Speaker Kevin Cotter's antics in Lansing may reveal an underhanded effort to raise taxes.
Personal ‘Impropriety,’ and the lack of ‘qualifications’ are two very different things. Of course the State Constitution allows each house to determine the qualifications to occupy a seat as a representative. It ALSO allows the house under certain circumstances to (remove) “expel” sitting representatives with a two thirds majority vote.
§ 16 Legislature; officers, rules of procedure, expulsion of members.
Each house, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall choose its own officers and determine the rules of its proceedings, but shall not adopt any rule that will prevent a majority of the members elected thereto and serving therein from discharging a committee from the further consideration of any measure. Each house shall be the sole judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its members, and may, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected thereto and serving therein, expel a member. The reasons for such expulsion shall be entered in the journal, with the votes and names of the members voting upon the question. No member shall be expelled a second time for the same cause.
Qualifications, elections, returns, are all specific to the elections, and the follow up is the expulsion clause.
Yet Kevin Cotter thinks that ‘qualifications’ are key to removing Courser and Gamrat?
The resolution was introduced Wednesday night by House Speaker Kevin Cotter. It calls for the formation of a select committee to examine the qualifications of Gamrat and Courser to hold office.
This is the first step towards a formal expulsion from the legislative body. Both members are under investigation for possible misconduct and criminal violations after an affair between the two came to light.
Qualifications have already been met. They were elected.
But it seems that there must not be enough support in the house to expel the two, or that would have been the go-to option. Cotter may have caucus support, but perhaps even most house Dems are likely to disagree with any of the promoted gas tax hikes, and and won’t jump on the expulsion bandwagon. Also, the Democrats have their own issues,
Despite having eight felony convictions and facing accusations of sexual harassment and residency questions, an incumbent state representative easily won re-election Tuesday.
The sexual harassment allegation was from a staffer. Crickets?
A political power struggle is happening. The Senate leadership wants it’s package passed, Cotter is hardly fighting it, and the not-so-subtle attempt to remove resistance for higher taxes in his own house by Cotter is hardly opaque. Before a full investigation is completed, the Michigan House Speaker has already laid the track for removal from the process, and promising the elimination of representation for the 80th and 82nd districts until this whole new gas tax thing (or the next big government play) has blown over.
Cotter’s efforts to remove the two could be a double blow to the 80th and 82nd districts as well. The initial lack of representation leaves the mostly conservatives districts without a voice, and the cost of a special election adds to the burden of each of the counties and townships where the election is held.
168.178State senators and representatives; vacancy in office; special election.The governor may call a special election as provided in section 634 in any senatorial or representative district of the state when the right of office of a person elected state senator or representative shall cease before the commencement of the term of service for which the state senator or representative was elected, or whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of state senator or representative after the term of service has begun for which the state senator or representative was elected.
The governor can only direct a vacancy to exist between the primary and the general of the next election.
What the speaker and many reps have forgotten, is the razor thin patience level many of us have with the GOP at this point. Gamrat and Courser have certainly disappointed too many of us on too many levels to count in the last year, but they have at least voted for the most part correctly this session in the eyes of conservatives. They have at least voted correctly on issues that the GOP at large pretends to stand for.
However, the current power brokering, influence peddling, and conscience-binding of the leadership is far more heinous to most of us than the personal failings of a couple of representatives. The stealing of our future with continued payouts to favored political interests, and rewards for political patronage are the real sins.
Perhaps graft is simply not a part of the qualifications that are met by the the two embattled reps which the speaker seeks to politically disembowel?