Local papers slam GOP for 'ridiculous power play' in Michigan


Michigan Republicans have used the lame-duck legislative session to thwart the will of voters — and the Michigan press is calling them out.

Michigan Republicans have been remarkably efficient at subverting the will of Michigan voters during the lame-duck session in the state legislature.

GOP lawmakers have undermined Michigan's paid sick leave law and decimated its minimum wage law. They've moved to weaken the powers of the incoming Democratic attorney general, preventing her from monitoring the flow of dark money in the state. They're pushing bills with language that frustrates the intent of the voters, who overwhelmingly backed a proposal that expanded voting rights.

Unsurprisingly, local papers are calling out this undemocratic behavior.

An op-ed from the full editorial board of the Lansing State Journal called the GOP's actions "a ridiculous power play" and told the Michigan Legislature that it shouldn't use the lame-duck session to override the will of the voters.

The bills pushed by the GOP, the paper said, are "offensive" and "controversial" and are being rammed through in a fashion that ignores the need for transparency.

Ultimately, the State Journal concludes, Michigan Republicans are acting with a "false urgency and secrecy that sends a clear message to every voter: What we, the Legislature, want is more important than what you want."

That paper isn't alone. The Record-Eagle, based in Traverse City, wrote an op-ed slamming the lame-duck session as a loser for voters.

"Hundreds of issues are being rammed through — on short notice, without proper hearing or public percolation," the Record-Eagle notes.

Over at the Detroit Free Press, an op-ed calls this lame-duck session "Washed-up legislators gone wild."

They're not wrong. As the Free Press points out, the structure of the lame-duck session decreases accountability. Too many legislators have nothing to lose because they're not returning next year.

"Just one week into their lame-duck adventure, this year's outgoing legislative class has already demonstrated its contempt for Michigan voters and the politicians they've elected to represent them in Lansing starting Jan. 1."

Finally, the statewide editorial board of MLive says that the lame-duck session has already been a time for the GOP to "undermine, subvert, and attack the will of Michigan voters."

Those spoke loud and clear when they elected Democrats for governor, attorney general, and secretary of state, MLive says. But now the Michigan GOP, "instead of respecting those decisions, is trying to render them moot by limiting the power of executive-branch officials."

All of this is a blatant power grab that represents a depressingly cynical worldview: The people shouldn't decide what they want because only Republican legislators get that privilege. That's why it is almost impossible to find anyone to defend this behavior.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.