $4.75 to raise money to clean up the toxic sites of long-gone polluters.

The bonding money Michigan once used to cover this expense came from the Clean Michigan Fund. That ran out more than a year ago and Snyder wants a permanent revenue stream. The CPA Governor hates bonding so he's pitching a pay-as-you-go, fee-based system to cover the costs.

Republican legislators like the smell of a tax increase about as much as they like inhaling landfill stench. But realizing that bumping up folks' garbage bills is more palatable than Snyder's other desired fee increase -- a $5-a-person "water tax" to pay for $110 million in underground infrastructure improvements -- the Legislature may be willing to go there, but something significantly less than $4.75.

Sources tell MIRS current negotiations are in the $3 range. On the "water tax" portion, the list of asks from the Senate and House Republicans would be so long, it's hard to imagine it getting done. But the House and Senate have scheduled four weeks of lame duck and leadership is willing to use every day of it if needed.

Meanwhile, the Christmas wish list for both outgoing Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) and outgoing Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) is surprisingly short. Two items. Both the same.

- Eliminate tipped workers from an eventual $12 minimum wage

- Give business more flexibility on the new paid sick leave policy (See "Paid Sick Leave, $12 Minimum Wage Supporters Decry 'Gutting' Of Policies," 11/20/18).
The list of unfinished business from other outgoing legislators, however, is long. The following is a list of other outstanding issues and the likelihood they'll get done in lame duck based on interviews with numerous inside sources.

Put It In The Bank -- 5 That Fly

- Line 5. Snyder and Republicans hope to legally button up a utility tunnel under the Mackinac Straits before Attorney General-elect Dana NESSEL takes office and tries to shut down Enbridge's 65-year-old tunnel. Codifying Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1197, sponsored by Sen. Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba), helps with that goal.

Also, the Rep. Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) package, which forces Enbridge to file contingency plans with the state and sets 2-year, $10,000 penalties for ship operators who drag an anchor across the Mackinac Straits, is expected to fly through, as well. (See "Enbridge Needs A Contingency Plan For Line 5, But The Public Won't See It," 9/26/18).

-Small Cell Standardization. Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0637 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0894 lets AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other providers build out their 5G network with "small cells" attached to utility poles, buildings and other structures without having to cut special deals with individual municipalities. (See "Small Cell Bill Moves To House Floor Amid County Exec Opposition," 10/4/18). Could be among the first things the House gets done.

-Supplemental. Did someone say there's money to spend? Lawmakers are already lining up with their ornament to hang on what undoubtedly will be at least a $371.5 million General Fund Christmas tree, particularly if Snyder needs votes for his "Renew and Rebuild" package. (See related story).

-Proposal 3 Codification. The constitution was amended earlier this month to call for same-day voter registration and no-reason absentee voting. Do you think Republicans are going to let incoming Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn BENSON be in charge of writing the administrative rules around this substantive change in policy? A bill or substitute on this one is coming.

-Nassar Response Legislation. With Michigan State University (MSU) cutting their deal with survivors and sexual assailant Larry NASSAR solidly behind bars, the Senate will pick apart whichever pieces of the House's 24-bill package it doesn't like. The supplemental includes $1 million for survivors. (See "House's Nassar Bills Sent To Senate Floor," 6/6/18).

No Way -- 5 That Die

-Private Policing Bill. Meekhof-backed Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0594 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0595 is running into problems with police groups, Republican members and a skeptical House. This one is a dead duck. (See "Immediate Concerns Emerge From Meekhof's Private Police Bill," 10/4/18).

-Utility PPT Exemption Bill. Sen. John PROOS' (R-St. Joseph) SB 1301 that exempts DTE Energy and Consumers Energy from paying personal property taxes (PPT) isn't far enough long. Turn off the lights on that one. (See "Locals, Schools Could See $652M-Sized Hit On Utility PPT Exemption Bill," 6/19/18).

-National Popular Vote. Sen. Dave HILDENBRAND's (R-Lowell) bill to let Michigan join the interstate compact to elect the president by popular vote is toxic among the conservative grassroots. Leonard declared it dead weeks ago. Franco is still dead. (See "No Panel Vote Taken On National Popular Vote Issue," 9/6/18).

-Public-Private Partnership (P3). Sen. Mike KOWALL's (R-White Lake) bill to allow state departments to contract with the private sector for various infrastructure projects is going unloved in the House. It's helplessly buried somewhere in the middle of the Governor's to-do list. It's been abandoned, left alone to die. (See "'Grassroots' Republicans Urging Leonard To Kill P3 Bills," 12/8/17).

-Sanctuary City Ban. Why pass Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4104 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4334 this term when both Rep. Pamela HORNBERGER (R-Chesterfield Twp.) and Rep. Beau LAFAVE (R-Iron Mountain) could throw this bill on Gov. Whitmer's desk next term?

Anything Is Possible -- 5 That May

-A-F Grading Scale. Creating an A-F grading scale for public school buildings (Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5526) is the last of Snyder's original legislative wish list. It only happens if House Education Committee Chair Tim KELLY (R-Saginaw Twp.) rounds up the votes in the lower chamber. Speaker Leonard is agnostic on the subject. (See "95% Of West MI Policy Forum Attendees Want A-F School Grading Scale," 9/24/18).

-Non-profit Donor Disclosure. No lame duck is complete without Republicans pushing through elections-related reforms progressives find repugnant. This year's version is a Shirkey's Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1176 that makes it harder to track "soft money." From Shirkey's perspective, he doesn't want non-profits to be forced to reveal their donors.

History is on the side of this bill moving with maybe a late substitute that adds in additional reforms. Keep an eye on that and another bill that will allow Senators to use money leftover in their Senate campaign accounts to settle up personal debts in their House accounts (Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 1022).

Now is the Republicans' last chance to fiddle with election law for at least four more years.

-School Safety Package. The House and Senate need to cut the deal with the Governor on what's going in the final package, if there's enough interest in getting it done. Nassar has seemed to push school shootings off the radar in favor of sexual assault response. The House has their bills. (See "School Safety Package Springs Out Of House," 5/8/18). The Senate as their bills. (See "Senate Moves 7 More School Safety Bills," 6/7/18).

-No PIP Coverage For Seniors. A comprehensive auto insurance reform is much too hard of a lift for lame duck, but one piece that could survive if legislators feel reform under future Gov. Gretchen WHITMER isn't going to happen is Sen. Rick JONES' (R-Grand Ledge) Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0787. This allows those on Medicare 65 and older to get out of buying unlimited lifetime personal coverage on their auto insurance. It's up to the House at this point. (See "Scaled-Back Auto Insurance Bills Clear Senate," 6/7/18).

-Gaming Reform. Meekhof's grand vision of roping in on-line gaming, a sports book and fantasy sports reforms makes sense in concept, but the Senate Majority Leader was out of the loop for a month and has some catching up to do.

One Chamber Victory? -- 5 That Stay

-Raise The Age. The Rep. Pete LUCIDO-driven bill package to raise the age to those automatically criminally charged as adults to 18 can clear the House. Whether the Shelby Township Republican's idea is too big of a change to push through the Senate may be the question. The counties still need to sign off and right now they are losers under this. (See "Lawmakers Getting Ready To 'Raise The Age' For Juvenile Offenders," 9/25/18).

-Teacher Prep Legislation. Rep. Daniela GARCIA-led package (Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5598) to standardize teacher preparation requirements fell victim to politics in the spring and now would be a new subject for the Senate to take up even if the Holland Republican rounds up the House votes. (See "Teacher Prep, I-Gaming Bills Stuck In House Fridge," 5/3/18).

-50/50 Joint Custody Bill. Rep. Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake) is coming back to the Senate next term. He can pick back up the idea that joint child custody should be the default judgment in divorce cases at that time (Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4691). There's just too much opposition to it. (See "50-50 Custody Presumption Bill Pushed For Lame Duck," 10/23/18).

-Civil Asset Forfeitures. The Senate likes Runestad's Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5702 to require county prosecutors to immediately review seizures to determine whether the property should be returned. Police groups, prosecutors, the ACLU and the Mackinac Center like it, too. (See "Judiciary Ready To Vote On Further Civil Asset Forfeiture Reforms," 3/23/18).

But the House sent over Lucido's Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4158, which ties civil asset forfeiture to a criminal conviction. That isn't going to fly in the upper chamber. (See "House Votes To Tie Civil Asset Forfeiture To Criminal Conviction, 5/8/18).

-Dental Therapists Bill. Shirkey will give it the ol' college try, but the Michigan Dental Association isn't going to budge in opposing Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0541 allowing for the creation of mid-level dental providers. Unless the House uses it for leverage, Shirkey will need to come back with this idea when he's the majority leader. (See "Dental Executive Drilled: Therapist Bill Swished Out Of Committee," 9/19/17).
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3 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 11-27-18;This is a video which explains what the plan is to defeat President Trump in 2020;

(By the way, my State Representative - Triston Cole and many other Republicans sponsored the bill after attending an expense paid trip to Hawaii by Saul Anuzis' lobbying group promoting this plan);

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3 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

This is a video which explains what the plan is to defeat President Trump in 2020;

(By the way, my State Representative - Triston Cole and many other Republicans sponsored the bill after attending an expense paid trip to Hawaii by Saul Anuzis' lobbying group promoting this plan);

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4 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

1st & 3rd hour discussion today, Monday 10-29-18;

About dang time,....Finally a candidate with the guts to speak, #TheTRUTH!!!

Detroit and the black community of Michigan, vote for John James to be Michigan's next U.S. Senator!!! #WalkAway #BLExit

John James
VOTE 🗳 Let's Fly! >>https://bit.ly/2PnsQfp<< 💪🦅🇺🇸 #LetsFlyMI #MISen #TeamJohnJames
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4 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers”, Friday 10-26-18;

Two (2) polls just released shows that the races in Michigan are tightening up,...Republicans across the board are within single digits of the Democrats!!!


The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1st hour discussion today Thursday, 10-25-18;

Democrat candidate for Michigan Attorney General (top law enforcement officer) defended criminals,...here is an ad that will be airing on TV until the Tuesday, Nov. 6th general election;


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