Bills from the Boonies: 5 most recent proposals from Michigan’s fever swamps

Sometimes things get so out of hand it becomes hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Fortunately, we’ve developed a tried and true system for dealing with this: lists of said chaff. So here are five of the most recent examples of proposals from Michigan’s fever swamps, which we affectionately call “Bills from the Boonies.”

Passing suspicion-based welfare recipient drug-testing.

Because Republicans only believe in “small government” when it doesn’t involve vaginas or poor people, Republican lawmakers in Lansing passed a bill that institutes suspicion-based drug screening for welfare recipients. You’d almost think they believe being poor is a crime, so they should treat poor people like criminals.

Privatizing Michigan’s education system.

If you want to send your child to a school with fancy ads and poor results, Michigan may be the place for you in the near future.

Now, the same people whose opinion of the average welfare recipient is so low that they passed a law instituting suspicion-based drug testing, think women can’t make their own decisions, and believe homosexuals account for half the murders in large cities, have decided that it makes sense to give those same people a $5,000 voucher-card to shop around and purchase an education for their children.

Apparently poor people, women and gays can’t be trusted to make their own personal decisions – but when it comes to shopping around for their kid’s school? No problem.

Privatizing Michigan’s prison system.

This week, the Detroit Free Press’s Stephen Henderson said what everyone’s been thinking about Michigan’s alarming taste for secrecy and privatization:

Privatization might sound, in theory, like the way to bring Michigan’s prison costs under control.

But because the desired outcomes in the corrections system are about more than bottom-line dollar analyses, privatization is just not likely to deliver.

We couldn’t agree more (and would add education to that list). As we pointed out yesterday, voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea government should be so small you could drown it in a tub.

Literally taking from Michigan’s most vulnerable and giving to insurance companies. 

For the second time since taking control of Lansing, Republican politicians are working to gut Michigan’s model no-fault insurance system. What’s different this time? Rick Snyder is on board with the plan.

The Republican plan to gut auto no-fault (known affectionately as “Snydercare” around our office) would fundamentally change how auto insurance works for Michigan drivers.

The insurance industry won’t make any promises of cost savings beyond the first year in exchange for a cap on lifetime benefits. The cap won’t be fixed to inflation, so it will decline every year, making it easier for them to no longer pay for care for seriously injured drivers. Every driver will be forced to purchase more insurance to protect themselves from drivers with insufficient coverage. And once you pass the lifetime cap, which could happen in days or hours, that’s it. You’ll be forced to pay, or forced to rely on Medicaid and other public programs.

Even worse? The MCCA, the organization tasked with administering Michigan’s auto no-fault reimbursements, is based in the Cayman islands. In defense, their Executive Director Gloria Freeland said, “To simplify the tax treatment of these investments, the MCCA uses a Cayman-based financial vehicle.”

Robbing our schools to give to our roads.

Sometimes life just ain’t fair. Naturally, after Gov. Snyder failed to sell Michiganders on his proposal fund Michigan’s roads through increased “user fees,” he and his Republican colleagues decided the easiest way to raise the funds would be to pillage our education funding (again).

Don’t get us wrong, we should absolutely raise money to improve our roads, but now that the “user fees” proposal has failed why not just call them taxes for better roads and be done with it?

In the meantime, we should immediately start re-investing in our education system. Come on, it’s for the children.

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  1. Bert Johnson – Do we have a legitimate State government? - May 15, 2013

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