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.
Michigan 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:
“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.”
“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.”
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.
You Are Going to Know A Whole Lot Less The Next Time You Vote
The Michigan House and Senate sent a much revised and dramatically expanded Senate Bill 571 H-3 to Governor Snyder last Wednesday. Introduced by Senator Kowall as a 12 page bill establishing some esoteric campaign finance rules for various types of PACs in Michigan, this bill morphed into a 53 page political grab bag incorporating SB 638 S-2 at the very last minute. It creates a whole new way to conceal political expenditures from public scrutiny until long after an election is over. Think of it as the mafia’s code of omertà applied to Michigan campaign finance.
Now to the really devious aspect of SB 571 H-3, which our nitwit media missed. MCL 169.233(3)(a) currently requires ‘independent committees’ to report their financial expenditures on behalf of candidates and ballot questions four times a year. ‘Independent committees’ currently have to file reports on their campaign finance activities during February, April, July, and October. This is not quite a quarterly basis, but it is fairly well spaced out through the year. MCL 169.233(1) already exempts ‘independent committees’ from the regular election campaign statement reporting schedule – immediately before and after elections – required of most other committees. MCL 169.233(5) requires ‘independent committees’ to file reports of expenditures made within 45 days before a special election, but it is easy to use prepayments and accounts payable to avoid this window during most special elections. And this 45 day reporting window does not exist for regular elections. So you are only going to get quarterly reports from ‘independent committees, except in rare circumstances.
Section 33(3) of SB 571 H-3 completely eliminates the February campaign finance report for all types of committees, including independents. This creates a bastard reporting schedule consisting of two quarterly reports and one semiannual report five months after November elections.. Most political committees have to file pre and post election statements, so their campaign expenditures and sources of funds will continue to be known on a timely basis, regardless of this change. But independent committees are not required to file pre and post campaign reports for regular elections, so they will now have a six month interval after their October reports before they have to report their finances – on April 25th of the following year.
Kwame’s and Bobbie’s ‘Bridge of Bucks’ over Telegraph Road
Now that Michigan voters have mercilessly dispatched Proposal 1 to the garbage can of history, lets talk a bit about the philosophy of a truly effective plan to get Michigan’s roads and bridges up to par. This will provide a proper foundation for developing a ‘Plan B’ which will actually improve Michigan’s roads and bridges, and be acceptable to the population as well.
The underlying premise of Proposal 1 was that the only action required to fix up Michigan’s roads and bridges was injecting big money into the Michigan Transportation Fund. The depraved philosophy of modern American government. Not true and the voters knew it. But Michigan’s power elite believed that opposition could be neutralized by icing a pile of feces with chocolate frosting. Didn’t work despite a lavish $ 10 million effort.
The condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges has only a casual relationship with the funds available in the MTF. In 2014, 11% of MTF funds were siphoned off by various State of Michigan Departments in the form of charge backs for ‘services’ rendered to the MTF, as well as priority grants that have little to do with roads and bridges. Debt service is also a component of this 11%, but that is effectively a payment for previous time preferences of bureaucrats and politicians. Then 9.5% of the remainder was diverted to the Comprehensive Transportation Fund for mass transit. Finally, the MTF was partitioned amongst the State Trunkline Fund (36%), county road agencies (34.6%), and cities (19.8%). In each partition, further funds are siphoned off by charge backs, pension payments, and OPEBs. What’s left for the roads is more a function of politicians and bureaucrats preferences at every level than the amount of money front loaded into the MTF.
So how do we proceed? First develop a philosophy to frame and inform the ‘Plan B’ debate. After the fold.
RightMi.Com editors weigh in on their favorite anti-prop 15-1 articles.
We’ve had plenty to say about proposal 15-1.
In fact, there was so much to be said that we had to create a special category for it, and all things leading up to, and related have been edited by Kevin to reflect their importance to the issue. While the traditional media sources play the equal opportunity game with both proponents and opponents of HR UU (proposal 15-1), it’s been our position to not do so. We have maintained that equal opportunity is already a function of those who would lie about its ‘advantages,’ and it needs no further promotion to make it one of the most dangerous options Michiganians have ever faced at the ballot box.
As we wrap up the arguments with only 2 days left before the polls close, RightMi.com editors thought it important to offer up a few ‘MUST READS!’ As you make a special trip to the polls for an election day that you wouldn’t have if the last legislative session would have done its job we have highlighted the most compelling. The editors have selected 5 or more articles from RightMi.com directly, and one other from anywhere else, traditional or otherwise.
MITA gave another $ 25,000, new total circa $ 5.42 million
Michigan Aggregates Association gave $ 20,000, their first act of obeisance
PVS-Nolwood gave $ 25,000, new total $ 75,000
Operating Engineers Local 324 gave $ 35,000, new total $ 135,000
The motives of three late contributors are pretty obvious. PVS-Nolwood is a chemical company in Detroit specializing in acids and their disposal. As [a very profitable] part of this business, they unload neutralized acid byproducts on wastewater treatment plants as clarifiers. Those wastewater treatment plants just happen to be owned by various units of government which, in turn, use their water billings to rape the public at large. PVS-Nolwood have a long history of sucking up to Michigan’s power elites to further their very lucrative business interests.
With one week until the special statewide election next Tuesday, the Safe Roads Yes ballot campaign is deploying teams of volunteers to call voters and track down unreturned absentee ballots over the proposed constitutional amendment linked to boosting road funding $1.2 billion annually [No it DOES NOT. That is disinformation, Chad.]. The campaign wouldn’t divulge who will be on the bus. [maybe an AFSCME stooge?]
“I don’t care what side you’re on, everyone agrees Michigan’s roads have gone from bad to worse, and they’ve got to get fixed,” said Roger Martin, spokesman for the Safe Roads Yes campaign.
Best guess, the merry screw ups at the Detroit Regional Chamber have created a new ballot question PAC to replace their recently terminated – and heavily cited – ‘Detroit Regional Chamber PAC II‘ ballot question PAC. DRC PAC II earned eighteen citations from the SoS since 2013 for filing screw ups. DRC PAC II filed a dissolution notice on 02 April and paid the $ 875.00 dissolution fee on 07 April. ‘Powering the Economy’ has the same address as the Detroit Regional Chamber, One Woodward Avenue in Detroit – which used to be known as the MichCon or ANR Building before Dan Gilbert bought it. And DRC has trademarked ‘Powering the Economy’ as one of their signature catch phrases.
Somebody is ignoring Michigan’s campaign finance laws. Not just ignoring them, trampling them. But this has been a routine practice during the Proposal 1 proponents’ campaign. Our Attorney General is supposed to enforce these laws, but he hasn’t been exactly active on this front despite Schuette ostensibly opposing Proposal 1. So all we can do at this late date is tell you about another scam behind Proposal 1 and let you spike this dragon at the ballot box. Sweet revenge is $ 9 million of your opponents’ money down the drain. Vote May 5th.
The Michigan Department of Transportation is negotiating a lower lease rate for 23 passenger railcars now costing taxpayers $3,000 a day to sit idle. But the length of time the state could have to lease the cars before it can use them has doubled from two years to four years, according to a report sent to state lawmakers.
At the current lease rates, that means MDOT [taxpayers] would have to sink about another $4.4 million into lease charges before it is able to put the cars into service.
The Free Press on Feb. 1 broke the news of the idle railcars, which are intended for two proposed commuter services in southeast Michigan and so far have cost the state [taxpayers] about $12 million in refurbishment, consulting [more graft] and leasing costs since 2010.
A half decade. 5 years and the plan is – there is no plan? Despicable. To say that This Guy is an incompetent boob and complete charlatan is an insult to incompetent boobs and charlatans who are forced to somehow figure out ways to survive in the private sector.
Wait until you discover zero sales tax dollars goes to roads, and the Education Fund doesn’t mean money going to schools. Enjoy.
Think those additional costs on shipping goods to stores aren’t going to be passed along to you on top of the direct personal hit to the wallet? Better think again about that.
Thanks for voting against this convoluted, Snyder invented perpetual tax hike during the lame duck, Rep. Franz. Also, thanks for being the only Rep. to address this, and the fact there are multiple “Plan B’s” in the works.
And, to you out there who are appalled that Lansing had the audacity to foist this abomination onto us, you better get off your asses and Vote NO on May 5, because the news outlet editorial page propagandists pushing Snyder’s agenda is already ramping up their “it’s all we got” meme as noted here and here.
Remember, requirement is 50% + 1 stinking vote is all it takes to entrench this mess into our constitution.