Friday, May 9, 2014

Lansing political shenanigans, part 12352138

Posted By on Fri, May 9, 2014 at 2:20 PM

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Democracy. (source: Wikimedia Commons) If you thought our dear legislators in Lansing could not perfect the art of politicking any better, you can rest easily. With the Great Lame-Duck Session of 2012, one may have thought the starry-eyed display of elected leaders cannon-balling legislation that received about as much thought as a sandwich order couldn't be topped. Surely, Lansing's ratfuckery in passing a fresh emergency manager law a mere six weeks after voters rejected a similar statute could not be overshadowed. But, breathe a sigh of relief: Our great lawmaking bodies have found a revamped way to go about their business, one that expedites the democratic process, eschews the will of the people, and makes our ballot sheet a convoluted mess in the name of ... uh, ratfucking, we guess? Enter state Senate Majority Leader Randy "End-Run" Richardville.

Lansing — Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville introduced legislation Thursday that provides a small increase in the state’s minimum wage to $8.15-per-hour, while potentially blocking a ballot proposal from raising the rate even higher.

The Monroe Republican’s legislation would repeal Michigan’s 50-year-old minimum wage law in an apparent attempt to prevent a workers’ rights group from asking voters to gradually increase the $7.40-per-hour minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017.

So, the ballot initiative to boost Michigan's minimum wage to $10.10-per-hour would accomplish that by amending the state's 50-year-old minimum wage law. Ricky End-Run's legislation, whether he'll own up to it or not, would repeal that minimum wage law before enough voter signatures for the $10.10 wage are collected to place it before voters in November. Got that? In 2012, the Legislature waited until the emergency manager law was repealed until they passed similar legislation. Now, they're preemptively passing bills to forego any challenge at the ballot box. One could say it's brilliant. But, really, it's pure ratfucking.

Richardville spokeswoman Amber McCann danced around questions late Thursday about whether the Monroe Republican was trying to torpedo the minimum-wage campaign altogether.

“The legislation’s not designed to negate the ballot initiative,” she said. “The legislation is intended to raise the minimum wage.”

Richardville’s spokeswoman added: “Whether or not that ballot initiative persists ... ultimately that might go to court. The majority leader is more focused on redirecting this conversation to the Legislature.”

Oh, please. First of all, although Ms. McCann is paid to be a flack, to suggest End-Run's legislation is not designed to negate the $10.10 wage ballot initiative is, no matter how you spin it, a farce. And whomever drummed up this idea to pass a bill for that reason is probably being taken out to P.F. Chang's for their brilliance this evening. If the state's minimum wage law is repealed, the very one the $10.10 group is trying to amend, then, yeah, it's going to cause some legal problems. Also, if it's End-Run's game to redirect the conversation back to Lansing, one of his colleagues already proposed a similar bump to $8.15.
Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) had already introduced a bill to raise the minimum wage to $8.15 an hour, but McCann said Richardville was "more focused on his legislation" than the Jones bill.
Sure, he probably is more focused on his bill, as it would blow up the $10.10 ballot initiative and likely drive down the number of voters who support Democratic candidates. We seem to recall the only ballot referendum the Legislature hasn't tried to obliterate recently was one that requires women to buy a separate insurance rider for abortion coverage. By the way, how's that going?

More by Ryan Felton

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