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Recall Language Filed Against Meekhof

Recall language against Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) was filed with the Secretary of State’s office for the leader’s support of the higher gas tax and the vehicle registration fee bills that came with last month’s $1.2 billion road funding package.

Frank BOERSMA of Holland, an alleged political independent, is receiving assistance from the grassroots conservative group, iCaucus, led by Tom NORTON. The same group is advising a recall attempt in Traverse City against Sen. Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City) over the same votes for the transportation package.

The stated reason in Boersma’s petition reads, “Roll Call Votes Numbers 475 and 476 as recorded in Senate Journal 100 Dated November 3, 2015; Increasing the vehicle registration tax (475) and diesel and gasoline fuel (476).”

The Board of State Canvassers are tentatively scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 29 to discuss this and re-filed language on the Schmidt recall, which canvassers rejected on Dec. 14 (See “Schmidt Recall Petition Language Batted Away By Canvassers,” 12/14/15). Schmidt’s newly proposed language reads nearly identically.

Norton said he’s working with a couple conservative organizations, a tea party and another individual involved in the liberty movement. The message he’s hearing from all of the groups and individuals is the same:

Passing a road funding package that raises the gas tax 7.3 cents a gallon and driver registration fees 20 percent to the tune of $600 million (See “Snyder Says He’s ‘Ready’ To Sign $1.2B Road Plan Into Law,” 11/3/15) is a slap in the face to the 80 percent of Michigan voters who voted against the $1.9 billion funding package known as Proposal 1, Norton said.

“When you don’t respect the vote of the people, you don’t have a democracy. You have tyranny,” Norton said. “On this, they told 80 percent of voters to fly a kite.”

Asked earlier this week if he thought those putting together the recalls were “yahoos,” as Schmidt called those organizing the recall again him, Meekhof went a different direction.

“They are obviously folks that have passion,” he said, adding that he received 12 emails from residents after the road package passed and of the seven from his district, four said he did a good job and three said he didn’t.

“That’s a pretty normal day,” he said. “There was no outrage from folks.”

Meekhof said it’s important to point out that voters made it clear that fixing Michigan’s roads should be the Legislature’s top priority and that’s what he did as leader, working hard with the Governor’s office and the House to reach a compromise.

What was signed into law also included a tax break component that should be highlighted as much as the revenue increases for the roads, he said.

If the Canvassers shoot down the Meekhof language and Schmidt language, Norton said supporters of the recall would try again.

“If they kick us back, we’ll do it again,” Norton said. “At some point, we’ll get it right. We’re not going away.”

The state’s recall law is much different than the one successfully used to bounce former Rep. Paul SCOTT in 2011. Revisions made by the prior Legislature dictate that if Boersma collects at least 22,387 signatures within a 60-day window, Meekhof would not be subject to an up-or-down vote on his ability to stay in office.

Rather, Meekhof would, if he so chooses, be the designated Republican on a General Election ballot and would be pitted against whichever Democrat wins a special recall primary in either May or August. If Meekhof were to opt to not run to retain the seat, the Republican nominee would also be selected during the same recall primary.

Since the Ottawa County-based 31st Senate District is the state’s most Republican county at 72 percent, it’s likely an independent would be run in the special general recall election. That person would need to collect between 1,500 and 3,000 signatures during a 10-day period to make the ballot.

Kevin Rex HEINE, who is advising the group pushing the recall, said “active planning” is taking place on recalling a third senator with “strategic discussions” taking place on between six or seven more.

“Two filed, eight to go,” said Heine, who described the group’s overarching strategy as being a “particularly lethal hybrid of thinking like (Ulysses) GRANT and (Robert E.) LEE,” the two former Civil War generals.

“General Grant was well known for being less interested in what his enemy was doing, and more interested in what he was going to do to them,” Heine said. “General Lee was well known for informing his corps commanders as to the operational objectives, and letting them handle the details.”

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