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Michigan legislature under fire for pullback on Dem power

Detroit NAACP condemns move

Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Correspondent | 12/13/2018, midnight

Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony isn’t taking the latest efforts by the outgoing Republican administration in Michigan sitting down.

Anthony, who’s president of the NAACP in Detroit—the Civil Rights organization’s largest branch—is leading an effort to stop several bills proposed by lame duck Republicans who lost the midterm elections.

Anthony said the actions taken by the GOP-led legislature are “more crooked than the great train robberies committed by Jesse and Frank James in the Missouri territories.”

“The only thing the legislature in Michigan lacks is a face mask and a six-shooter,” Anthony said. The outspoken Anthony listed seven bills as troublesome:

• Senate Bills 1238-1240 undercuts the Promote the Vote proposal.

• Senate Bill 1254 undercuts the anti-gerrymandering proposal.

• Senate Bill 1252 shifts the oversight of campaign finance law from the incoming Secretary of State.

• House Bill 6553 would allow the Michigan House of Representatives and the Senate to interfere with legal proceedings involving the state (traditionally the responsibility of the state Attorney General or the Governor’s office).

• Senate Bill 1175 would change the way employers provide paid sick time and the number of employers exempted by various business entities.

• Senate Bill 1171 would gut the minimum wage initiative, a measure that would assure the minimum wage would rise according to inflation. “Rogue lawmakers are already trashing the one fair minimum-wage agreement, fought for by workers across the state,” Anthony said.

• Senate Bill 1182 would change the way law suits and civil actions should be awarded to both the attorneys representing the plaintiffs and the defendants. “It is designed to discourage citizens and organizations filing civil actions against various injustices,” he said.

Anthony told NNPA Newswire that the actions are “a treacherous mean-spirited, underhanded and deceptive Republican theft of what should be a democratic process.”

“They have not gotten the memo that we won the election and they are mad, and they are upset and trying to offset the result of the election by setting themselves up to maintain power before the Democratic administration can come in,” Anthony said.

Together the proposals, which would still require the signature of outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, would essentially take away or greatly diminish the power from Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel.

The GOP-sponsored bills came within hours of similar efforts in Wisconsin, where lawmakers voted earlier to shift clout to the Republican-controlled Legislature and weaken the Democrat replacing the GOP governor.

In January, Michigan Democrats will jointly hold the governor, attorney general and secretary offices for the first time in 28 years, but the Legislature will continue to be controlled by Republicans.

A day after GOP lawmakers finalized an unprecedented maneuver to gut minimum wage and paid sick leave laws, a Senate panel passed legislation that would create the Fair Political Practices Commission to enforce the campaign-finance law rather than Benson, who ran in part on a pledge to advocate for election transparency.

Democrats called the bill a blatant power grab that would fly in the face of voters, according to NBC News.