Michigan Senate GOP votes to strip power from incoming Democrat attorney general

Michigan attorney general-elect Dana Nessel. - Dana Nessel/Facebook
Dana Nessel/Facebook
Michigan attorney general-elect Dana Nessel.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday afternoon approved a bill that would strip power from incoming Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The vote to do so fell mostly along party lines.

House Bill 6553 grants the Republican-led legislature authority to jump into any court case in which residents are challenging the GOP's unpopular laws. Nessel has said she won't use state resources to fight for laws that she sees as unconstitutional, such as one that allows adoption agencies to choose not to adopt to same-sex couples.

Democrats have promised a legal challenge to the GOP's power grab, and many experts view the proposed law as clearly unconstitutional. That's partly because they believe it violates the Michigan Constitution's separation of powers clause, which in part states: “No person exercising powers of one branch shall exercise powers properly belonging to another branch, except as expressly provided in this constitution.”

In short, the Republican-led legislature is attempting litigate and enforce the law, which is the job of the executive branch.

The bill is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk for a signature or veto. 

A bill that would've stripped power from incoming Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is, as of Thursday afternoon, dead.

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