Our Republican lawmakers in Lansing have been working hard and burning the midnight oil the last two months of the lame duck session. They churned out a myriad of bills for the outgoing Governor to sign. They earned every dollar the special interest groups sent to Lansing during their term. 

A Bill I found interesting would change Michigan’s system for addressing industrial cleanup sites. The legislation locks in outdated toxicity criteria when assessing contamination criteria, making it easier for manufacturers to pick up and move without a cleanup or encourage redevelopment of contaminated sites. The next time you see one of these lame ducks on Main Street ask them how does that Bill protect the people of Michigan.

Another Bill I found interesting was the ballot initiative restrictions. Apparently our Republican Party feels that we the people aren’t smart enough to have an idea that would benefit us and the State of Michigan. So they came up with the bright idea making it more difficult to collect the necessary signatures to place our ideas on the next ballot. Apparently they don’t want us meddling in their affairs; all they want from us is our vote. Why couldn’t they come up with an innovated idea for lowering our auto insurance? 

The Dark Money Bill was passed by the state house. This legislation would shield the identities of nonprofit donors, including those to political advocacy groups. The Bill would make it a misdemeanor for a public official to require nonprofits to disclose their donor list for governmental review. So much for transparency in government! I may be interpreting this Bill wrongly but I would expect to see a Bill like this proposed in the senate of a third world dictatorship. 

I haven’t looked at all the Bills the lame ducks passed the last two months; but the ones I looked at, I felt had little or no benefit for the middle class electorate and the State of Michigan. One of the characteristics of modern day politics is not just advancing the party boss’s agenda and that of the special interest groups, but looking for ways to reduce the power of the other side when occupying positions of power. Republican strategist Ken Sikkema said when it comes to a backlash against Republicans he’s not worried. He said “voter attention span is relatively limited and several months from now, or in the next election, no one is going to remember what happened in the lame duck session of 2018.” A party boss with that mentality sure makes it difficult for me to be an independent voter. Apparently, he and the party he speaks for considers the voters of Michigan a rabble of dull dolts?

You have to ask yourself what makes a politician feel a pat on the back from a lobbyist or the party boss is more important to them than the respect of the people back home that elected him? Welcome home all you lame ducks. 

—Tom Janicki