The wolves and women of Michigan can now claim something in common — democracy denied. And GOP Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville thinks it’s cause for humor.
Earlier this year, GOP lawmakers denied voters the right to decide whether insurance should cover legal abortions, forcing women to purchase a special rider policy for the procedure — a form of insurance that is not even available. They enacted the veto-proof law after Michigan Right to Life successfully completed a petition drive to put the question on the ballot. Knowing the measure did not enjoy popular support, lawmakers bypassed democracy and forced their archaic views on the public, compromising the health of Michigan’s women.
Yesterday, the Senate voted to do the same with the wolf hunt initiative, approving it in the face of certain voter disapproval. The measure now heads to the House, where it is expected to get the same treatment. Even those that may support the hunt should be outraged that they will be denied their democratic right to vote on this contentious issue. Voters sign petitions with the expectation that a popular vote will take place. The provision allowing lawmakers to bypass that process was intended for use when a measure already enjoys broad popular approval. This one, just like the abortion insurance initiative, does not have that kind of support.
Snubbing the democratic process will be the legacy of this legislature.
When voters repealed the emergency manager law in 2012, GOP lawmakers already had a nearly identical version of the law written and ready to go, with an appropriation attached to make it referendum-proof. They passed the doppelgänger version within weeks of the repeal, in spite of the fact that doing so is unconstitutional under the provisions of the referendum process.
They similarly made an end-run around a successful citizen-driven effort to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The initiative was to amend an existing statute, but GOP lawmakers rendered their efforts moot by repealing that law, and replacing it with a take-it-or-leave-it “compromise” bill which offered a lower increase, thereby ensuring it will never keep pace with the cost of living.
It’s a pattern of pure arrogance, illustrated at its ugliest through the “joke” passed along to the press corps in the Senate yesterday. As they were condemning Michigan’s wolves to an expanded hunting season that is most certainly not grounded in science, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville took a moment to strut his hubris. MLive reporter, Jonathan Oosting, posted this in the comments section of his article on the topic:
Richardville is right in one way, editorial boards and voters across the state will be howling about their lack of statesmanship as we run-up to this November’s general election.