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

1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 7-17-19; MIRS News Service

Cox: 'Detroit Investigation Needed'; Nessel: 'Already Started'

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura COX called on Attorney General Dana NESSEL to investigate Detroit's Office of Development and Grants for the alleged wrongful termination of that office's associate director and the improper deletion of various emails that sniff of an attempted cover-up.

Many of the allegations came to light last week when the former official, Kennedy SHANNON, sued the city for violating the Whistleblower Protection Act.

But Nessel's office says it has already reopened the investigation.

"We definitely reopened," Nessel spokesperson Kelly ROSSMAN-McKINNEY stated in an email this evening. "Not sure what she's talking about, but no one is above the law so . . ."

Republicans, however, believe Nessel has only reopened the case to look at the issue of deleted emails.

"We want to make sure the investigation covers not only the emails but the questions with grants and the wrongful termination, as well," GOP spokesperson Tony ZAMMIT clarified.

Nessel initially deferred the case to the Detroit Office of Inspector General. Then, Shannon filed her suit Thursday alleging she was placed on administrative leave and eventually fired after expressing concerns about the Motor City Match program, a small business assistance program. She took her concerns to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and refused to sign off on the program payments until an audit could be conducted.

According to the suit, in a meeting with Detroit's chief development official Ryan FRIEDRICHS -- who is also married to Secretary of State Jocelyn BENSON -- and Director of Grants Katerli BOUNDS, Shannon was told not signing could be insubordination and she could be terminated for it.

On May 1, she was suspended and, on May 23, terminated. The suit seeks $25,000 in damages.

The lawsuit also alleges staff members were instructed to delete emails regarding fundraising for the private nonprofit Make Your Date after a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) had been submitted about fundraising for the private non-profit group "with deep ties to Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN," Cox's statement reads.

"The allegations leveled against Ryan Friedrichs and the Detroit Office of Development and Grants are extremely troubling and warrant a full investigation by the Michigan Attorney General's Office," Cox stated. "Not only have taxpayer resources apparently been wasted, but a cover-up was seemingly launched to hide this impropriety . . . Will the Attorney General's office do their duty or will Attorney General Nessel's friendship with Jocelyn Benson allow this potential cover-up to avoid scrutiny?"
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 7-16-19; MIRS News Service

This story from April, 2019 has led to a ruling by the Natural Resources Commission to ban "baiting" deer in three (3) U.P. counties, and the Yoopers are "pxssed off"!!!

Panel Pokes Its Nose In Stopping Deer Baiting Ban

Legislatively scrapping the Lower Peninsula deer baiting ban chewed up 90 minutes of a Senate committee earlier this month, but the panel's chair is expressing questions about whether a bill will gain traction amid the accepted science that shows the bans slows the spread of deadly diseases.

Sen. Curt [VANDERWALL] (R-Ludington) is proposing SB 0037 at the request of local hunters, who told the Senate panel that the Natural Resources Commission's decision to ban carrot and apple piles isn't stopping the spread of disease, like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), as it was intended.

Instead, the deer are congregating in cornfields or apple trees, spreading the disease at these locations. All the while, the baiting ban is making it harder for the state's aging hunting population to bag a trophy. That's discouraging participation.

"Deer are in close contact when they yard up for the winter," VanderWall told the Senate Natural Resources Committee. "I ask, 'Where is the sound scientific data that definitely has caused deer to congregate in an unnatural way? Where are the documented cases of deer contracting CWD from baiting or a feeding station?'"

Yet, VanderWall has "some work to do" to earn the support needed to move SB 0037 out of committee, said Chair Ed [McBROOM] (R-Vulcan) due to a large amount of opposition that includes numerous hunters, conservation and environmental groups. Even the Michigan Farm Bureau is against the bill.

"It has a difficult path forward," McBroom said. "I'm not sure we can get there."

For starters, Gov. Gretchen [WHITMER]'s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is against it, which makes earning her signature on the bill -- even if it were to pass the Senate and House -- difficult.

Last year, the NRC approved a series of deer hunting regulations aimed at slowing the spread of CWD, including a ban on bait piles in a 16-county area around mid-Michigan and West Michigan (See "Bits And Tidbits," 8/9/18).

A driving argument for the move was a "consensus statement" compiled by 30 fish and wildlife veterinarians and disease ecologists. Its No. 1 recommendation on how to slow disease was the elimination of supplemental feeding. The reason is because disease congregate at these piles continuously, allowing the disease-infected saliva and urine to permanently stain the area.

Among those who edited the more than 100-page document was Dr. Kelly STRAKA, the supervisor of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Health Section.

"That weighed heavily and is something we take seriously," Straka told McBroom's committee on the report.

That wasn't the opinion of Dave WHEELER, owner of Lucky Buck Mineral in Hillsdale County, who argued that baiting with salt piles, along with fruits and vegetables feeds a more "robust, healthier herd" that allows them to fight off disease. Leaving salt piles also keeps the deer away from the roads during the snow melts, when they lick the roadside salt runoff.

He conceded that this rationale may not work on CWD, but it will protect deer from other diseases that could decimate a local population. What would help prevent the spread of CWD is having multiple baiting piles in an area that would discourage deer from traveling great distances for food.

This line of thinking isn't working with the many organized groups that are lining up in opposition. The Michigan Cattleman's Association, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Michigan Quality Deer Management Association (MQDMA), the Michigan Trapper and Predator Callers Association, among many others, turned in cards at the April 10 hearing in opposition.

For one, they don't like the idea of the legislature trumping the authority of the NRC. Second, they are convinced by the science that shows deer slobber and defecate at bait piles. Healthy deer ingest the infected prions left from the sick deer in the contaminated soil and become infected with CWD or Bovine Tuberculosis, as well.
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2nd hour discussion today, Thursday 7-11-19;

Personal, emotional hour (go to our website www.yourdefendingfathers.com and click on Podcast, listen to the 4th one down Hour 2, Segment 1 and then the 3rd one down Hour 2, Segment 2) where I shared some personal information and played this song on the air;

l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DJs1A3vSP6OE%26feature%3Dshare%...musicvideoswithlyrics.com/ Click the link to the left to visit my Music Videos with Lyrics website created for all those who love songs with great lyr...
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 7-11-19;
MIRS News Service

Nessel Blocks LaFave On Twitter . . . But Can She Legally Do It?

Attorney General Dana NESSEL blocked one of her more frequent and colorful critics, Rep. Beau LAFAVE (R-Iron Mountain), from following her on Twitter, but LaFave pointed to a New York U.S. Appellate Court decision from Tuesday that raises the question as to whether she can do it.

Nessel and LaFave have gone a couple rounds on social media since the beginning of the year, but the latest has a national tie-in that's based on President Donald TRUMP also blocking critics on his Twitter account. U.S. Rep. Alexandria OCASIO-CORTEZ is also being sued for blocking critics on Twitter.

LaFave was tweeting at Washington Gov. Jay INSLEE, a presidential candidate, for calling for an end of the Line 5 light crude pipeline under the Mackinac Straits. LaFave attempted to tag Nessel into the post when he realized he wasn't allowed to do it.

It turns out he's been blocked, which comes the day after the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Trump has been violating the Constitution by blocking critics and trolls from following his Twitter account.

"She's taking plays out of President Trump's playbook and I'm starting to have more respect for her," tweeted LaFave, who added in talking to MIRS, "Clearly, she can't take the heat. Maybe she should go to the U.P. after she shuts down Line 5. Cool down right quick."

Nessel Press Secretary Kelly ROSSMAN-McKINNEY responded by telling MIRS, "He continues to have a career crush on Attorney General Nessel."

For his part, LaFave said he may file for a formal AG's opinion on whether a public official can block anybody from following him or her on social media given the recent federal court opinion.

The two have gone back-and-forth on social media about Nessel's investigation on the Catholic Church and LaFave's contention that the Attorney General is blatantly anti-Catholic (See "Nessel's Office Confirms Grievance Filed Against MSU's Talbot," 4/2/19). He's also slammed her about her desire to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 at the Mackinac Bridge out of concern for a spill. LaFave says the U.P. gets too much of its propane from the pipe to make such a move practical.

LaFave also said Nessel should be committed to a psychiatric asylum, which he later backed away from (See "Shirkey 'Confused' By Nessel's A.G. Opinion Diss," 6/19/19).

In May, LaFave wrote: "Prediction: MI AG @dananessel will soon issue an opinion that I am unconditional." Nessel responded, "Are you trying to spell, "unconstitutional"? Try harder, Beau."
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 7-10-19;
MIRS News Service

Enbridge Wasn't Invited To U.P. Propane Panel Party

While Enbridge says it fuels 65% of the propane needed in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan, it won't be lending its voice to the state panel tasked with coming up with propane delivery alternatives outside of Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline.

That's because Enbridge wasn't given a seat at the table of the U.P. Energy Task Force. Asked if leaving Enbridge off of the Gov. Gretchen WHITMER-appointed panel was a mistake, company spokesperson Ryan DUFFY declined to answer.

Instead, Duffy stuck with saying that a previous state-commissioned study showed there is "no viable way of moving the products transported by Line 5 on our other pipelines, competitor pipelines or by rail or truck" (See "Report: Risk, Costs Come With Ending Line 5 Crossing Under Straits," 11/20/17).

Whitmer's U.P. Energy Task Force held its first meeting today in Marquette. The Governor announced she'd form the panel the day after Enbridge went to court, seeking validation of its agreements with the state to build an underground tunnel to house a replacement Line 5 (See "Gov's Task Force Asked To Find Propane Alternatives To Line 5," 6/7/19).

The group has first been charged to submit a plan to Whitmer by March 31, 2020 focusing on alternative ways to supply propane in the "event of a Line 5 shutdown."

The 19-member task force spent about an hour having each member introduce him or herself, and then set its governing rules.

Later in the afternoon, the panel heard two presentations: One from Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Chair Sally TALBERG on the work of the former Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (PSAB), and another on the recently released statewide energy assessment (See "MPSC Report: January Energy Emergency Response 'A Success Story,'" 7/1/19).

The panel has 12 U.P. residents and seven Lower Peninsula residents, as well as two heads of relevant industry associations and an energy expert (See "Whitmer Appoints 12 Yoopers, 7 Trolls To U.P. Energy Task Force," 6/14/19).

In response to the task force, Duffy said Enbridge believes the Line 5 tunnel proposal is the "best long-term opportunity to secure the energy needs of the state while making an already safe pipeline even safer."
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2 weeks ago

Your Defending Fathers

Greatest Independence Day celebration,...EVER!!!

The White House
"To every citizen throughout our land: have a glorious Independence Day, have a great Fourth of July!" — President Trump 🇺🇸
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2 weeks ago

Your Defending Fathers

For my Facebook Friends without cable or satellite,...watch it online at this link;

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For my Facebook Friends that don't have cable or satellite TV, here is some extra coverage being broadcast LIVE, over 5 hours BEFORE President Trump's speech at 6:30 pm, today!!!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=03K5VZj0NNk

Right Side Broadcasting
Join us for the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, DC- more events (including President Trump's speech) to come later today!
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2nd half hour of today's discussion, Friday 6-28-19;
MIRS News Service

AG Sues To Shut Down Line 5, Stop Tunnel

Michigan Attorney General - Dana NESSEL filed a lawsuit today in Ingham County Circuit Court seeking to close Enbridge Energy's controversial underwater pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

Nessel simultaneously filed a motion to dismiss Enbridge's Court of Claims suit that seeks enforcement of agreements made in the last months of former Gov. Rick SNYDER's administration that allow the Canadian-based oil pipeline company to build a 4.5-mile, $500 million tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac (See "Enbridge Asks State Court To Enforce Line 5 Tunnel Agreements," 6/6/19 and "Snyder Signs Line 5 Tunnel Bill," 12/12/18).

"I have consistently stated that Enbridge's pipelines in the Straits need to be shut down as soon as possible because they present an unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes," Nessel said in a statement.

"Gov. (Gretchen) WHITMER tried her best to reach an agreement that would remove the pipelines from the Straits on an expedited basis, but Enbridge walked away from negotiations and instead filed a lawsuit against the state," she added. "Once that occurred, there was no need for further delay."

Enbridge released a statement expressing disappointment "the state chose not to accept our offer to advance talks on the Straits tunnel." Enbridge says it remains open to discussions with the Governor as it believes the tunnel is the "best way to protect the community and the Great Lakes" while meeting the state's energy needs.

Whitmer expressed support for Nessel's actions in a statement from her office, which also noted Whitmer directed the Department of Natural Resources to review Enbridge's compliance under the 1953 easement agreement that created the terms and conditions Enbridge could operate the dual pipelines on the bottomlands of the Great Lakes. (See "Gov Has Heightened Concerns After Anchor Drop Near Pipeline In Detroit River," 6/20/19.)

The AG's lawsuit, which identifies a potential anchor strike as the most significant risk to Line 5, seeks a declaratory judgment that the 1953 agreement "violates the public trust doctrine and is therefore void."

Nessel's lawsuit also calls the pipeline a public nuisance that is "likely to cause pollution, impairment and destruction of water and other natural resources."

In a video message, Nessel cited the 2018 tugboat anchor that caused more than $1 million in damage when it severed underwater electric power lines and dented Line 5.

Enbridge and power companies have filed lawsuits against the tugboat company. (See "Bits And Tidbits: Consumers Energy Files Suit Against Shipping Company," 7/30/18.)

In its statement, Enbridge says Line 5 "is a critical source of 540,000 barrels per day of propane and crude oil supply for Michigan" and surrounding areas. Shutting it down, they argue, would "lead to serious disruption of the energy market."

The Michigan Environmental Council also praised Nessel's actions, saying it is a step forward in the fight to protect the Great Lakes.

Kate MADIGAN, director of the Michigan Climate Action Network, called Nessel's actions "crucial . . . to protect our Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill."

"It is a smart response to the clear science showing we must move off fossil fuels rapidly to address the climate crisis we are in," she said in a statement.

Sen. Jeff IRWIN (D-Ann Arbor) said, "This 66-year-old pipeline must be decommissioned as soon as possible."

Rep. Beau LAFAVE (R-Iron Mountain) said "Gov. Nessel's" "cascade of lawsuits" is preventing Enbridge from entombing Line 5 100 feet below ground and "creating a public nuisance" that would cut off "thousands of Michiganders from affordable energy."

"The Governor is complicit in allowing the Attorney General to run the show on this issue," LaFave said. "When I voted for Bill SCHUETTE for Governor, I didn't expect I would end up with Governor Nessel."
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3rd hour discussion today, Tuesday 6-25-19;
MIRS News Service

'100%' Of House Dems Support $2.5B More For The Roads

She didn't hazard a guess on how many House Democrats would support a 45-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike, but House Minority Leader Christine GREIG (D-Farmington Hills) said 100% of her colleagues would support raising $2.5 billion in additional revenue to fix Michigan's roads.

"I don't know one caucus member who doesn't think this is the problem we are facing," Greig told the MIRS Monday podcast. "When we see all the different options, then I'll have a better feel for which components they'd be supporting."

Greig's House Democratic caucus put a few additional options on the table last Thursday with raising the corporate income tax (CIT) from 6% to 8.5% and creating a new six-cents-a-mile charge on the state's heaviest trucks, being the most high-profile (See "House Dems Road Funding Plan Boosts CIT 2.5%, Higher Fees On Heavy Trucks," 6/20/19).

The bills put on the table, are not -- by themselves -- a plan, Greig said. They are individual bills on how to raise revenue for the roads if Republicans are going to continue to oppose Whitmer's 45-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike.

"This is not competition to the Governor's plan. This is how to get to $2.5 billion," the Leader said, noting that the $400 million fees on heavy trucks "is common sense" given the additional wear and tear they put on the road.

The business community needs to be the No. 1 interest group coming to the table and putting some additional skin into the roads, she said. Michigan needs to invest in its roads and its recruitment process. Having roads that look like 8 Mile on the Detroit boundary line or parts of heavily damaged Interstate 94 isn't an enticing sight to recruits, to put it mildly.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce called the 42% increase to the CIT and "new tax on small businesses" "dangerous," in that it advances an "anti-business agenda."

"Joining the ranks of California and Illinois in having one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the nation and increasing the tax burden on Michigan's small businesses would take an economic wrecking ball to Michigan's economic competitiveness," said Dan PAPINEAU, director of tax policy and regulatory affairs for the Michigan Chamber. "This is a clear attack on Michigan job providers and the Michigan Chamber is unalterably opposed to these job-killing plans."

House Republican spokesperson Gideon D'ASSANDRO said the $1.2 billion in new revenue House Democrats is putting on the table isn't needed in that the House Republican caucus showed in its budget proposal that "they could raise $850 million in additional road funding every year without raising taxes one cent.

"I don't know why everyone else in Lansing seems so eager to raise taxes on working families."

Greig said if Republicans are not going to support 45 cents, she believes other ideas for generating revenue should be put on the table. She's convinced an additional $2.5 billion in revenue annually is what's needed to get 90% of the state-run roads in "good condition" by 2030.

"Both caucuses can come together and a be part of the solution. Up on Mackinac, I brought it up. At 45 cents, if the Republicans put up half the votes and we can put up half the votes, we can make it happen and that's what's best for the state if we're both supporting the final solution.

"They’ve been pretty quiet. Just like they have been on their own road plan."

The budget-cutting alternatives House Republicans have come up with -- an across the board 3% cut to administrative line-items and a 25% cut across the board to information and technology programs -- is "fiscally irresponsible and lazy" Greig said.

"If you're saying there's fat in the budget, prove where it is," Greig said.
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 6-25-19;
MIRS News Service

Delegate: Constitution Intended AG Opinions To Be Advisory, Not Binding

(MACKINAC ISLAND) -- According to one of six living delegates to Michigan's 1961 Constitutional Convention -- delegates intended the opinion of the state's Attorney General to be just that, an opinion lacking the full force of law.

"That was the position of the convention and has been my opinion . . . that the attorney general's opinion is entitled by the courts and it ought to be by the people, to be received with respect, but not to be taken as having the force or effect of law," Eugene G. WANGER said in response to a question from MIRS today.

The issue is one that has been raised from time to time. Recently, Attorney General Dana NESSEL's office told the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to ignore her predecessor's opinion that it didn't have the authority to expand Elliott Larsen Civil Rights protections to the LGBTQ community without legislation action. (See "Nessel To Civil Rights: Disregard Schuette's Elliott-Larsen Opinion," 6/19/19).

Wanger, who was elected from the Lansing area to serve as a Republican constitutional convention delegate, made the remarks during this year's annual meeting of the Michigan Political History Society at the Grand Hotel today.

In expounding on the topic, Wanger noted that there was even question whether an AG opinion was binding on state agencies.

"In fact, there was a question whether it (an AG opinion) was binding as a matter of law on the people of state government," Wanger continued. "But as a practical matter of course, and particularly back then, these extra attorneys were not being hired, you had better think three or four times about going against the opinion of the only lawyer you've got."

The force of an attorney general's opinion is also in the midst of being tested in the matter of the Line 5 tunnel legislation passed during Lame Duck. Recall, that Nessel held that law to be unconstitutional. (See: "Nessel: Line 5 Tunnel Law Unconstitutional; Gov Halts State Action On It," 03/28/2019).

Her finding is currently being challenged before the Michigan Court of Claims by Enbridge, the owner and operator of Line 5. (See: "Enbridge Asks State Court to Enforce Line 5 Tunnel Agreements," 06/06/2019).

Con-Con Left Education Policy To Education Lobby
In other interesting comments, Wanger noted that the delegates weren't particularly interested in or engaged in the topic of education policy, instead largely leaving the writing of those sections of the current constitution to the education community and lobby.

"At the convention, we had a committee on education. It had everybody on it that had anything to do with education," said Wanger. "As it turned out, the education lobby pretty much wrote all the provisions and we delegates were happy they did. First of all, for the delegates, education wasn't an issue that caused any of us to get excited."

Wanger also said the education lobby was so powerful at the time, the delegates figured if they weren't on board, the proposed constitution would go down the drain. "We thought why don't we have this committee and have them write it [education provisions] up. They came up with something we thought was pretty good."

"We had a feeling at the convention that if we had an even number of members of our subsidiary public bodies that that would be a good idea. And it turned out after the convention that both parties were playing real, real hardball."

Romney Struggled To Understand Con-Con Process
Former American Motors chief and then-Gov. George ROMNEY, played a significant role in the constitutional convention, but was a bit out of his element when it started, according to Wanger.

"George did not really understand how the convention actually worked," said Wanger. "I'm serious. Once, he stood up to say something on something or other, he didn't even know what an amendment was. He learned all that latter, but at the time, he came up the hard way through the Mormon background and in American Motors . . . but he didn't know anything about running a convention."

Delegates Were Paid $1,000 A Month
Wanger said at the time of the constitutional convention, the Legislature had appropriated $7,500 to pay each elected delegate to the constitutional convention.

"And guess just how long that convention lasted? Seven and a half months," joked Wanger.
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2nd hour discussion today, Monday 6-24-19;
MIRS News Service

Squeezing Sugar Beet Juice On Icy Roads Pitched As Salt Alternative

Sugar beet juice would be used instead of salt to keep roads from icing over in the winter, under legislation introduced this week by Sen. Roger VICTORY (R-Hudsonville), which follows an identical Rep. Brian ELDER (D-Bay City) bill dropped last week.

The Michigan Department of Transportation would need to implement a three-year pilot program to test the use of sugar beet byproducts to prevent icing and optimize de-icing on roads.

"We need safe roadways and salt works well for handling ice on roads, but it harms Michigan's freshwater ecosystems," Victory told MIRS. "The application of salt contributes to the deterioration of roads and bridges, and to chloride pollution in lakes, rivers and groundwater. In addition, salt corrodes our vehicles. Sugar beet byproducts (sugar beet juice and other organic additives) could provide an alternative to salt-only de-icing that would reduce these problems."

Frankenmuth is using sugar beet byproducts on the roads and Minnesota has a pilot program where it's replacing salt with sugar beet mix. Apparently, the concoction sticks to the roads longer than salt and is better for the environment.

"They decrease the amount reaching water sources and limit the amount of salt required to effectively manage icy conditions," Victory said.

Would the pilot program look into the overall economic impact of adding sugar beet byproducts into the state's winter road-safety mix? MIRS asked.

"Yes, it would," Victory said. "What it might find is that using the sugar beet byproducts would cost a little more up front, but save on the cost over time."

According to Victory, more than 20 million tons of salt are used to help manage icy road conditions across the United States annually.

Would the pilot program look at the potential positive impact the use of sugar beet byproducts for roads could have on Michigan's sugar beet producers? MIRS asked.

"That impact could be significant," Victory said. "But that's not something the pilot program would be looking at."

Elder said cutting down on salt usage for roads for beet juice "will not only make our safety efforts more effective during the tough winters, it will ensure that, come spring, the 'Pure' remains in Pure Michigan."

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0379 was referred to the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Elder's Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4717 was referred to the House Transportation Committee.
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4 weeks ago

Your Defending Fathers

With all due respect President Trump,...you failed to show strength against Iran!!!

Randy
3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers”, with “Trucker Randy”, Friday 6-21-19;

With all due respect President Trump,...you failed to show strength against Iran!!!

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

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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4 weeks ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Hour of “Your Defending Fathers”, with “Trucker Randy”,
Wednesday 6-19-19;

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

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")!!!

Click on the link below to donate, TODAY!!!
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2nd hour discussion today, Wednesday 6-19-19; MIRS News Service

Dire Warnings Made About Great Lakes Fisheries

Amber MAY-PETERSEN, of Petersen's Fisheries, a fourth-generation commercial fishing business in Muskegon, gave a dire warning today to the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee today.

Great Lakes fish populations are out of balance.

"We are trying to get your attention and say, 'Listen, there's a problem going on out there.' And we know it because our livelihood depends on us going out continuously and catching fish and bringing them back in," May-Petersen said. "When we're here saying things like 'there's too much lake trout pushing out the whitefish' and 'there's too much walleye pushing out the perch,' it is because we have seen this before and we know how this story ends."

That was a reference to the collapse of the commercial fishing industry after the arrival of the sea lamprey. Today, she said, there are 13 commercial fishing businesses operating full-time in Michigan.

"In the 1960s or the 1950s, at our peak, at our heyday, there were 1,900 commercial fishermen. We held the power at that time. Commercial fishermen, we ruled. Then things changed very quickly. Sea lamprey came and wiped out the lake trout and the state decided to create a recreational fishery and, like that, we were reduced by 95%. We saw all of our friends go out of business. We saw everything we knew go away," she told the committee.

The committee is considering a three-bill package, which would update commercial fishing regulations for the first time since 1971.

Reps. Jack O'MALLEY (R-Lake Ann), Pauline WENDZEL (R-Watervliet) and Jim LILLY (R-Park Twp.) have proposed the bills to update and modernize the commercial fishing statute (See "Lawmakers Cast Updated Commercial Fishing Regs To Committee," 6/11/19).

Among the changes, the package would make is the creation of a list of species that commercial fishers are allowed to take and a regulation that the DNR cannot approve any species for the list that is already on the game species list. That means commercial fishers would no longer be able to take yellow perch, even as bycatch. Lake trout and walleye also could not be taken by commercial fishers, but they haven't been able to harvest those two species since the 1950s.

May-Petersen said that when Canada sees a decline in its perch populations, it increases the commercial harvest of walleye to balance it out because walleye eat perch.

This is an issue particularly on Saginaw Bay where five commercial fishing businesses still operate and have been taking perch as a part of their catch. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimated last week for the committee that taking perch off the commercial species list would reduce their catch by about 33%. May-Petersen said a reduction by that much would put her family out of business.

Bryan BURROUGHS, of Michigan Trout Unlimited, told the committee that not long ago, Lake Huron's food web collapsed and salmon disappeared. Since then, walleye have rebounded very well in Saginaw Bay but perch have not.

"Saginaw Bay is an incredible walleye fishery right now," he said.

But May-Petersen had a different view.

"From the commercial fisherman's standpoint, what is going on on Saginaw Bay is actually that the perch population would do a lot better if you took out some of the walleye. I mean, walleye eat perch. That is part of their diet. So they are in the bay hunting and you stocked the bay and now they are doing what fish do, they are hunting and eating other fish," she said.

In the meantime, invasive quagga and zebra mussels have made the waters of the bay clearer, which only makes the hunting better for the walleye, May-Petersen explained.

"I don't think commercial fishing is your problem in the bay. I think you are out of balance is what your problem is. And we have a change to the environment and we are not adjusting to that, not adapting," she contended.

Lake Michigan, where her husband Eric PETERSEN fishes, is out of balance too, she said.

"Down in Muskegon and Leland, we are starting to see a lot more lake trout move into our whitefish nets. We are getting to the point now where we are seeing half and half for us in Muskegon if not three quarters. Leland is really, really suffering right now. They are seeing 90 percent lake trout, 80 percent lake trout. The problem with that for us is lake trout and whitefish don't coexist together. When lake trout move in, they push out the whitefish . . . this is hurting us a lot."

DNR officials told the committee last week that the state has emphasized recreational fishing over commercial fishing since the 1960s, largely due to the economic benefits.

Burroughs gave some of the numbers that support that position. He said there are 1.4 million recreational anglers in Michigan and another 300,000 come from out of state. Recreational fishing in Michigan is second only to Florida.

That many fishers spend a collective 25 million days a year fishing, 2 million by non-residents. All told, recreational fishing generates more than $2 billion in spending, supporting 35,000 jobs and generates $227 million in state and local taxes.

Canada did a study on what was generated by recreational fishing and found that the value of every Atlantic salmon caught was $3,000, Burroughs said.

"In Michigan, I'm not sure where we would end up for different species, but if you would just imagine generally that recreation will turn a fish, a 5-pound fish, into $200 or $300. Or you could catch it and sell it for a couple of bucks a pound and turn it into say $20 or $25. That is a public trust resource. You want to maximize that value," he said.

Committee Chair Gary HOWELL (R-North Branch) said the committee won't be able to wrap up work on the package before it breaks for recess, so he is planning to put together a work group to hammer out the details on the bills. He invited May-Petersen to be a part of that work group.
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Republicans Undecided On 'The Bus' Or Individual Budgets

The Republican-controlled Senate today passed amended House-passed, individual department budgets for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 along with two large shell omnibus bills (Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0372 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0373), keeping their options open when it comes time to send Gov. Gretchen WHITMER their final spending plan.

MIRS asked Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim STAMAS (R-Midland) whether this year's budget would ultimately be done with two big omnibus budget bills or with department-by-department bills.

"We haven't made a decision," Stamas said. "So, we've put in place both the individual and the omnibus budgets. As we move forward, we'll look at it. We just want to make sure we have both in place."

Doing the annual state budget in two huge omnibus bills has become the norm over the past eight years in part because, with both branches of the Legislature and the executive branch in Republicans hands, it was more efficient.

But prior to Rick SNYDER becoming Governor, the old, less efficient individual budget bill process was used. In fact, even after Snyder took office in 2011, some lawmakers were skeptical of the omnibus bill approach (See "Richardville Even Odds On Omnibus Budget," 3/3/11).

The arrival of the Whitmer era, some assumed, meant a return to the pre-Snyder, department-by-department budget method, and that could still be what happens.

MIRS asked Senate Appropriations Committee Minority Vice Chair Curtis HERTEL Jr. (D-East Lansing) if he was surprised to see the omnibus budget bills pop up today.

"No, I wasn't surprised," Hertel said. "I'd always thought we'd use omnibus bills. The way I've looked at it, when we got down to it, we'd reach a deal. It wouldn't really be about this or that within individual budgets. And I still don't think that's what's going to happen.

"I don't see this as some kind of sign or signal that they (the Republicans) are doing something unexpected in any way," Hertel added.

MIRS pointed out that having the option of using the omnibus budget bill route or the department-by-department budget route would give the Republicans a choice as to which might be to their strategic advantage.

"They certainly do have options," Hertel said.

All 15 Senate Democrats who were present today voted against both vehicle omnibus bills Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0372 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0373. Neither bill included any spending, but could be substituted to include all general budget and School Aid Fund spending. In accordance with the fact that all budget action taken was procedural in nature, there was no debate and no amendments offered.

Eight of the 16 House budget bills were also taken up, amended to include no spending, passed and sent back to the House. All 15 Senate Democrats voted "no" on passage. The House budget bills are: Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4229, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4231, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4232, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4236, HB4238, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4239, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4241, and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4242.

Stamas was asked what's the next step in the budget process.

"The House will do the same as what we're doing now," the Midland Republican explained. "By the end of the week we'll start conference committees and then we'll start working on targets."

Here's how the budget proposals compare at this point:

- Gov. Whitmer proposed a $60.2 billion budget, 3.5% higher than the current year budget of $58.15 billion.

- The Governor's a General Fund budget of $10.66 billion is 2.2% higher than current year GF spending of $10.42 billion.

- The House proposed a $58.87 billion budget, a 1.24% increase from the current year spending.

- The House's $10.29 billion General Fund suggestion is a $188 million cut (1.8%) in current year spending. The House's General Fund budget is $427 million (4%) less than what the Governor proposed.

- The Senate's $59.39 billion budget is a 2% increase from current year spending. It's $10.48 billion General Fund is $51 million more or .4% higher than current year spending.

- The Senate's General Fund budget is $187 million lower (1.75%) less than what the Governor proposed.
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State: Enbridge Can Do Straits Sampling, Not Tunnel Construction

Enbridge said today it received "written confirmation" from the state to conduct work under a previously granted state permit that the company says will advance the company's tunnel project in the Straits of Mackinac.

However, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's office said it has "not authorized Enbridge to move forward with constructing a tunnel" and the approval in question is an "independent authorization" granted by the state in a permit awarded in January.

Whitmer spokesperson Zack POHL said "any work to achieve that objective is done at the company’s own risk."

In other words, Enbridge has the permission to collect these samples under its permit, but does not have the assurance the state will agree to the tunnel, Whitmer spokesperson Chelsea LEWIS said, given the permit doesn't depend on the state agreeing to a tunnel.

Nevertheless, between the state permit and a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Enbridge said it is now "fully authorized" to begin its "geotechnical program that will gather information to inform the detailed engineering and permit application efforts" related to the underground tunnel the company wants for a replacement Line 5 pipeline.

Enbridge said the state's confirmation preserves the schedule to complete the tunnel at the earliest possible date, which the company has said is 2024.

Scott DEAN, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) said the January permit was awarded after a 2018 hearing on Enbridge's application to take geotechnical borings to assess the feasibility of the tunnel project.

Dean also said the permit predates Whitmer's directive that ordered state agencies to halt work on the tunnel after Attorney General Dana NESSEL found the law enabling the project to be unconstitutional (See "Nessel: Line 5 Tunnel Law Unconstitutional; Gov Halts State Action On It," 3/28/19).

Pohl said because of Nessel's opinion, "the previous agreements authorizing a tunnel are void," but the EGLE permit from January remains in effect.

Enbridge has filed in court to have its tunnel agreements validated (See "Enbridge Asks State Court To Enforce Line 5 Tunnel Agreements," 6/6/19).

Whitmer has said during discussions with Enbridge that she's working to get the existing Line 5 out of the water as soon as possible.

However, the company said it can't accept what it said was the state's demand to close the existing Line 5 within the next two years, or before Enbridge can complete the planned tunnel, citing concerns over supplying energy to the Upper Peninsula and beyond.
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6-14-19; MIRS News Service, Lansing, Michigan

House Finishes Work On '20 Budget That Takes Sales Tax Off Gasoline

The House put the final touches today on its $57.7 billion Fiscal Year 2020 spending plan that swaps out the sales tax on gasoline for a higher gas tax so the $850 million a year in play goes entirely to the roads.

The Republican-backed plan uses the $500 million in School Aid Fund money that had been going to fund universities to replace the money lost through the loss of the sales tax on gasoline. To fund universities and local governments, the Republicans are counting on higher Internet sales tax revenue and about $425 million in General Fund cuts from the Governor's proposed budget.

House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and House Appropriations Committee Chair Shane HERNANDEZ (R-Port Huron) received a standing ovation as he walked into the caucus room after the passage of the final six budgets this afternoon.

"What we said from day one is that we're going to ensure that every penny that's paid at the pump goes to roads while also increasing funding to our schools, local units of government and higher ed," Chatfield said. "We kept our word. We followed through. We did what we told the people we were going to do and I'm proud of our product."

The main piece of the budget, the Transportation budget (Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4246), passed on a party-line 57-52 vote.

With the exception of a vote here and there on some of the 16 bills that make up the House budget, Democrats held hands and voted against the budget in solidarity. They questioned whether the math worked on a FY '20 spending plan that came in $1.35 billion less than what Gov. Gretchen WHITMER proposed.

"We don't need fake and false promises. Michigan families deserve better," said Rep. Abdullah HAMMOUD (D-Dearborn) of a plan that puts $200 million less into K-12 schools than what Whitmer put on the table. He referred to the Republicans' road plan as "half-baked."

Schools like his in Dearborn will see such a marginal increase under the plan that it won't cover the increased costs of educating kids, necessitating the laying off of some 60 staff. Republicans are spending $15 billion on K-12 education, 1.4% more than what was set aside in the FY '19 budget.

"A real conversation needs to take place about what is the best path forward," Hammoud said.

The Republicans' road plan calls for a two-year phase in of the gas tax swap. The legislation needed to make the technical adjustment was not passed as part of the budget bills that moved out of the House this week.

This week's action by House Republicans now sets the stage for real negotiations involving Senate leaders and Whitmer about what the final Fiscal Year 2020 budget looks like and to what extent a road funding plan is part of the equation. She is proposing a 45-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike that has universally been panned by legislative Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) has considered the '20 budget and more revenue for roads to be separate discussions. However, Whitmer said on the April 1 edition of MIRS Monday that she would not sign a budget that doesn't include a road-funding fix.

Bollin Gets Ball Rolling On Tolling
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has until March 1 to produce a study on the feasibility of using toll roads in Michigan, under a provision Rep. Ann BOLLIN (R-Brighton Twp.) successfully put into the MDOT budget.

The report needs to lay out the process, timeline and costs associated with turning some of the state's interstates into toll roads. Bollin said questions on tolling has come up on numerous occasions from her constituents.

"The opportunity presents itself. We need to do our due diligence and explore what it means to have toll roads in Michigan," she said.

According to MDOT, Michigan nearly had toll roads. In 1951, the Michigan Turnpike Authority was created to build turnpikes between Detroit-Chicago and Toledo-Bay City, but federal funding came in for these roads as part of the freeway construction projects of the 1950s and these roads became Interstate 94 and Interstate 75.

State Urges Prompt Repayment From Canada On Gordie Howe Bridge
Unless Canada promptly repays the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for any costs it picks up in the course of the Gordie Howe Bridge construction, Michigan will not be opening up its checkbook to cover any costs connected to building the span, under language changed in the Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4246.

As originally written, the administration was concerned that MDOT wouldn't be able to temporarily pay for pieces of the project that would ultimately be reimbursed by Canada. Rep. Matt MADDOCK (R-Milford), chair of the House MDOT Appropriations Subcommittee budget, said he was concerned about Michigan becoming "Canada's credit card."

The Budget Office and the Legislature worked on a new provision that clears up both of their concerns. Today's amendment also requires MDOT to kick over to the Legislature monthly reports on what Gordie Howe Bridge expenses it is temporarily paying for and how quickly Canada is moving to reimburse the state.

"It is encouraging that lawmakers recognize the value of the Gordie Howe International Bridge and the vital benefits to the flow of commerce between Michigan and our largest trading partner," said MDOT spokesperson Jeff CRANSON. "That's why business and labor leaders from across the state have offered their full-throated support for the project."

Upper Peninsula Plane Fight Amendment Grounded
A Rep. Beau LAFAVE (R-Iron Mountain) amendment to the MDOT budget that would have cleared the way for Upper Peninsula lawmakers to use state aircraft as a way to get back and forth to their remote districts failed to make the budget today.

U.P. lawmakers have argued for years that it's cheaper for the state to fly them to Lansing and back to the Upper Peninsula each week than to reimburse them for all the road travel they put on their vehicles (See "Lawmakers Drive Over 1,600 Hours A Year To U.P. Despite 269 State Flights," 4/3/19).
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Whitmer Champions Elliott Larsen; Republican Leadership Not There

With Gov. Gretchen WHITMER leading the charge, the LGBTQ community was back in the Capitol today with another attempt at expanding the state's civil rights law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Flanked by two gay lawmakers, a host of other Democratic legislators and other gay rights activists, the Governor called on the Republican-led House and Senate to do what other governors and legislators have not done -- widen the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act.

"This is not only the right thing to do, it's the right business thing to do," she said.

The message at the 9:30 a.m. news conference followed the same script as before. Gays and lesbians are being fired from jobs, losing their housing and being treated differently merely because of their sexual orientation.

One transgender woman of color noted that she had been threatened with "violence and murder" in Michigan and the current state law and policies are not discouraging the behavior.

Rep. Jon HOADLEY (D-Kalamazoo) said there was bipartisan support for the package in the House. Rep. Tommy BRANN (R-Wyoming) told Hoadley he would sign off because a constituent asked him to do so.

Even though the names have changed, the new GOP leadership remains just opposed as their predecessors.

The Governor was asked if she would try to convince House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) to go where others have not?

"Absolutely," she offered on her impending lobbying efforts. "Everyone is educable," she explained and then after the attendees erupted in laughter, she quickly interjected, "Now gosh. They're going to say we are at war." Then staring into the cameras, she added this coda: "We are not at war."

But she and they are at odds. She acknowledges that, "We may come from different perspectives in a different part of the state, but every one of us knows someone who is part of the LGBT community whether we recognize it or not . . . (T)hese are wrongs we are trying to right because it's good for the state when we put politics aside and put people first."

Chatfield, the son of a minister in Levering, said that "religious freedom" needs be part of this debate. Sen. Jeremy MOSS (D-Southfield) disagrees.

He reported that his Jewish religion "does not conflict with my sexual orientation and so there is no rub there that I can see."

Moss raised the topic of the soon-to-be-introduced legislation on the Senate floor.

"Back when the court struck down marriage inequality, I took to Twitter and I said, 'Now I'm just waiting for my grandma to call and tell me there was no excuse for me to be 29 and unmarried," Moss, the only gay state senator, recalled. "I was surprised when that remark resonated with so many people here and ultimately made MIRS Quote of the Year. My grandma got a kick out of that.

"Today, I have a resolution (SR 0054) to dedicate June as Pride Month and a bill for co-sponsorship to expand the Elliot Larsen Act," Moss continued. "When I get termed out of here, if I get fired for being gay or turned away from public accommodations -- and this happens to Michiganders in 2019 -- I just ask you to give me someplace to report it.”

Following Senate session, reporters asked Shirkey about the upcoming legislation to expand the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act to include those on the LGBT community.

"Any of my colleagues in either chamber [are] allowed to introduce legislation at their will," Shirkey responded. "I understand that we had legislation introduced today and that would just follow the regular legislative process and get assigned to a committee and we will just see what happens."
In this case, SR 0054, the Moss resolution to recognize June 2019 as LGBT Pride Month, was what the Majority Leader was referring to. It was sent to the Senate Families, Seniors, and Veterans Committee.

In a follow-up question, a reporter asked Shirkey what his position is on adding LGBT people to the list of those covered under the Elliot Larsen Act.

"All you need to do is a little bit of research to know where I stand on it," he said. "But I'm not going to get out in front of the process," Shirkey said. (See "Shirkey: 'MCRC Overstepped, We'll Respond," 5/22/18).
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1 month ago

Your Defending Fathers

God Bless them!!!

IJR Red Presents
They were so looking forward to seeing him!

For more from IJR, visit ijr.com/tag/donald-trump
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MIRS News Service

Other States Have Done Away With Term Limits, Mostly Through The Courts
Six other states have gotten rid of term limits after imposing them on their state legislatures, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

In Idaho and Utah, the state legislature itself repealed term limits in 2002 and 2003 respectively which they could do because the limits were enacted by statute in the first place. In Massachusetts, Washington, Wyoming and Oregon, term limits were tossed out by their state supreme courts. For three of those states, the issue was precisely that they had been enacted by statute. The courts said that because term limits were a qualification for office, they must be spelled out in the state constitution.

That leaves 15 states with some form of term limits on their state legislatures, including Michigan, which added term limits to the state Constitution at the ballot box by 59% of the vote in 1992.

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) said last week at the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island that he plans on challenging term limits at the end of his legislative career.

"I intend to address that issue three years from now," Shirkey said, explaining he plans to put a proposal in front of voters. (See "The Shirkey Shocker 'I'm Going To Test term limits'" 5/30/19).

Michigan's term limits have already been challenged in court, back in 1998, and they survived. The federal District Court ruled that while term limits do slightly narrow the field of candidates, they do not keep voters from electing candidates with whom they share views. The court also found term limits don't discriminate against minority or inner-city voters, since they apply to officeholders in every district.

Former Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE has long been a critic of term limits, so he thinks Shirkey is being bold, "showing leadership and not being afraid of backlash."

Richardville contended that while Michigan term limits have survived a legal challenge "it hasn't been challenged as a right to serve."

"I've always thought that a state rep who was in his third term should go sign up to run another time, turn in the information and all, which they would say is illegal, and then challenge it in court," he explained. ". . . It is supposed to be government of the people, for the people, by the people, and then you tell some of the people that have six years experience you can never be involved in your government again . . . I mean, don't we have a right to serve and be a part of our government in this country and in this state? I think we do."

Former Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF is another critic of term limits.

"I think they are a failed social experiment," Meekhof said. "We have undervalued experience. In most every other job in the United States and in Michigan, we want people who are experienced. We want the most experienced attorney. We'd like the most experienced heart surgeon or brain surgeon. We don't get the folks that are right out of college to do those very important tasks, and I would hope that they would be modified in some way."

Patrick ANDERSON, of the Anderson Economic Group, helped write the 1992 amendment and defends the concept to this day.

"Term limits have been a fixture of the United States of America for 200 years. Term limits were discussed by Thomas JEFFERSON and George WASHINGTON. Term limits was part of the United States Constitution when the territory that became Michigan came into the union. It's a good thing that the people 200 years ago didn't think that term limits was some kind of social experiment, because otherwise we'd be speaking with British accents," Anderson said.

He also counters the idea that term limits undervalue experience.

"Experience is a big plus and we wanted to have more experience in the Legislature when we drafted and circulated petitions and the citizens wanted more experience when they voted for it," Anderson said. "The difference is the citizens wanted more experience in actual real life as opposed to just experience as an officeholder. Your experience as a mother, your experience as a boy scout leader, your experience as a small business person, your experience as a community leader, your experience as a Rotary Club member, your experience as a church leader all matters. But in the pre-term limits era, that was getting more and more squeezed out by people who pursued being in office as a near lifetime occupation. We have a lot more experience now in the Legislature than we used to have, its just that the experience is now more balanced."

But Richardville contends that Michigan's term limits are the most restrictive in the county, limiting House members to three terms, for a total of six years. And NCSL information shows that no other state, of the remaining 15 with term limits, has terms shorter than eight years. Eight states allow eight years in each chamber. Four states allow 12 years in each chamber.

"If people knew the challenges of term limits, especially for House members that don't get to stay for very long, than they would agree that is too limiting. It is the most limiting in the United States. It is the least anybody can serve in this country is in the state of Michigan. So we have the most inexperienced lawmakers in the country. Now, I don't know that everybody would agree that that is a good thing," Richardville said.

He's like to see term limits extended, perhaps to 12 years in each chamber.

Anderson disagrees.

"Number one, the term limits we have on executive offices is exactly the same as the term limits that were established by precedent of George Washington 200 years ago and exactly the same that are in the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. So executive term limits are completely consistent with the 200-year-old precedent. The legislative term limits either match the executive ones, for the Senate in terms of two four year terms, or slightly shorter in terms of three, two year terms in the House. There is nothing here that suggests that term limits in Michigan are even highly unusual let alone the strictest in the country. Numerically, the House terms may be equal to the shortest in other states. it is an exaggeration to say they are out of the mainstream," Anderson said.

But Richardville contends the irony of term limits is that it has weaken the House of Representatives the most, the House which is supposed to be "the people's voice."

"The governor can have six years experience in the House, eight years experience in the Senate and four year experience in the governor's office, so a total of 18 years, when he or she starts the last term. You can build up a lot of allies, friends, power, influence -- in a good way, not a bad way -- against somebody that has only served for two years in the Legislature. (The House is) the people's voice. So the people's voice is the one that is being quieted the most," he contended.

Richardville argues that the Speaker of the House can run for that office with no more than four years experience under his or her belt.

"One of the biggest problems that is overlooked in term limits is the leadership experience. Most the arguments are how long you can serve and serve as a representative or as a senator. Now if I'm moving into leadership in a given area, for instance a committee, and can build strength and relationships there, that's good. But the Speaker of the House in Michigan cannot have that job with more than two or four years experience. How would you like your heart surgeon to be a rookie, somebody that only has two years experience," Richardville said.

Anderson admits that of all the arguments he's heard of term limits, that is "one of the ones that at least holds some water in the cup."

"I must say, even noting Mike Shirkey who made the remarks on Mackinac Island as somebody I'm disagreeing with on the need to change term limits, when I look at our current leadership in the recent past, Mike Shirkey is a very accomplished legislator and he is quite knowledgable. It is ridiculous to claim he is somehow inexperienced or incapable and he is the Senate Majority leader. When I look at (House Speaker) Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering), yes he's young, but he is a pretty active guy and I think he is going to be able to acquit his responsibility," Anderson said.

Anderson contended that he has always said he'd be willing to have a open, public discussion about term limits once the state has some experience with them.

"I'm open to having the discussion. But I'm not open to having a legislative leader pronounce on Mackinac Island, surrounded by lobbyists, that he wants to change the Constitution without consulting the people. I've yet to see an opportunity to have an open and informed discussion about the number of terms. Instead what I have seen is periodically, boom, lots of interest in abolishing term limits that often coincides with the Mackinac conference. And that's clearly not the opportunity to have a discussion in public," Anderson said.

Richardville on the other hand said he received a very strong reaction from a national organization at the mere mention of a desire to alter term limits.

"When I was leaving the House of Representatives, I saw this as a potential problem. Me being the floor leader during lame duck said, someone said, 'What do you think about term limits.' And all I said was, 'I think we should take a look at it.' That was all I said. And they had radio ads, television ads, they parked a big Trojan horse in front of my office. All because I made one comment. This national term limits group, they've got a lot of money, what they are trying to do is influence Congress . . . So they would come after anybody who said anything about term limits," Richardville said.
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MIRS News Service

Nessel Pledges June Action On Line 5 If Gov. Can't Reach Deal

Attorney General Dana NESSEL said in a series of interviews that she would take action to decommission Line 5 "in the month of June" if talks between Enbridge and Gov. Gretchen WHITMER don't go anywhere.

Nessel said that at the Governor's request, she gave Whitmer and Enbridge time to work out a deal that could involve a "more expeditious process" of having Line 5 decommissioned, a promise made by Nessel during her campaign to do just that.

"But I'm not going to wait forever, either, just knowing that every single day that goes by is a day we could have a spill," Nessel told MIRS in an interview on Mackinac Island this week during the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference.

Crain's Detroit Business reported today that the Attorney General said Tuesday she'd take action in 30 days, and also reported Whitmer said, "I don't think that's an unreasonable thing for her to suggest that we need to have a strategy that's public within the next month or so" and added later that, "We're moving forward and if we don't have resolution, it's going to play out, I think, in court. I don't think that's a good thing. But, ultimately, that might be where it's headed."

Whitmer spokesperson Tiffany BROWN said today that the "Governor's Office have had discussions with the AG's Office" and that Whitmer is "committed to a solution that protects the Great Lakes, removes the pipelines from the Straits as soon as possible and provides for the Upper Peninsula’s energy needs."

Nessel earlier this year declared unconstitutional the law passed in late 2018 that made way for the tunnel project. Whitmer ordered state agencies to halt work toward the tunnel project and has been talking with the company to get a deal done (See "What's Next On Line 5?" 3/29/19 and "Gov, AG Playing Good Cop, Bad Cop On Line 5," 5/8/19).

Nessel said this week she personally doesn't support encasing a replacement Line 5 in an underground tunnel. However, she said she's "not a policymaker" and that "no one elected me Governor" and that's for the Governor to decide, policy-wise.

But for Nessel, she said her obligation is related to the existing underwater pipeline, as she said every day that Line 5 continues to run, "our state is in great peril."

"I don't know if the economy of the state of Michigan will ever recover in my lifetime, should we have a spill of the kind of magnitude that we possibly could have," Nessel said.

Enbridge spokesperson Ryan DUFFY said today, "We continue to have discussions with the Whitmer Administration on finding a path forward for the tunnel project."

Duffy said the option to house a new Line 5 in an underground tunnel is "supported by more than half of all Michiganders, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce."
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Nessel Finds 15% Signature Requirement Unconstitutional

The new elections law requirement that no more than 15% of signatures gathered for citizens initiatives or constitutional amendments come from a single congressional district is unconstitutional, Attorney General Dana NESSEL opined today.

In response to a question posed by Secretary of State Jocelyn BENSON, Nessel wrote the new requirement creates an obstacle for voters without any support in the Constitution.

"The Michigan Constitution gives Michiganders the right to support change in the law, and while the Legislature can write laws to implement the process, the Legislature cannot cut voters out of the process," she wrote.

Rep. James LOWER (R-Cedar Lake), the sponsor of the legislature, said he's not surprised by the ruling. He felt, based on her earlier comments, that "she had her mind already made up."

"I'm not concerned. Once this is litigated in the courts, I'm sure it will be upheld."

Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura COX said Nessel has decided to "throw out a law she doesn't support on purely partisan groups."

Benson responded by saying, "I am grateful to Attorney General Nessel for clarifying the constitutional infirmities of Public Act 608. We will carefully review her opinion and update our guidance to potential petition sponsors, circulators and voters accordingly.”

Nessel also found that requiring a paid circulator to check a box on a petition that a volunteer circulator wouldn't have to check could lead to "circulator harassment" and create constitutional free speech issues.

The entire law in question, PA 608 of 2018, wasn't thrown out as unconstitutional, however. Nessel was fine with a provision that throws out any petition that includes mistakes invalidates the entire sheet.

In Opinion No. 7310, Nessel didn't opine on whether a challenge to a Board of Canvassers decision goes directly to the Supreme Court, but she did note that the Supreme Court may choose to direct any challenge to the Court of Appeals.

"Based on our review, this new law clearly violates the Constitution on several -- but not all -- fronts," Nessel wrote. "With these issues resolved, Secretary Benson and her team can now go forward in the work they need to do in managing Michigan's election process."
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Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Friday 5-24-19;
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"We have a deal",...No-Fault Auto Insurance Reform will be passed in Lansing, TODAY!!!

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

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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MIRS Breaking News - House & Senate Returning At 8 a.m. Friday -- Thursday, May 23, 2019 5:47 p.m.

The House and Senate will meet for a rare 8 a.m. Friday morning session tomorrow with the intent of wrapping up a no-fault insurance bill. Senate spokesperson Amber McCANN emphasized to reporters there is no deal with Gov. Gretchen WHITMER, but talks haven't fallen apart either.

The Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) is on standby to write up any substitute legislation that may be needed. The Senate and House have both adjourned for the day.

TuneIn to my radio show tomorrow at 9:00am - Noon to get updates from Lansing; www.yourdefendingfathers.com
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

Randy
3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Thursday 5-23-19;

Last day to vote for car insurance reform, before Mackinaw Conference next week!!!

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

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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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of "Your Defending Fathers" with "Trucker Randy", Tuesday 5-21-19;

Randy
3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Tuesday 5-21-19;

A car insurance reform deal,...will be done this week,....thanks to Dan Gilbert!!!

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

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 5-21-19;
MIRS News Service

Progress Made On No-Fault Discussions Amid Gilbert Initiative Pledge

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER met with legislative leaders again today on finding a compromise on automobile no-fault reform and the possibility of a deal coming together this week isn't out of the question, MIRS has learned.

Whitmer Communications Director Zack POHL said today, "We are pleased that the lines of communication are open among all parties and that talks are progressing. There has been more progress in the last four days than the last four years.

"Discussions are ongoing and the governor remains committed to auto insurance reform that protects Michigan motorists and provides financial relief."

The momentum toward a compromise was pushed over the weekend by news that Detroit-area developer Dan GILBERT is preparing to launch as soon as this week a citizens' initiative effort that would put before the legislature a no-fault auto insurance proposal that closely mirrors what the House and Senate already passed.

With Whitmer needing legislative support to raise money to "fix the damn roads" or achieve any number other priorities the next two years, the Governor already has appeared to concede on a key historical sticking point -- consumer choice in personal injury protection.

The ballot question committee has hired National Petition Management to collect the 340,047 valid signatures needed to put before the Legislature a proposal, that if passed, does not need the Governor's signature to become law.

It has hired the Dykema law firm to craft the ballot language.

The group is also willing to spend the money needed to get the signatures. The signature-gathering firm in question has a 100% success rate in Michigan in gathering the necessary number of valid signatures for whatever effort.

A source told MIRS on Saturday that the language for the proposal has been drafted and will be turned into the Secretary of State's office as soon as this week if negotiations over the current auto reform bill between lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen WHITMER stall.

"One way or the other, there will be reform," the source said.

As was done last year with the prevailing wage repeal, the minimum wage increase and the paid sick leave proposal, citizen groups can gather signatures to create a citizens' initiated law. Groups have within a 180-day window to gather the valid signatures from a number of registered voters that is equal to 8% of those who voted for governor in the last election.

Once the signatures are verified by the Secretary of State's office, the Legislature has 40 days to either approve, disapprove or do nothing with the proposal. If lawmakers do nothing or disapprove a proposal, it goes on the next general election ballot. If they approve, it becomes law without the Governor's signature.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

1st half hour discussion today, Friday 5-17-19;
MIRS News Service, Thursday, May 16, 2019

House Holds Off On No-Fault ‘In Good Faith’ In Talks With Governor

House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) announced they have had “productive conversations” on auto no-fault reform with Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and so, “in good faith,” will not vote on the legislation today.

In a joint scrum on the floor of the House this afternoon, Shirkey said he expected negotiations to continue over the weekend. He said, “Fine wine takes time, and this is a very fine wine for the people of the state of Michigan."

“We feel we are one step closer to finding real consensus to drive down car insurance rates. Because of those ongoing conversations and productive conversations, we’ve decided not to move on a bill today,” Chatfield said.

“The governor has finally, with her team, presented some things to us that actually move in a direction that we can have some optimism that we can get to a bill signing in the not too distant future,” Shirkey said. “I am more optimistic today than I have been in the last two weeks that we can accomplish that.”

Shirkey said he had seen some movement toward personal injury protection (PIP) choice and “they’ve backed away from basing fees on charges and they’re basing fees now on actual cost-controlled elements that we can all predict.”

Wednesday, the contents of HB 4397 were substituted into SB 0001 by the House's Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates and reported to the House floor.
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1st half hour discussion today, Friday 5-17-19;
MIRS News Service, Thursday, May 16, 2019

House Holds Off On No-Fault ‘In Good Faith’ In Talks With Governor

House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) announced they have had “productive conversations” on auto no-fault reform with Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and so, “in good faith,” will not vote on the legislation today.

In a joint scrum on the floor of the House this afternoon, Shirkey said he expected negotiations to continue over the weekend. He said, “Fine wine takes time, and this is a very fine wine for the people of the state of Michigan."

“We feel we are one step closer to finding real consensus to drive down car insurance rates. Because of those ongoing conversations and productive conversations, we’ve decided not to move on a bill today,” Chatfield said.

“The governor has finally, with her team, presented some things to us that actually move in a direction that we can have some optimism that we can get to a bill signing in the not too distant future,” Shirkey said. “I am more optimistic today than I have been in the last two weeks that we can accomplish that.”

Shirkey said he had seen some movement toward personal injury protection (PIP) choice and “they’ve backed away from basing fees on charges and they’re basing fees now on actual cost-controlled elements that we can all predict.”

Wednesday, the contents of HB 4397 were substituted into SB 0001 by the House's Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates and reported to the House floor.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd hour discussion today, Thursday 5-16-19;

www.facebook.com/truckerrandybishop/videos/2217987035181328/

Randy
3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”,
Thursday 5-16-19;

Citizen's Initiative will happen in Michigan!!!
Volunteer at this website; miheartbeat.org/

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

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 5-16-19;
MIRS News Service

Rep. Inman Indicted On Extortion, Bribery Charges

Rep. Larry INMAN (R-Williamsburg) was indicted today on attempted extortion and bribery for allegedly offering his "no" vote on the prevailing wage citizens initiative for $30,000 in campaign contributions, according to the indictment filed in the U.S. District Court's Western Division.

The term-limited House member proclaimed he's innocent of the charges, which stem from text messages that appear to show him trying to coordinate campaign money for 12 other members who could vote against the measure last June.

An indictment handed down Tuesday and filed today in U.S. District Court's Western Division alleges the Grand Traverse County lawmaker solicited contributions from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCCM) union, who opposed the initiative. His arraignment is May 23 and he faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted as charged.

"I am innocent of these charges. I have never compromised the integrity of my vote," Inman said in a statement released around 3 p.m. today. "I have always represented my constituency honestly and legally. I intend on vigorously fighting these charges and defending my reputation."
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

Speaker of the House - Lee Stephanie Chatfield delivers a great summation prior to the vote of No-Fault Auto Insurance Reform Bill H4397, which passed with bi-partisan support 61-49,...Good Job Lee!!!

Lee Chatfield
CAR INSURANCE UPDATE

This week the House of Representatives, in a historic vote, passed a bi-partisan solution to fix Michigan's broken car insurance system and lower rates for everyone in the state!

The House solution:

- Guarantees lower rates for all drivers, no matter what choice of coverage they decide
- Offers drivers choice on coverage and no longer requires that you purchase unlimited, lifetime health benefits
- Stops price gouging on medical services for accident victims by capping what can be charged for health services
- Combats fraudulent claims to help lower costs

Over 7 million Michigan drivers are fed up with paying the highest cost of car insurance in the nation, and it's about time the legislature and governor stopped being part of the problem and are finally part of the solution. Making car insurance more affordable is a top priority for the House, and we will continue working together to get this done for the people of our state!

Though the Governor has threatened to veto this bill that would lower rates, we will hopefully reach a consensus. The time for playing games with this issue is over. It’s time to solve the problem. The people of our state deserve it.
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 5-14-19;
MIRS News Service

No No-Fault Vote On Tuesday

A sure sign that talks have broken down on the inter-party differences over no-fault car insurance would have been a quick Senate vote on Tuesday to accept the House version that was adopted in the middle of the night last week.

MIRS has learned that will not happen Tuesday, which means the Governor, House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and the Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) still have a shot at finding a middle ground to avoid Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's not-so-thinly-veiled veto threat.

The Governor told reporters in Detroit today that there were no face-to-face talks over the weekend with the two GOP leaders and "none were scheduled for today" with the Governor reporting, "I enjoyed my Mother's Day."

However, there are strong indications that there will be some face-to-face contact sometime on Tuesday.

The Governor was quizzed on the GOP comments that the House plan addressed many of the issues the Democrats and the Governor had raised, but she remained on message countering that "there were too many loopholes" over any cost savings for motorists. The R's disagree.

Some in town have suggested that the Republicans are poised to send her a plan and let her veto it, but it appears that is not the number one strategy at this read as the trio has an opportunity to iron something out in their private talks between now and Thursday when the possibility of a Senate vote is real.

Meanwhile, House Democrats, who were deeply divided last Thursday with some of them ready to vote for the GOP plan, have some worries of their own.

If she eventually vetoes any GOP package, they may have to run for re-election in 2020 and then try to explain why they did not vote for rate relief when they had a chance.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

What happened in Lansing this week? Today's show, Friday 5-10-19;
MIRS News Service

Whitmer To GOP: 'Let's Talk;' Shirkey: 'I'd Be Delighted'

Complaining that the Republicans' no-fault auto insurance reform package does not contain real rate relief, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER is raising the veto card in one hand while reaching out to Republican leaders with the others.

Nine hours after the House vote (See "House Passes Insurance Reform With Mandated Rate Rollbacks," 5/8/18), the Governor opened up negotiations on bills that provide personal injury (PIP) choice for auto insurance ratepayers and create a fee schedule for hospitals and other health providers.

Whitmer told reporters that she's concerned the PIP choice in Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0001 or Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4397 won't guarantee ratepayers will pay substantially less for their insurance.

"I'm done playing games," the Governor said. "People deserve lower rates . . . I'm not here to dress windows."

Standing about 6 feet away from the Governor at a bill signing on an unrelated issue was House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) who told reporters afterwards, "I'm disappointed to see opposition to our bills, but I'm optimistic we're going to find consensus on setting rates."

The Governor is all in on chatting with the R's.

"If they are serious about getting this done let's negotiate and set the politics aside," she suggested.

Chatfield hinted that, perhaps, she was the one playing politics.

There's private Democratic speculation that the Republicans may want to set the Governor up -- send her a bill knowing she will nix it and then tell the public she had a chance to save them money, but she did not.

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) pleads not guilty. "There is no bone in my body that's trying to do that."

That aside, the two GOP leaders appear willing to talk with her. "I'd be delighted to talk with the Governor," Shirkey said in response to a reporter’s question about possibly getting Whitmer’s input on the legislation. "I'm would be willing to talk to her about any changes she might recommend," offered Shirkey who quickly added, "But there's no guarantee that that (the changes) will happen for heaven's sake. That's part of the process."

The Speaker explained, "We'll continue to negotiate in private, frankly, and have conversations and we can deliver real reform," he optimistically suggested while repeating, "There are savings in this package. There's rate guarantees for all drivers."

To which the Governor warns, "I'm not going to sign a bill that preserves a corrupt system, where insurance companies are allowed to unfairly discriminate in setting rates . . . I'm only going to sign a bill that protects drivers and these bills do not do that. There's no guarantee of savings."What happened in Lansing this week? Today's show, Friday 5-10-19;
MIRS News Service

Whitmer To GOP: 'Let's Talk;' Shirkey: 'I'd Be Delighted'

Complaining that the Republicans' no-fault auto insurance reform package does not contain real rate relief, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER is raising the veto card in one hand while reaching out to Republican leaders with the others.

Nine hours after the House vote (See "House Passes Insurance Reform With Mandated Rate Rollbacks," 5/8/18), the Governor opened up negotiations on bills that provide personal injury (PIP) choice for auto insurance ratepayers and create a fee schedule for hospitals and other health providers.

Whitmer told reporters that she's concerned the PIP choice in Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0001 or Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4397 won't guarantee ratepayers will pay substantially less for their insurance.

"I'm done playing games," the Governor said. "People deserve lower rates . . . I'm not here to dress windows."

Standing about 6 feet away from the Governor at a bill signing on an unrelated issue was House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) who told reporters afterwards, "I'm disappointed to see opposition to our bills, but I'm optimistic we're going to find consensus on setting rates."

The Governor is all in on chatting with the R's.

"If they are serious about getting this done let's negotiate and set the politics aside," she suggested.

Chatfield hinted that, perhaps, she was the one playing politics.

There's private Democratic speculation that the Republicans may want to set the Governor up -- send her a bill knowing she will nix it and then tell the public she had a chance to save them money, but she did not.

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) pleads not guilty. "There is no bone in my body that's trying to do that."

That aside, the two GOP leaders appear willing to talk with her. "I'd be delighted to talk with the Governor," Shirkey said in response to a reporter’s question about possibly getting Whitmer’s input on the legislation. "I'm would be willing to talk to her about any changes she might recommend," offered Shirkey who quickly added, "But there's no guarantee that that (the changes) will happen for heaven's sake. That's part of the process."

The Speaker explained, "We'll continue to negotiate in private, frankly, and have conversations and we can deliver real reform," he optimistically suggested while repeating, "There are savings in this package. There's rate guarantees for all drivers."

To which the Governor warns, "I'm not going to sign a bill that preserves a corrupt system, where insurance companies are allowed to unfairly discriminate in setting rates . . . I'm only going to sign a bill that protects drivers and these bills do not do that. There's no guarantee of savings."
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What happened in Lansing this week? Today's show, Friday 5-10-19;
MIRS News Service

Whitmer To GOP: 'Let's Talk;' Shirkey: 'I'd Be Delighted'

Complaining that the Republicans' no-fault auto insurance reform package does not contain real rate relief, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER is raising the veto card in one hand while reaching out to Republican leaders with the others.

Nine hours after the House vote (See "House Passes Insurance Reform With Mandated Rate Rollbacks," 5/8/18), the Governor opened up negotiations on bills that provide personal injury (PIP) choice for auto insurance ratepayers and create a fee schedule for hospitals and other health providers.

Whitmer told reporters that she's concerned the PIP choice in Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0001 or Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4397 won't guarantee ratepayers will pay substantially less for their insurance.

"I'm done playing games," the Governor said. "People deserve lower rates . . . I'm not here to dress windows."

Standing about 6 feet away from the Governor at a bill signing on an unrelated issue was House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) who told reporters afterwards, "I'm disappointed to see opposition to our bills, but I'm optimistic we're going to find consensus on setting rates."

The Governor is all in on chatting with the R's.

"If they are serious about getting this done let's negotiate and set the politics aside," she suggested.

Chatfield hinted that, perhaps, she was the one playing politics.

There's private Democratic speculation that the Republicans may want to set the Governor up -- send her a bill knowing she will nix it and then tell the public she had a chance to save them money, but she did not.

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) pleads not guilty. "There is no bone in my body that's trying to do that."

That aside, the two GOP leaders appear willing to talk with her. "I'd be delighted to talk with the Governor," Shirkey said in response to a reporter’s question about possibly getting Whitmer’s input on the legislation. "I'm would be willing to talk to her about any changes she might recommend," offered Shirkey who quickly added, "But there's no guarantee that that (the changes) will happen for heaven's sake. That's part of the process."

The Speaker explained, "We'll continue to negotiate in private, frankly, and have conversations and we can deliver real reform," he optimistically suggested while repeating, "There are savings in this package. There's rate guarantees for all drivers."

To which the Governor warns, "I'm not going to sign a bill that preserves a corrupt system, where insurance companies are allowed to unfairly discriminate in setting rates . . . I'm only going to sign a bill that protects drivers and these bills do not do that. There's no guarantee of savings."
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

1st hour discussion today, Monday 5-6-19;
MIRS News Service

Hornberger Describes 'Dismemberment Abortion' In Detail For Committee

Rep. Pamela HORNBERGER (R-Chesterfield Twp.) described to a committee today in detail what happens during a "dismemberment abortion" as she proposed legislation to outlaw the procedure and make it a 2-year felony in Michigan.

The second-term House member told the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee that dilation and evacuation abortions, commonly referred to as a D&E, is a "gruesome, horrific, and cruel abortion procedure whereby a tiny baby in its mother's womb is literally ripped apart," Hornberger told the committee. "Dismemberment abortions are typically used on babies that are between 13 and 24 weeks gestation."

She explained her Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4320 would outlaw D&E abortions, one of the common methods used for second-trimester abortions. That's as opposed to a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure, typically used for a first-trimester abortion or after a miscarriage.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4321, by Rep. Lynn AFENDOULIS (R-Grand Rapids), would set the penalties. An abortion would carry a two-year felony penalty with a $50,000 fine for the physician, the same penalty for partial-birth abortion.

"Where in any norm, or practice, or law is it acceptable to torture and dismember a living thing?" Afendoulis asked. "This practice is barbaric. It is agonizing. It is outrageous and it must stop."

"We are here because the lies have to stop," Amanda WEST, of Planned Parenthood, told the committee. "We must call these bills what they are, nothing more than an orchestrated national strategy by anti-abortion politicians to restrict abortion. Since 2010, anti-abortion politicians nationwide have quietly passed more than 400 medically unnecessary and politically motivated restrictions, putting a web of barriers that push safe and affordable abortions out of reach. In 2019 alone, more than 250 bills restricting abortion have been filed in 41 states."

West said that the number of bills indicates anti-abortion politicians are hoping to put a law before the U.S. Supreme Court in the hopes it will overturn Roe v. Wade.

Hornberger denied that as a motivation, asking if West thought such a bill would get past Gov. Gretchen WHITMER. She said she introduced the bill hoping Whitmer might consider it, but she no longer believes Whitmer will.

Rep. Kathy CRAWFORD (R-Novi) also said it is not her intent to take a law to the Supreme Court. She thinks the bills are just good public policy, and she plans to call a vote on the bills in the coming week. If reported, the bills would move to the Judiciary Committee for second review, Crawford said.

The committee testimony came from witnesses on both sides of the debate, but one exchange brought the issue to focus.

William WAGONER, who describes himself as a professor of ethics, told the committee that the abortion-rights witnesses "are talking about ways to kill an unborn living child."

"Ethically speaking, do you believe that women have a right to choose?" asked Rep. Cynthia A. JOHNSON (D-Detroit). She pressed him for a yes or no answer.

"We are divided in this country because the art of politics is the art of compromise, but to compromise, you have to agree on what the issue is," Wagoner said. "So, if the question for abortion, as you raise it, is is there a woman's right to make decisions over her body without government getting involved? Is that the question? Or is the question whether an unborn child has a beating heart that can feel pain? Is that child's life worthy of government protection? Neither one of us wants to ask the other question."

She pressed again: "Do you believe she has the right to choose?"

Wagoner: "I'll answer that question if you'll answer mine."

Attorney and pro-life speaker Rebecca KIESSLING told the committee she owed her life to anti-abortion legislators. Her mother had been raped and was looking for an abortion, back before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was still illegal. She contends her mother backed out of the abortion because it was illegal at the time and it was too expensive to go to New York.

Lauren OWENS, of the Michigan College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, spoke against the bills.

"We are alarmed at this potential restriction to access to women's health care and right to privacy. This ban would prevent physicians like me from providing safe, evidence-based health care to women in the state of Michigan," Owen said. "These bills create a dangerous environment for women by denying them access to evidence-based, medically preferred care.

"In some cases, these restrictions would jeopardize a woman's health and future fertility. Furthermore, these bills would impose felony criminal penalties on Michigan physicians who follow best practices for providing abortion care in the second trimester. This would place physicians in the uncomfortable position of having to deny a woman evidence-based, compassionate care that results in fewer complications."
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 5-6-19;
MIRS News Service

Hornberger Describes 'Dismemberment Abortion' In Detail For Committee

Rep. Pamela HORNBERGER (R-Chesterfield Twp.) described to a committee today in detail what happens during a "dismemberment abortion" as she proposed legislation to outlaw the procedure and make it a 2-year felony in Michigan.

The second-term House member told the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee that dilation and evacuation abortions, commonly referred to as a D&E, is a "gruesome, horrific, and cruel abortion procedure whereby a tiny baby in its mother's womb is literally ripped apart," Hornberger told the committee. "Dismemberment abortions are typically used on babies that are between 13 and 24 weeks gestation."

She explained her Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4320 would outlaw D&E abortions, one of the common methods used for second-trimester abortions. That's as opposed to a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure, typically used for a first-trimester abortion or after a miscarriage.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4321, by Rep. Lynn AFENDOULIS (R-Grand Rapids), would set the penalties. An abortion would carry a two-year felony penalty with a $50,000 fine for the physician, the same penalty for partial-birth abortion.

"Where in any norm, or practice, or law is it acceptable to torture and dismember a living thing?" Afendoulis asked. "This practice is barbaric. It is agonizing. It is outrageous and it must stop."

"We are here because the lies have to stop," Amanda WEST, of Planned Parenthood, told the committee. "We must call these bills what they are, nothing more than an orchestrated national strategy by anti-abortion politicians to restrict abortion. Since 2010, anti-abortion politicians nationwide have quietly passed more than 400 medically unnecessary and politically motivated restrictions, putting a web of barriers that push safe and affordable abortions out of reach. In 2019 alone, more than 250 bills restricting abortion have been filed in 41 states."

West said that the number of bills indicates anti-abortion politicians are hoping to put a law before the U.S. Supreme Court in the hopes it will overturn Roe v. Wade.

Hornberger denied that as a motivation, asking if West thought such a bill would get past Gov. Gretchen WHITMER. She said she introduced the bill hoping Whitmer might consider it, but she no longer believes Whitmer will.

Rep. Kathy CRAWFORD (R-Novi) also said it is not her intent to take a law to the Supreme Court. She thinks the bills are just good public policy, and she plans to call a vote on the bills in the coming week. If reported, the bills would move to the Judiciary Committee for second review, Crawford said.

The committee testimony came from witnesses on both sides of the debate, but one exchange brought the issue to focus.

William WAGONER, who describes himself as a professor of ethics, told the committee that the abortion-rights witnesses "are talking about ways to kill an unborn living child."

"Ethically speaking, do you believe that women have a right to choose?" asked Rep. Cynthia A. JOHNSON (D-Detroit). She pressed him for a yes or no answer.

"We are divided in this country because the art of politics is the art of compromise, but to compromise, you have to agree on what the issue is," Wagoner said. "So, if the question for abortion, as you raise it, is is there a woman's right to make decisions over her body without government getting involved? Is that the question? Or is the question whether an unborn child has a beating heart that can feel pain? Is that child's life worthy of government protection? Neither one of us wants to ask the other question."

She pressed again: "Do you believe she has the right to choose?"

Wagoner: "I'll answer that question if you'll answer mine."

Attorney and pro-life speaker Rebecca KIESSLING told the committee she owed her life to anti-abortion legislators. Her mother had been raped and was looking for an abortion, back before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was still illegal. She contends her mother backed out of the abortion because it was illegal at the time and it was too expensive to go to New York.

Lauren OWENS, of the Michigan College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, spoke against the bills.

"We are alarmed at this potential restriction to access to women's health care and right to privacy. This ban would prevent physicians like me from providing safe, evidence-based health care to women in the state of Michigan," Owen said. "These bills create a dangerous environment for women by denying them access to evidence-based, medically preferred care.

"In some cases, these restrictions would jeopardize a woman's health and future fertility. Furthermore, these bills would impose felony criminal penalties on Michigan physicians who follow best practices for providing abortion care in the second trimester. This would place physicians in the uncomfortable position of having to deny a woman evidence-based, compassionate care that results in fewer complications."
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3rd hour discussion Thursday, 5-2-19;
MIRS News Service

Senate No-Fault Proposal Expected Next Week

Senate Republicans are expected to roll out their version of a no-fault car insurance cost-saving proposal as early as next Tuesday after eight hearings in the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee on ways to lower rates.

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-ClarkLake) told reporters today that the issue is "progressing exactly as I hoped it would."

"Soon, you will see some movement on it," Shirkey said. "You can measure that in days, not weeks, probably. So, that's all I'm going to say."

As it stands today, the plan is to make the reveal on Tuesday, but that could change. Whenever it comes out, it's almost certain to face stiff Democratic opposition. Most of what the D's want isn't found in the GOP blueprint.

Democrats want a guarantee that cost savings in the system are passed onto drivers.

The GOP proposal has no such guarantee.

Democrats, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks PATTERSON and others want to keep the mandatory catastrophic health care coverage, but the Senate Republicans are opting for consumer choice instead.

A fee schedule on what providers are allowed to charge car accident victims is expected to be a part of the Republicans' proposal. Shirkey is expected to brief his caucus on it Thursday

House Minority Leader Christine GREIG (D-Farmington Hills) tells MIRS the cost guarantee provision is necessary. "We should have some kind of guarantee."

Does she trust the insurance industry to pass along any savings?

"I do not," Greig said. "They don't have a great track record. When we've negotiated in the past, they found loopholes to get out of the guarantee."

Sen. Aric NESBITT (R-Lawton), the sponsor of the auto insurance reform bill, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0001, prefers to let competition in the free-market system produce the savings and Rep. Triston COLE (R-Mancelona) concurs.

"By mandating rates, we're going to get one number, but if we let the private sector work this out through competition, we actually could get a larger number," Cole said.

On the fee schedule issue, Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN told Senate Insurance and Banking that the price spread for hospital services under the no-fault system is significantly higher than non-no fault health care plans. Hence, he and others favor a fee schedule to level out those gaps.

Earlier this year, Shirkey said doesn't like fee schedules, but, "I'm not afraid to do so if there is no right progress."

Patterson, privately, believes he has the House votes to again kill the choice option on catastrophic coverage, even though the Senate Republicans poised to make a run at.

Rep. Graham FILLER (R-DeWitt) said, "Brooks Patterson says a lot of things" and on this one, "I do not" think he is right.

"This works in tons of other states," he said.

One special interest lobbyist deeply involved in the issue is all but conceding the Senate will pass this. The real battle will be in the House.
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Conservative Leader Files Against Amash In MI-3rd CD

Former Sand Lake Village President Tom NORTON filed Friday to run against U.S. Rep. Justin AMASH (R-Cascade Twp.) in the 3rd Congressional District Republican primary in 2020. Since then, he's hired a professional campaign staff, began raising money and received endorsements from former Rep. Kevin GREEN and 2016 gubernatorial candidate Patrick COLBECK.

A 36-year-old Afghanistan War veteran, Norton has run for state representative and other posts before, but this is the first time he said he not running to make a point or advance a cause.

"I'm running to win because the people of the 3rd Congressional District deserve the type of representation that is responsive to veterans and the people of West Michigan," Norton said.

The Ada man said he's been humbled by the support he's received from the conservative grassroots, President Donald TRUMP supporters and establishment Republicans as he takes on the five-term incumbent whose stringent ideology has yielded some unpopular votes (See "Amash Challenger Talks Emerging In West Michigan," 2/27/19).

The votes aren't what is spurring the married father of three into the race. He said he's agitated that Amash and his staff do painfully little to help struggling veterans connect with federal services.

He said Rep. Bill HUIZENGA (R-Zeeland), U.S. Sen. Gary PETERS (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and U.S. Sen. Debbie STABENOW (D-Delta Twp.) all have staff that's responsive to constituents. For the limited government-minded Amash, from everything Norton said he's has experienced, it's just not a priority.

Norton said he had hoped to recruit someone else to run Amash, but "every single candidate" had either voted to support a gas tax hike or was weak on illegal immigration.

"I was shopping. I wasn't shopping or me," said Norton, a former Legion post commander. "But the more I talked with people, the more I had folks encourage me to do it."

The home improvement sales executive said he doesn't need a job. He figures that, in terms of pay, switching to be a U.S representative would be a lateral financial move. He loves his current job and running for Congress may be a bigger "headache."

But Norton said his work with West Michigan Veterans Ranch -- a network of individuals who help troubled who feel they've run out of options -- has inspired him to go to bat in Washington D.C. for those who fought for their country overseas and are hurting.

The support he said he's received so far from the Conservative Political Action Conference and the Kent County Republican Party has been "overwhelming," he said, as volunteers and contributors keep rolling in, he said.

"We're not playing around," he said. "If I have to sell my house (a rental property he still owns in Sand Lake) to represent the people the way they need to be treated, I'll do it."
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MIRS News Service

Lawmakers File Notice To Appeal Gerrymandering Decision

Michigan lawmakers filed today their notice of intent to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a federal judge's ruling that said Republican-led redistricting maps are gerrymandered.

U.S. Circuit Judge Eric CLAY's 146-page opinion released April 25 says every challenged district violates the plaintiff's First Amendment rights to associate with a political party, and ordered Secretary of State Jocelyn BENSON to conduct special elections in 2020 (See "Court Orders New Political District Maps; Special Elections In 2020," 4/25/19).

Clay also provided the Legislature the opportunity to come up with remedial maps, which must be passed by both chambers and signed into law by the Governor on or before Aug. 1.

The suit, filed in December 2017 on behalf of the League of Women Voters against then-Republican SOS Ruth JOHNSON, who has been replaced by Benson, a Democrat, alleges the redistricting maps are an "egregious example of party gerrymandering" (See "Suit: Republican-Led Legislature's District Maps Are Party Gerrymandering," 12/26/17).

Political observers questioned whether Clay's decision will ultimately stand (See "Gerrymandering Case To Be Tossed?" 4/29/19).

The country's highest court has already heard arguments in gerrymandering cases from Maryland and North Carolina, and a ruling is expected before the end of the current term. That decision could affect the Michigan case (See "Dems See Court's Gerrymandering Decision A 'Gift Two Years Early,'" 4/26/19).

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) told reporters today that Senate plans for possibly starting up a new redistricting process to comply with the federal court in the League of Women Voters gerrymandering case are "still under process" (See "Court Orders New Political District Maps; Special Elections In 2020," 4/25/19).

His remarks were in response to a reporter's question as to whether Senate leadership planned to start creating redistricting committees in response to the decision.

"The entire strategy for redistricting to comply with the federal court's ruling is still under process," Shirkey said. "(Creating committees or a committee) may be an option, but we're still working on how to properly respond."

A reporter asked what impact the court's decision would have on the Senate's attempt to tackle the budget, no-fault auto insurance reform and road funding in the months to come.

"It's a shiny object that we have to train ourselves to not pay attention to," Shirkey said. "But right now, it's kind of limbo. Until the United States Supreme Court makes their ruling, we'll proceed to follow the ruling the district court issued last week. That's going to take us weeks to put together. And we'll want to see what happens in the Supreme Court."

A reporter asked Shirkey what he thought of the district court's ruling.

"It wasn't the best surprise I've ever received," the Senate Majority Leader admitted.

Shirkey was then asked about the possible impact the court decision would have regarding term limits -- primarily the uncertainty as to whether state senators currently serving their second term would be eligible to run for reelection in 2020.

"That's one of the unknowns related to the ruling," Shirkey said. "As soon as we have some clarity as to what the Supreme Court's going to do; that will be the next question we'll have to finalize."
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MIRS News Service

3% Cut For State Departments In House Budgets

House Republicans cut the spending plans for three state budgets by 3 percent today as the lower chamber began moving its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget out of subcommittee.

Agriculture, Licensing and Regulatory, and the Judiciary all took a combined $1.9 million General Fund cut from the prior year, which the House subcommittees asked the departments to find in "administrative efficiencies."

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) took 25 percent slices in their information technology line. Judiciary's IT budget was cut 12 percent. Combined the cuts were $1.24 million out of the General Fund.

"The people of Michigan trust their representatives to be diligent with their budgets and that what they put together is efficient and effective," said Gideon D'ASSANDRO, press secretary for the House Republican caucus.

Many House Democrats withheld their support for the budgets, which came in at a combined $7.155 million in General Fund spending lighter than what Gov. Gretchen WHITMER recommended.
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MIRS News Service

AG, SOS, Civil Rights Get 10% Administrative Cut In Senate Budget

The Attorney General, Department of Civil Rights, and Secretary of State were among the departments to see 10-percent cuts to their administrative lines as part of a General Government budget that moved out of a Senate subcommittee this afternoon.

The cuts, along with the Senate's plan to scale back a Rainy Day Fund deposit from the $150 million Gov. Gretchen WHITMER proposed to $50 million, is part of an effort to put more General Fund money in the roads while also freeing up education spending.

All told, with the Rainy Day Fund deposit included, the General Government budget spends roughly $175 million less than what the Governor recommended.

The Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee's $912 million proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget for various state departments in Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0138 also leaves statutory revenue sharing at FY '19 levels. The Governor's proposal ultimately gave the locals a funding level that equaled 103% of their current-year levels.

"Our focus will continue to be moving the roads forward. In addition, we're going to be investing into early childhood education," said Subcommittee Chair Jim STAMAS (R-Midland).

With the department cuts, Stamas said he understands that some may question whether the department cuts are political, but he insists that "is not the intent." The intent is to find General Fund money for the roads and early childhood.

In the Secretary of State's budget, the subcommittee cut General Fund money to various divisions to get to the $4.62 million needed to implement the new Redistricting Commission voters adopted as part of Proposal 2 last year. The Executive Operations, Property Management, Legal Services, Branch Offices, and Election Regulations were all given a whack to get to that number.

Sen. Jeff IRWIN (D-Ann Arbor) voted against Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0138 advancing to the full Senate Appropriations Committee on the argument that the cuts weren't necessary.

The Secretary of State is a "forward-facing department" that works with the public on a daily basis and he's concerned that the cuts will hurt residents with longer lines at branch offices and slower responses when it comes to campaign finance and elections issues.

As it relates to implementing Proposal 2 and Proposal 3, "The Secretary of State really needs these resources to manage this transition seamlessly for the citizens."

When asked if he thought the cuts were political, Irwin said he's not ready to prescribe motives to what Stamas did. The chair is trying to pass a budget "that works" and Irwin just can't support Stamas' direction at this time.
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MIRS News Service

Senate Fully Implements 2015 Road Plan Without Whitmer's Gas Tax Increase

Exactly $0 of Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's proposed gas tax hike was funded in the transportation budget that moved out of a Senate appropriations subcommittee today.

However, the panel is fully implementing the 2015 roads plan a year early by putting into the roads the full $600 million of General Fund (GF) money, when the original plan for FY '20 was $325 million in GF.

Whitmer, in her Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget, had proposed raising the gas tax 45 cents over two years to generate a total of $2.5 billion in revenue, with $2.1 billion going into a new road fund with a new formula, according to the State Budget Office (See "Gov's New Formula Sends 70% Of New Gas Tax Funds To State Roads," 3/5/19).

In its version of the FY 2020 budget, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation included none of that.

The budget bill, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0149, was reported out today on a party-line vote, with both Democrats -- Sens. Adam HOLLIER (D-Detroit) and Rosemary BAYER (D-Beverly Hills) -- voting no.

Whitmer, in reaction today, threatened a veto if the Senate bill for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) budget ever reached her desk in its current form.

"Doing nothing is not an option," Whitmer spokesperson Tiffany BROWN said in a statement. "The governor is ready to work with the legislature, but the Senate GOP roads budget that passed today is not a real solution. It won't do anything to actually fix the roads."

A trio of groups -- the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Agri-Business Association and Tri-County Alliance for Public Education -- issued statements today criticizing Senate Republicans for not addressing "Michigan's crumbling infrastructure."

Bayer pointed out the Senate budget didn't include the Governor's $2.5 billion and raised concern over further deterioration of roads without further investment. Hollier asked committee chair Sen. Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City) to hold off voting on the MDOT budget today, but Schmidt said he wanted to move the process along.

Asked about Whitmer's proposal, Schmidt said new road revenues are a separate discussion, and that his job today was to provide a balanced budget with the money that's available now.

"Those discussions will be had . . . at a future date," Schmidt said, when asked about considering a smaller gas tax as an option.

Whether a road-funding fix is entwined with the FY 2020 budget or not has been a point of contention between Whitmer and Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) (See "Senate R's To Keep Roads And Budget Separate," 3/19/19).

Schmidt contended they were accelerating what was planned in the 2015 plan by funding the full $1.2 billion this year. According to the 2015 legislation, the plan was to use $325 million from the GF starting in FY 2020 and $600 million starting in FY 2021.

As part of the acceleration, the Senate put up $132 million in one-time funding, with roughly $84 million going to counties, and $47 million to cities and villages.

Republicans portray Whitmer's gas tax proposal as actually funding roads at an additional net $1.9 billion, as the Governor's proposal backs out roughly $600 million in GF dollars planned as part of the 2015 road funding plan.

The Governor's gas tax would have generated $834 million in new revenue for roads in FY 2020, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) analysis of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0149.

Otherwise in the MDOT budget, the panel chose to continue what's called the "Wayfair Earmark," which is the $143 million for roads as a result of increased online sales tax revenues resulting from the Wayfair court decision (See "House Reluctantly Goes Along With Fund Shift For Clean-Up, Roads," 12/21/18).

The Senate GOP also chose to divvy up increased revenue flowing into Comprehensive Transportation Fund (CTF) differently than what Whitmer wanted, including $1 million toward demolition costs for the Carbide docks and Soo Locks project, and another $16 million for freight rail economic development.

But otherwise, the Senate MDOT budget went along with many other provisions suggested by the Governor, including another $205 million in revenue increases to road and bridges, as well as the $58 million proposed for maintenance and maintenance materials increases.
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Nessel: 'It's About Enforcing The Law, Not Monitoring Speech'

Attorney General Dana NESSEL told the Senate Oversight Committee Tuesday that the 'Hate Crime Unit' she's created within her department is not building a database of various people's opinions and statements. She also asserted that the unit is all about enforcing the law.

"It is a law enforcement unit designed to ensure that victims of crime can access and receive the justice they deserve. "Nessel said. "Because I believe the denial of justice to even one person threatens justice for all people."

Creation of that Hate Crime Unit was precisely the reason Committee Chair, Sen. Ed McBROOM (R-Vulcan), had asked Nessel to appear at today's hearing. During her testimony, the Attorney General shared the microphone table with Sunita DODDAMANI, the assistant Attorney General who is the lead prosecutor for the Unit.

After opening her testimony by calling attention to a commemoration of holocaust victims and pointing out that many members of her family in Eastern Europe had been directly affected by it, Nessel methodically described what she said seemed to be misconceptions lawmakers had about the unit.

"First -- It is not policing thought or words," she asserted, and then quoted Oliver Wendel HOLMES saying: "If there is a principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought -- not free thought for those who agree with us, but freedom for the thought that we hate."

"Second -- The Department of Attorney General does not have a database where we log statements or opinions of people with whom we disagree," Nessel continued. "The department is a law enforcement agency and our mission is to protect the citizens of this state from harm and our efforts are directed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve that objective."

"Third -- Anyone can be a victim of a hate crime," she summed, pointing out two recent events: the massacre of Muslims in the Mosque in New Zealand and the even more recent example of the killing of Christians at churches in Sri Lanka.

"Two different religions in two different countries, separated by thousands of miles," Nessel observed. "But now, inextricably linked together as victims of acts of terror."

"We will not allow outside organizations to determine who we will, or who we will not investigate," Nessel continued. "We will investigate all credible allegations of criminal conduct."

"How do you define what is or is not a hate crime?" McBroom asked. "And how do you do that without considering their thoughts?"

"I have prosecuted countless cases under the Intimidation Act, generally speaking." Nessel responded. "What you do is; that you look at the committed offense and then the other factors surrounding the offense. Often, you'll have a person who just straight-out says, you know . . . makes a derogatory remark about somebody based on their race or ethnicity or gender or so forth."

"I can't tell you how many cases I had where we listened to jail tapes," Nessel continued. "Defendants will speak openly about the reason for their attack. So, in probably thousands of ethnic intimidations in the state of Michigan over the course of 30 years; that (whether it's a hate crime or not) is rarely an issue. And if it becomes an issue, of course, that's the burden of proof upon the prosecutor that they have to prove."

Sen. Peter LUCIDO (R-Shelby Twp.) took a different line of questioning.

"We've got 30 percent more hate crimes, Michigan ranks fifth highest in the country," he said, repeating information brought out earlier in the hearing. "We've got a host of these on the books about assault, aggravated assault and stalking and everything else. What kind of new hate crimes are we going to come up with?"

"There aren't new hate crimes, there are just hate crimes," Nessel answered.

"I've got an assault, now is it a hate crime that I assaulted somebody?" Lucido asked rhetorically. "The answer is 'no.' How do we tie it to a hate crime?"

"Any crime, Senator, that is motivated by bias . . ." Doddamani started to explain.

Lucido then asked if there was any data breaking down who was committing hate crimes in Michigan by age group and what has been the conviction rate for those charged with hate crimes.

Doddamani explained that the data was collected by the Michigan State Police, and following a brief back and forth exchange, she promised to get him data on the conviction rate.

"It was good to hear they're not intending to keep a database or lists at the state level," McBroom told reporters following the hearing. "I'm somebody who is very nervous about any database kept of people who have not been convicted of a crime. So, that was reassuring. I'd like to have more assurances that they're not going to be going over to the Department of Civil Rights and taking the list they (the Civil Rights dept.) say they're compiling."

"So, I still need some more assurances in that regard," he continued. "But it was reassuring that they're not compiling one."
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MIRS News Service, Lansing, MI

Senate Roads Budget Funds $0 Of Whitmer's Gas Tax; Fully Implements '2015 Road Plan

Exactly $0 of Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's proposed gas tax hike was funded in the transportation budget that moved out of a Senate appropriations subcommittee today. However, the panel is fully implementing the 2015 roads plan a year early by putting into the roads the full $600 million of General Fund (GF) money, when the original plan for FY '20 was $325 million in GF.

Whitmer, in her Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget, had proposed raising the gas tax 45 cents over two years to generate a total of $2.5 billion in revenue, with $2.1 billion going into a new road fund with a new formula, according to the State Budget Office.

In its version of the budget, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation included none of that.

The bill, SB 0149, was reported out today on a party-line vote, with both Democrats -- Sens. Adam HOLLIER (D-Detroit) and Rosemary BAYER (D-Beverly Hills) -- voting no.

Republicans contend Whitmer's proposal actually funds roads at an additional net $1.9 billion, as the Governor's proposal backs out roughly $600 million in General Fund dollars planned as part of the 2015 road funding plan.

Hollier had asked committee chair Sen. Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City) to hold off voting on the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) budget today. Schmidt said he wanted to move the process along.

Asked about Whitmer's proposal, Schmidt said new road revenues are a separate discussion, and that his job today was to provide a balanced budget with the money that's available now.

Schmidt contended they were accelerating what was planned in the 2015 plan by funding the full $1.2 billion this year. According to the 2015 legislation, the plan was to use $325 million from the General Fund starting in FY 2020 and $600 million starting in FY 2021.

Whitmer's gas tax would have generated $834 million in new revenue for roads in FY 2020, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) analysis of SB 0149.
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3 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Monday 4-22-19;

CALL TO ACTION; Tuesday, 4-23-19 12 Noon - Steps of the Capitol in Lansing,...ALL HANDS ON DECK!!!

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

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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Bill Allocates Electors By Congressional District For President - MIRS News Service

Rep. Beau LAFAVE (R-Iron Mountain) would eliminate the winner-take-all approach to allocating electoral votes in presidential elections in Michigan and award 13 electors on a congressional district-by-district basis.

His HB 4484, introduced this week, would award two electors at large to the candidate who wins the popular vote here.

"Anyone seeking the job of leader of the free world should have to earn votes from every area of our state," LaFave said. "The current system unfairly encourages presidential campaigns to focus solely on population centers like Detroit and Grand Rapids. People can completely ignore the U.P. and still win all of Michigan's electoral votes.

"Making this change would encourage candidates to campaign throughout our entire state, which will in turn encourage more people to get involved and improve voter turnout," LaFave said.

The idea is one that has some support among Republicans, who tend to only rarely win in Michigan, and little support among Democrats, who tend to do much better.

"Please tell Rep. LaFave to start over and next time show his work," responded Paul KANAN, spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party.

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake), on the other hand, is already on board with the idea, going on record in March as saying it is a better option than the National Popular Vote movement. (See "Shirkey Liking Idea Of Electoral College Votes By Congressional District," 3/14/19).

HB 4484 has been referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee for review. Rep. Vanessa GUERRA (D-Saginaw), minority vice chair of that committee, opposes the idea, noting that many believe the congressional district lines have been gerrymandered, so this proposal shouldn't be considered before the new lines are drawn after the 2020 census.

Guerra said she still wouldn't favor the idea even after those districts are drawn. She's more interested in the National Popular Vote movement, which would essentially do away with the electoral college altogether.

Under the bill, each political party would choose candidates for presidential electors during its state convention, just like under current law. One presidential elector would be chosen from each congressional district, and two electors at large.

Michigan has 15 electoral college votes in the 2020 election, but that is expected to drop to 14 after 2021 after the 2020 census is completed and the new lines are drawn.
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MIRS News Service

Can Michigan Really Shut Down Line 5?

Whether Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and Attorney General Dana NESSEL ultimately plan to decommission Line 5 is one question.

But another question is: Can they? According to retired environmental consultant Alex SAGADY, they can't.

Whether that's why Whitmer told The Detroit News on Tuesday she's reopened talks with Line 5 owner Enbridge isn't clear. But she is.

It raises the question about whether she's working with Enbridge now because, in part, she's doesn't want to drag a potential Line 5 removal suit through the courts, where the state could lose. Pragmatically, working with Enbridge to entomb Line 5 gets the light crude pipeline out of the water and doesn't come with a hefty legal bill.

Sagady -- who listed clients such as the Sierra Club and the Michigan Environmental Council, among others -- cited a federal law saying states cannot enforce "safety standards for interstate pipeline facilities or interstate pipeline transportation."

That's 49 U.S. Code 60104 (c), for those of you following along at home.

Sagady said Enbridge's Line 5 is an interstate pipeline. And he said any aspect of the state's 1953 easement to Enbridge having to do with safety and operation standards aren't enforceable because of this federal law.

Liz KIRKWOOD, executive director of For Love of Water (FLOW) and advocating for the state to initiate a shutdown, has a different view.

She said the feds and the state have a "dual role" in looking after Line 5: The feds' role relates to the safety and maintenance to the pipeline itself, while Michigan's relationship is "like that of a landlord-tenant relationship."

While the feds have primacy when it comes to safety regulations, the Line 5 pipeline issue deals with the public trust bottomlands in the Straits, Kirkwood said. The state is the "sovereign" and holds "the title to the land," making Enbridge "a mere tenant," she said.

"The pipeline cannot even exist in the Straits of Mackinac without the . . . authorization of the state," Kirkwood said ". . . It is a proprietary interest that the state has . . . which supersedes the regulatory authority that is limited to the federal government."

Sagady said this issue has been litigated, pointing to a 2006 federal case out in Washington state where the city of Seattle tried to compel pipeline operator Olympic to follow a city list of safety standards after a section of the company's pipeline exploded in a town 88 miles north of Seattle and killed three people.

The pipeline company won its case at the district court level – which determined that Seattle's regulatory efforts were pre-empted by the federal law – and the federal circuit court of appeals affirmed.

Sagady argued if Whitmer and Nessel tried to file against Line 5 in state courts, it wouldn't be long before Enbridge moved to have it transferred to federal court, where he would expect the pipeline company to succeed.

"They would file in state court, but it would never be heard in state court," Sagady said.

Yet, Kirkwood said that case is distinct from what's playing out here.

While she said Seattle's safety regulations violated federal primacy, over here in Michigan, "We're talking about state-owned public trust bottomlands, versus an effort to impose safety standards -- that's not what the state of Michigan is doing."

Environmental groups today continued to urge Whitmer to shutter Line 5, after Whitmer told The Detroit News editorial board that, when it comes to the prospect of a tunnel, "If it can help me get the pipeline out of the water earlier, that's something that is worth talking about."

The News ran a story with her comments today, prompting environmental groups to urge Whitmer to drop the tunnel idea.

"A tunnel to carry Enbridge's Canadian oil is not a solution that is good for Michigan and Enbridge cannot be trusted to honor its agreements or the law," said Sean McBREARTY, coordinator for the Oil & Water Don't Mix coalition, in a statement. "A tunnel would prolong the risk of an oil spill along 400 inland waters and Lake Michigan shoreline along which Line 5 runs in Michigan . . . Allowing Enbridge to build a tunnel and extend the life of Line 5 is the very opposite of what our state should be doing in dealing with climate change."

"State government's efforts should first and foremost be devoted to shutting the pipeline down, not negotiating its continued operation while a tunnel is explored and possibly built," Kirkwood said in a statement today.

The Governor said previously that her position is that she wants "the oil out of the water" and that she hasn't weighed in on the tunnel (See "Whitmer: I Didn't Weigh In On Line 5 Tunnel," 4/3/19).

Sagady pointed out that while environmental groups don't like the tunnel, labor unions support the tunnel construction and the jobs it would create, putting Whitmer between two key Democratic constituencies.

"They're going to disappoint someone," he said.

The Governor's office wouldn't weigh in today on Sagady's view of the Line 5 legal situation when asked. But Whitmer spokesperson Tiffany BROWN said that as "discussions with Enbridge and stakeholders are ongoing," the Governor is "committed to a solution that protects the Great Lakes, removes the pipelines from the Straits as soon as possible, and provides for the Upper Peninsula's energy needs."

Whitmer told MIRS after an event today, "I think that the paramount goal is to get the oil out of the water. And, if it's possible that we can negotiate something that gets it out faster and avoids litigation that is something I am open to pursuing, so we're having conversations."

Nessel said today she is "coordinating with the Governor and her team and making assessments about Line 5. Personally, the sooner Line 5 is decommissioned, the better."

A few House Republicans reacted today by casting Whitmer as being late to the tunnel party.

"It seems the Governor knows good policy when she sees it but has been too busy placating her political base to do the right thing -- until now," Rep. Triston COLE (R-Mancelona) said in a statement.
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