While the Michigan lame duck legislative session continues its coup against democracy, as many as 18,132 Republicans in Livingston County have reason to be angry at their Republican representatives.
Those voters saw the fairness in the proposals on the ballot in November and joined many Democrats in voting for them, allowing all three to gain majorities here.
But now, the party of state Sen. Joe Hune, 42nd District state Rep. Lana Theis, and 47th District state Rep. Hank Vaupel are telling their fellow Republicans that they are too stupid to know what is good for them. They are taking a machete to Article 1 of the Michigan Constitution which states, “All political power is inherent in the people.”
The three local lawmakers are joining the rest of the GOP in ramming through legislation that overturns the will of not just their own constituents — but thousands of their fellow Republicans.
We know that Democrat Gretchen Whitmer won 39,187 votes in Livingston County, not a majority. And we know that Proposal 3, a liberal idea to protect our rights in the voting booth, got 57,319 votes here – 58 percent approval. Those extra 18,132 votes came from non-Democrats who agree that removing obstacles to registering and voting makes our democracy more fair.
Yet Lansing Republicans are working on a package of bills (SB1238-1242) that would gut the proposal by curbing its provision for same day voter registration. I can understand ignoring Democrats — but do local Republicans really want to tell 18,132 of their own supporters that their opinions expressed at the ballot box don’t matter?
The other two proposals — also liberal ideas — won majority support here, too. Proposal 1, legalizing the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana for personal use as well as regulating the commercial growing and sale of the product, passed with 54 percent of the vote. Its 52,295 votes were 13,808 more than Whitmer received here. Those votes came from Republicans who saw the fairness of treating marijuana like alcohol and ending the practice of putting people in prison for privately using or possessing small amounts of it.
The Republican message to those 13,808 voters? Take a hike. Republicans are busy with SB1243 to ban homegrown marijuana and to rip up provisions in the proposal that would split the tax revenue among schools, roads, and communities with marijuana businesses.
Proposal 2, the anti-gerrymandering measure, was the least popular of the three proposals here. But a majority of voters still saw the need for more fairness in how political boundary lines are drawn. The 52 percent margin meant there were 12,222 non-Democrats who backed it.
The GOP doesn’t care what they think, either. Republicans are working on SB 1254 that threatens to fine people $500 who apply to the non-partisan redistricting panel and don’t properly explain their political affiliation.
Obviously, there is a large segment of the GOP electorate who cares about fairness. I would invite them to call their local lawmakers and remind them what the Michigan Constitution says about political power. Their numbers are:
• State Sen. Joe Hune, (517) 373-2420
• 42nd District State Rep. Lana Theis, (517) 373-1784
• 47th District State Rep. Hank Vaupel, (517) 373-8835.
Then they should call Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at (517) 335-7858 and ask him to veto the bills because our arrogant Republican lawmakers won’t listen to the people who elected them.