Part Time Legislature

Greasing The Monkeys

Apparently there is never enough choice choking regulation for some in our legislature.

car-repairWithout written permission to spend less, your auto repair bill will cost you more.

Incredibly, that first line above was a last minute ‘fix’ in HB4344.  Prior to it being added as an amendment by Pete Petallia, there was no wiggle room for any aftermarket part that wasn’t subjected to the extremes set up by the automakers to make their parts competitive.  The section of HB4344 addressing this:

House Bill No. 4344 as amended May 31, 2016

1  original warranty, or during the first 5 years of the vehicle  manufacturer’s original warranty, whichever is less, the motor  vehicle repair facility shall replace the major component part, and  a person that is an owner or operator of the motor vehicle repair facility shall ensure that the major component part is replaced, with 1 of the following:

(a) A new original equipment manufacturer part.

(b) A used or recycled original equipment manufacturer part.

(c) A part that meets any applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards established under 49 CFR 571, and meets the standards for parts recognized as OEM comparable quality as verified by the Certified Automotive Parts Association, NSFInternational, or another nationally recognized automotive parts testing agency.

(d) A part that does not meet subdivision (a), (b), or (c), if the facility is directed by the owner of the motor vehicle in writing to install that part.]

Michigan Capitol Confidential might be thanked for bringing this up originally.

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Absentee Voter Ballot Applications Available Now

You Can File One Form For Both The State House Primary and the Presidential/General Elections

Michigan Capitol ImageThe standard form required to request an absentee ballot in the upcoming August 2nd Michigan primary and November 8th general elections is now available online as a .pdf file here. The large print version of the application for the visually impaired as a .pdf is here. Completing and filing this application also gets you the ballot(s) for any local candidates and/or issues also voted on in August and November.

Absent Voter Ballot Application Header
Just download this application form, fill it out, and mail it to your clerk.

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Democratic Socialism Comes to Southeast Michigan

RTA Funding Could Buy All Their New Riders New Cars, And Pay For Their Fuel and Insurance To Boot!

RTA Transit Map aThe new Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan is out today with their transportation master plan to soak taxpayers in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties for another $ 3.3 billion in property taxes over a 20 year period.Michael Ford Smiling RTA CEO Michael Ford released the regional mass transit plan RTA will submit to voters on November 8th under PA 387 of 2012. A 1.2 mill property tax increase and $ 1.7 billion in new Federal & State subsidies will provide four new bus rapid transit lines, 11 cross county connector lines, one regional rail line, and some extended/intensified local service.

Let’s have some fun by subjecting the new RTA regional mass transit plan to some real, pre Common Core, mathematics.

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Forensic Audit – Now!

Rhodes Image 1aRetired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven W. Rhodes, now the Detroit Public Schools’ ‘Transition Manager’, just let another financial whopper out of the bag. Detroit Public Schools received about $30 million in U.S. Department of Education reimbursements for the pensions of grant-funded employees, but failed to forward those federal funds to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. So DPS owes MPSERS $ 30 million dollars, give or take. They are ‘negotiating’.

DPS officials knew of this funds misappropriation in December 2015. Judge Rhodes knew “in March 2016”. Before or after the Michigan Legislature got suckered into passing HB 5296 and HB 5385, the DPS emergency bailout and purported financial review commission?  HB 5296, the $ 48.7 million emergency DPS bailout, cleared the Michigan House on 17 March and the Michigan Senate on 24 March. Governor Snyder signed it as Public Act 54 on 12 April.

Did anyone in Lansing know that 60% of the PA 54 DPS bailout was headed straight to the MPSERS?

If so, why did they not share this little detail with the rest of the Legislature and the public prior to the passage of HB 5296?

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Irony

i·ro·ny (ī′rə-nē, ī′ər-) Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity.

Lansing City Hall & Court ComplexMichigan House Speaker Cotter just lost a round in the Courser/Gamrat felony criminal case preliminaries. Ingham County District Court 54-A Judge Hugh B. Clarke Jr. ruled Friday it would be “patently unfair” for Gamrat’s and Courser’s attorneys to not have an opportunity to question Cotter in their defense:Judge Hugh Clarke, Jr.

“Without answers to these questions, the Court cannot adequately balance the rights of the Defendants against the right of the Speaker to be free from being compelled to testify,” the order states.

“To make this decision, the Court believes an in camera hearing with counsel for the Defendants, Speaker Cotter and his attorney is warranted. This procedure would allow the court to properly balance the interests of the Defendants against the privilege sought to be accorded Speaker Cotter.”

Speaker Cotter has been claiming immunity under Public Act 27 of 1984 in Judge Clarke’s courtroom:

“AN ACT to provide immunity from civil action to members of the legislature of this state for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; to prohibit members of the legislature of this state from being made parties to contested cases or other administrative proceedings for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; and to provide for certain exemptions from subpoenas.”

Specifically Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity from a subpoena ad testificandum under the third section of PA 27 of 1984

MCL 4.553
Subpoena as to statements made by legislator
Sec. 3.
A member of the legislature shall not be subject to a subpoena for any matter involving statements made by the legislator pursuant to his or her duty as a legislator.

The issue here will be that the legal action against Courser and Gamrat in Ingham County District Court 54-A is a criminal action, specifically a felony action, not a civil action. Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity under a statute which pertains to civil actions, not criminal actions.  Michigan’s legislators have no constitutional or statutory relief from subpoenae in felony matters.

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21st Century Education Commission

This Summer's Dog and Pony Shows Commence With A Brazen Common Core Promotion

Dog and Poney Show Image 4Governor Snyder announced his 21st Century Education Commission in Executive Order 2016-6 last week. According to his press release:

“The commission will be responsible for analyzing top performing education systems in the nation, identifying issues impacting Michigan’s academic success, and recommending changes to restructure Michigan’s education system.”

You will be forgiven for harboring suspicions that this is another vehicle to promote Common Core. It is. Same type of political сове́т that did such a fine job promoting Proposal 2015-01.  Remember TAMC?  This playbook is getting old.

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RICO !!!

It's Spring and Lawsuits Are Busting Out All Over

Blind Justice Image 3Just a few short weeks ago, it appeared that the Presidential race and State House elections would dominate political news in Michigan for the rest of the year. Now it appears that courtrooms in Detroit and Lansing will provide compelling political drama as well. Drama which is going to cost Michigan taxpayers a bunch of money.

There have been a number of lawsuits filed over the Flint water fiasco (over 71!), but yesterday a consortium of law firms filed a Federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Flint residents using the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This represents a whole new level of legal pain. Civil RICO provides for treble damages when a pattern of racketeering is proven to have occurred over time. It also guarantees the plaintiffs’ lawyers fees, a small fact which assures that civil RICO lawsuits will be pursued with enthusiasm to the bitter end. Conviction applies the stigma of typical previous RICO defendants, such as mobsters and drug kingpins, to a losing defendant. Michigan, at large, is a defendant in this suit. Capisce?

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The Pig You Are Stuck With

Good luck on getting rid of THAT one.

1444000527v0f4pSome people think that a recall is the wrong way to remove bad actors from our elected positions.

So much so, that the Michigan legislature fundamentally changed the recall process from a difficult process into a bad running gag. The rules change to the recall process enacted in 2012 Became a more limited operation with shorter windows, an unconstitutional ‘factual’ requirement, and then an automatic insertion of the candidate back on the ballot as the default party candidate.

IMHO, those who voted for the recall provision changes are political reprobates.  The changes made the extremely difficult into the insurmountable, removing a tool in the tool box of the electorate. (Just the way non responsive big government types want)

Example?  Current efforts in Michigan to recall Rick Snyder now a total of four signature gathering operations, and other recall efforts (state senators) total about six more. With the window of 60 days (it was 90) to collect 790,000 signatures for any one of the Snyder recall efforts, it is likely an impossible task.  Add to that number, about 20% (150,000 signatures) more as a buffer.

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Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Cattle Roundup Image 1

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Some boys goes up the trail for pleasure,
But that’s where you get it most awfully wrong;
For you haven’t any idea the trouble they give us
While we go driving them all along.

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

When the night comes on and we hold them on the bedground,
These little dogies that roll on so slow;
Roll up the herd and cut out the strays,
And roll the little dogies that never rolled before.

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Traditional 19th Century American Cowboy Cattle Drive Song

Rhodes Image 1aMichigan’s tax-and-spend establishment continues to demonstrate world class tactical flexibility as they pursue their dubious ends. Their latest tour de force is the setup for the impending Detroit Public Schools bailout. Michigan’s legislators are being driven like cattle.

The new state appointed emergency transition manager of the Detroit Public Schools, retired U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven W. Rhodes, announced that the district would shut down on April 8th due to a lack of funds. This chilling announcement came a week after Governor Snyder appointed him to replace Darnell Early, who resigned at the end of February. Darnell Early, for some reason, failed to inform Michigan of the April 8th drop dead date. Judge Rhodes made his announcement four weeks in advance of the projected shutdown in a full court press to get a bailout from our State Legislature.

Detroit Public Schools LogoThe first problem here is the State Legislature is scheduled to take two weeks off in the four weeks leading up to April 8th. The last week of March and the first week of April. Judge Rhodes certainly knew this, so the dilatory announcement is unquestionably a deliberate effort to stampede the Michigan Legislature into immediately delivering $ 50 – 70 million to DPS, no questions asked. Two weeks is not a reasonable legislative time frame, rather it is herding legislators like cattle on a two week drive. An echo of the tactics used by Judge Rhodes to ram through the bungled Detroit bankruptcy.

Governor Snyder has been floating an inchoate plan to rescue the Detroit Public Schools since the middle of last year; one which originally envisioned the creation of a ‘bad debt’ shell district and a new, debt free district by cellular division. Wasn’t really well received anywhere, even after he added dissolution of the much hated Education Achievement Authority. As his problems in the Flint water fiasco have mounted, Governor Snyder decided to wash his hands of the DPS situation by throwing $ 700 million at them to extinguish their ‘operating’ debt and return control to the next generation of local thieves elected school board members.

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Bitter Consequences

Scorched Earth Politics Isolates the Republican Establishment in Michigan

Mitt Romney Image 1Anyone who watched or listened to Mitt Romney’s lame assault on Donald Trump yesterday had to wince at the Obamacare architect and gun control proponent questioning the bona fides of the current Republican front runner. Hypocrisy at its finest. A blatant violation of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment. A testament to the abject desperation coursing through the Republican establishment today. Stark evidence of how few friends the Republican establishment actually owns has.

Just how did the Republican establishment get themselves into this predicament?

What does their predicament portend in Michigan politics?

This year’s Presidential nomination process demonstrates convincingly that money is no longer a substitute for actual human support in a political process where the great unwashed get to vote. Money – and the TV advertising it bought – had a 40 year run buying elections, but this elixir of modern American politics is no longer working. ¡Jeb! is very expensive history. The great unwashed are in open revolt.

Ace over at the Ace of Spades HQ blog offered the very best analysis of the national Republican establishment’s current predicament, which compelled Mitt’s embarrassing performance yesterday. You should read it in its entirety, but in a nutshell:

The Republican establishment has no one credible to make their case against Donald Trump. Absolutely no one who has even a shred of credibility with Trump supporters. They sent Mitt Romney out on yesterday’s kamikaze mission because they had nothing better to offer. Then they will have to spend a mountain of wealth with no real prospects of success. And engage in strong arm tactics. Making an embarrassing spectacle of themselves.

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