Pass the Supplemental Budget!

Last Thursday the Michigan Legislature reached an agreement on the $975 million left on the table after Gov Whitmer was forced to line-item veto the GOP last-minute budget. But Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey(R) has rejected it saying he doesn’t trust the Governor. The proposed deal would have restored those line item vetoes which include Health Services, Public Education, Public Safety and many other services. Shirkey didn’t like the agreement because it didn’t include a new law which would restrict the Administrative Board. The Administrative Board allows the Governor to transfer funds within departments and was originally established by Governor John Engler(R). It was last used in 1991. Governor Whitmer has made numerous public statements saying she will not use the Admin Board further but Shirkey insists she is untrustworthy. There is no evidence that Governor Whitmer is untrustworthy. She has made every effort to work with the GOP-led Legislature, including a public vow she would not transfer any funds included in the negotiated budget.

Mike Shirkey(R) needs to approve the Supplemental Budget because the effects of his political gambit are starting to be felt.  Already, rural hospitals have put themselves on high risk for closing. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office has had to pull road patrol officers off the street and some school districts have had to deny teacher supply requests.

Call these Republicans in the Michigan Senate and tell them we need Mike Shirkey to work with Governor Whitmer and sign the Supplemental Budget

Sen Mike Shirkey(R)  – (517) 373-5932 Sen Jim Runestad(R) – (517) 373-1758
Sen Kenneth Horn(R)  – (517) 373-1760 Sen Dale Zorn(R) (517) – 373-3543
Sen Peter McGregor(R) – (517) 373-0797 Sen Michael McDonald(R)- (517) 373-7315

Script for Calling Republican Leadership in the Michigan Legislature:
Hi, I’m calling to urge Senator *_______ to stop the pressure on Gov Whitmer about the Admin board and sign the Supplemental Budget. Already, we are feeling the effects of the reduced funding needed for our public safety, public schools and health services. We need Mike Shirkey to work with the Governor and get the funding for our critical programs restored. Thank you.

Call MI GOP to Support the Impeachment Process

The United States House of Representatives voted to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump in response to allegations that he, yet again, sought the assistance of a foreign power to interfere in our elections. Despite the grave threat that this poses to our democracy, not a single Republican voted in favor of the investigation and instead have been working to obstruct ongoing investigations. Republicans have complained about the process used so far in the inquiry and this vote gives them what they want by increasing their role, but they continue to turn a blindeye to the mounting evidence against the President’s corruption. Safeguarding our democracy should not be a partisan issue. It is time for Republicans to honor their oath to defend the Constitution by following the investigation where it goes with an open mind.

Call the MI GOP Congressional Delegation:
Jack Bergman: (202) 225-4735
Bill Huizenga: (202) 225-4401
John Moolenaar: (202) 225-3561
Fred Upton: (202) 225-3761
Tim Walberg: (202) 225-6276
Paul Mitchell: (202) 225-2106

Script for calling Representatives:
Hi, I’m calling to urge Representative _________ to put the country over partisanship by participating in the impeachment inquiry with an open mind. I was shocked that you and not a single Republican voted in favor of formalizing the inquiry despite the complaints made by many in your party about the process. Inviting a foriegn power to interfere in our elections is an attack against the very foundation of our democracy. This should not be a partisan issue; it is an issue of patriotism. Please do your duty to your country by honoring your oath to defend the Constitution by following the investigation where it goes with an open mind.

Support the Open Impeachment Process

The United States House of Representatives voted to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump in response to allegations that he, yet again, sought the assistance of a foreign power to interfere in our elections.

Despite the grave threat that this poses to our democracy, not a single Republican voted in favor of the investigation and instead have been working to obstruct ongoing investigations.

Republicans have complained about the process used so far in the inquiry and this vote gives them what they want by increasing their role, but they continue to turn a blind eye to the mounting evidence against the President’s corruption.

Safeguarding our democracy should not be a partisan issue.

 
*****PLEASE CALL ABOUT THIS ISSUE BECAUSE IT IS URGENT!!!*****

The United States House of Representatives voted to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump in response to allegations that he, yet again, sought the assistance of a foriegn power to interfere in our elections. Despite the grave threat that this poses to our democracy, not a single Republican voted in favor of the investigation and instead have been working to obstruct ongoing investigations. Republicans have complained about the process used so far in the inquiry and this vote gives them what they want by increasing their role, but they continue to turn a blindeye to the mounting evidence against the President’s corruption. Safeguarding our democracy should not be a partisan issue. It is time for Republicans to honor their oath to defend the Constitution by following the investigation where it goes with an open mind.

Call the MI GOP Congressional Delegation:
Jack Bergman: (202) 225-4735
Bill Huizenga: (202) 225-4401
John Moolenaar: (202) 225-3561
Fred Upton: (202) 225-3761
Tim Walberg: (202) 225-6276
Paul Mitchell: (202) 225-2106

Script for calling Representatives:
Hi, I’m calling to urge Representative _________ to put the country over partisanship by participating in the impeachment inquiry with an open mind. I was shocked that you and not a single Republican voted in favor of formalizing the inquiry despite the complaints made by many in your party about the process. Inviting a foriegn power to interfere in our elections is an attack against the very foundation of our democracy. This should not be a partisan issue; it is an issue of patriotism. Please do your duty to your country by honoring your oath to defend the Constitution by following the investigation where it goes with an open mind.

Call to Block Undue Corporate Tax Breaks (=Subsidies…)

In 2015, a global corporation called Switch Inc., was given a multi-million dollar state tax exemption to build a data center in Grand Rapids. Now, some GOP lawmakers want to exempt that same corporation from local property taxes – for no apparent reason. This sure looks like textbook greed, corruption, and not the sort of thing we want to support in the tax code. It would even apply retroactively, requiring affected municipalities to return funds! Without this property tax, assuming no other changes, governments and schools in West Michigan will likely lose hundreds of thousands in much-needed revenue.[3]

SB455 is expected to have a hearing in the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism this week and could move to floor vote in days, so calls are urgently needed.

Please call these committee members:

Representative Luke Meerman*
(517) 373-1830
Representative John Reilly**
(517) 373-1798

*Luke Meerman of district 88 (Cooperville) is seen as the swing vote within the committee. [4]
**John Reilly, of District 46, is seen as a likely no. [5]

Example script for calling representatives
Hi, I’m ________, and I’d like to urge you to vote against SB455. This bill looks like really transparent greed. Giving the Switch data center corporation another tax break, a refund for previous years’ taxes, and taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual local government and school funding is not a good cause. Thank you.

Other Republican representatives on the committee to call:

Representative Steve Marino
Committee Chair, 24th District
(517) 373-0113
Representative Pauline Wendzel
Majority Vice-Chair, 79th District
(517) 373-1403
Representative Andrea Schroeder
43rd District
(517) 373-0615
Representative Rodney Wakeman
94th District
(517) 373-0837

These Democrats are also on the committee & likely to vote no. Call to encourage them.

Representative Sara Cambensy
Minority Vice-Chair, 109th District
(517) 373-0498
Representative Darrin Camilleri
23rd District
(517) 373-0855
Representative Kara Hope
67th District
(517) 373-0587
Representative Mari Manoogian
40th District
(517) 373-8670
Representative Isaac Robinson
4th District
(517) 373-1008

References

[0] http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(nwr5t4jv5j0xgv0nvc4krntv))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=2019-SB-0455
[1] http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2019-2020/billengrossed/Senate/htm/2019-SEBS-0455.htm
[2] https://www.switch.com/grand-rapids
“LOW OR NO TAXES”, “No business personal property tax for Switch clients”
[3] http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2019-2020/billanalysis/Senate/htm/2019-SFA-0455-F.htm
[4] http://house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/2012DistrictMaps/088.pdf
[5] http://house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/2012DistrictMaps/046.pdf

Pledge to Repeal: a Strategy to Prevent the Ban on Abortion

Pledge to Repeal is a movement dedicated to preventing Right to Life and The Heartbeat Coalition from enforcing abortion bans on the women in the state. These groups have organized a petition drive to push anti-abortion legislation, and they may well succeed. There is an effective way to counter this effort, though, and that is through Pledge to Repeal. If passed, they will mount a swift response to repeal the new law.

The Pledge team are collecting emails and zipcodes for a rapid response database, to let them get a repeal referendum done quickly. An organizer will present the campaign at the monthly WCDP meeting on Nov. 2nd. More information, including how to give them your contact info if you won’t be at the meeting, is here.

Please Call- Again, Urgent Legislative Action on Roads and the Budget

The Republican controlled legislature has thrown our state into a budget crisis. They refused to negotiate with Governor Whitmer and passed a mess of a budget at the last possible moment. To keep the state government from shutting down, Governor Whitmer signed the budget and vetoed portions of it in an effort to get the Republicans to agree to continue to negotiate a budget. The Republicans have no intention of solving these challenges facing our state and instead are devising a plan to override Governor Whitmer’s vetoes. This week we’d like to focus on one issue: sustainable road funding. Republicans favor a one-time burst of road funding to do a partial job, but Governor Whitmer wants a sustainable and more gradual increase to improve and maintain road conditions in the long term.

Call the State GOP Legislative Leadership

Chair of house appropriations
Lee Chatfield: (517) 373-0835
Chair of senate appropriations
Jim Stamas: (517) 373-7946
Script for calling Representatives:
Hi, I’m calling to urge Representative Chatfield / Senator Stamas to build a sustainable road repair and maintenance plan instead of unpredictable large chunks of funding. We need to ensure our infrastructure receives ongoing maintenance instead of sporadic fixes once things get unacceptable.

Resources:

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/budget/FY20_Exec_Budget_648023_7_648294_7.pdf page A-2 / 10

Urge MI GOP in Congress to Support the Impeachment Inquiry

An impeachment inquiry into President Trump surrounding apparent abuse of power has begun. The allegations are deeply concerning, and it is very important that this work proceed – once the House committees complete their investigations, they will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with impeachment. If so, they will write and introduce articles of impeachment to the House, and if it passes the House, it is up to the Senate to hold a trial – presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts – whether to impeach. We’re a long way from a resolution to this one way or the other, but to finish, it has to start. [0][1][2]

Congress is in recess from September 30th until October 15th, [3] so our goal here is to ensure there continues to be pressure to see this through. To this end, all but a few Democratic Representatives say they support an impeachment inquiry, and none of those holdouts are from Michigan. [4]

We’re calling all six Michigan Republican Representatives; they are: [5]

Jack Bergman
(202) 225-4735
Bill Huizenga
(202) 225-4401
John Moolenaar
(202) 225-3561
Fred Upton
(202) 225-3761
Tim Walberg
(202) 225-6276
Paul Mitchell
(202) 225-2106

Example for calling representatives:
 
Hi, I’m ____, and I’m a Michigan voter. I’m calling because I’m concerned by what appears to be an abuse of power by President Trump to use the withholding of military aid to pressure Ukraine to perform political investigations to help his 2020 campaign. [6][7] I’d like to urge you to support an inquiry into this. Thank you.

References

[0] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/25/what-you-need-know-about-impeachment-inquiry-into-trump/
[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/25/why-now-moments-that-moved-pelosi-house-democrats-toward-impeachment/
[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/24/full-trump-ukraine-timeline-now/
[3] https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/roll-calls-2019-congressional-calendar
[4] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/us/politics/trump-impeachment-congress-list.html
[5] https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/MI#representatives
[6] https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/transcript-of-trumps-call-with-ukrainian-president-shows-him-offering-us-assistance-for-biden-investigation/2019/09/25/16aa36ca-df0f-11e9-8dc8-498eabc129a0_story.html
[7] https://news.yahoo.com/full-memo-transcript-trump-phone-call-ukraine-president-zelensky-biden-151319799.html

Give Michiganders a Clean Start After Serving a Prison Sentence

The Michigan Legislature is considering a package of bills (House Bill 4980-4985) that would allow more Michiganders to expunge their criminal records. The bills would make the following changes:

  • Expand the number of people who qualify for expungement: Under the plan, a person with up to three felonies and any number of misdemeanors could have all their convictions set aside if none were assault crimes. Someone with an assault crime can have up to two felonies and four misdemeanors set aside. Convictions such as murder and criminal sexual conduct would not be eligible.
  • Automatic expungement for some offenders 10 years after their monitoring by the justice system ends: This would be if none of the convictions are assault crimes or serious misdemeanors, and only for convictions that were punishable by less than 10 years imprisonment. It would apply after the person has paid restitution.
  • Allow expungement of marijuana convictions for behavior that would be permissible under current law: Most of these individuals would be eligible to apply for expungement immediately. This process would not be automatic.
  • Allow forgiveness for multiple acts committed during “one bad night”: Convictions for offenses similar in nature that were committed in a 24-hour period would be treated as a single felony if none were assault, if none involved the possession of a weapon, and if none carried a maximum penalty of more than 10 years.
  • Allow for the expungement of some traffic offenses: Driving under the influence and traffic offenses causing serious injury or death would not qualify for expungement. 
  • Shorten the eligibility period for misdemeanors: Applications to set aside more than one felony could be filed after seven years. A serious misdemeanor or one felony could be expunged after five years. Other misdemeanors with no felonies could be expunged after three years. 

These bills would help to eliminate barriers to employment and housing that so many Michiganders face. In fact, it is estimated that this would affect about 100,000 people in Wayne County alone. While the bill package is a huge step forward, there is still room for improvement. 

Call these Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee

Graham Filler (Chair): (517) 373-1778

Beau LaFave (Vice-chair): (517) 373-0156

Gary Howell: (517) 373-1800

Steven Johnson: (517) 373-0840

Daire Rendon: (517) 373-3817

 

Hi, I’m calling to urge Representative ________ to support House Bills 4980-4985, which would allow more Michiganders to expunge their criminal records.  I also urge you to improve these bills by making expungement automatic for use and possession and to include offenses such as manufacture or possession of marijuana with intent to distribute as eligible for expungement  If the state is truly serious about giving Michiganders a second chance, people shouldn’t have to pay and wait for the courts to process the expungement. Thank you.

References

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/09/09/michigan-expungement-laws-reform/2223792001/

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/bills-would-make-more-michiganders-eligible-expungement

https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(05abczjsdwkjsr43vyp5iaoz))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectName=2019-HB-4980

https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(05abczjsdwkjsr43vyp5iaoz))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectName=2019-HB-4981

https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(05abczjsdwkjsr43vyp5iaoz))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectName=2019-HB-4982

https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(05abczjsdwkjsr43vyp5iaoz))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectName=2019-HB-4983

https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(05abczjsdwkjsr43vyp5iaoz))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectName=2019-HB-4984

https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(05abczjsdwkjsr43vyp5iaoz))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=2019-HB-4985&query=on

Fund the Independent Redistricting Commission Without Cutting the SOS budget.

In November 2018, 62% of Michiganders voters decided to change who draws our districts so that voters can choose their politicians, not the other way around. Proposal 2 established an independent redistricting commission with mandated funding that amounts to $4.6 million in the 2019-2020 budget

Fair, balanced districts. Who could be against that? Well, apparently, our GOP state legislators are.

They don’t like Prop 2. So instead of following the will of the people, they are trying to undermine it by grabbing the $4.6 million needed from the Secretary of State’s budget. In doing so, they make it harder for SOS to shorten wait times, secure our elections, educate voters and more.

Some would call this move petty. $4.6 million is a huge cut to the SOS, but a rounding error in the state’s $59 billion annual budget. The money can easily be appropriated from the general fund. But balancing the budget is not the point. Undermining our SOS is.

This is where we come in. Let’s call these GOP legislators (phone numbers and script below) to let them know we demand that they implement Prop 2 without retribution. Tell them to restore the $4.6 million to the SOS budget.

Background:

The Republican-led Michigan Legislature is now completing the latest budget proposal for 2020. One of the line items is for the $4.6 million needed for the Citizens Redistricting Committee mandated by the passing of Proposal 2 and the redrawing of our gerrymandered voting districts. The funding could come from the General Fund like lots of other programs but the Republican-led legislature has chosen to pull it from the Secretary of State(SOS) budget. The SOS offices in Michigan are already overburdened and crowded and slashing their budget could result in longer lines and waiting periods.

The SOS is also charged with implementing the eight voting policies mandated by Proposal 3; including straight-ticket voting, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and no-excuse absentee voting. Under an already stressed system $4.6 million removed from the SOS’s budget is going to seriously impact the ability of the Secretary of State to implement these changes and continue to serve the public for their vehicle needs. A cut budget is  a clear message the GOP-held legislature doesn’t care that the people overwhelmingly voted for Proposal 2 and 3. They want to score political points by cutting the budget out from under Democrat Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Call these Republicans in Lansing and demand they find another way to finance the Proposal 2 Citizens Redistricting Commission and keep the Secretary of States budget intact. 

Sen Ruth Johnson(R)  – (517) 373-1636

Sen Jim Runestad(R) – (517) 373-1758

Sen Kenneth Horn(R)  – (517) 373-1760

Sen Dale Zorn(R) (517) – 373-3543

Rep Scott VanSingel(R) – (517) 373-7317

Rep Gary Howell(R)- (517) 373-1800

Rep Julie Calley(R)- (517) 373-0842

Rep Tommy Brann(R)- (517) 373-2277

 

Script for Calling Republican Leadership in the Michigan Legislature:

Hi, I’m calling to urge Senator/Representative *_______ to keep the Secretary Of State 2020 budget intact and fund the Citizens Redistricting Commission from the General Fund or other source. The SOS’s offices are already overburdened. I also have a concern that the Proposal 3 voting policies scheduled to be implemented by the SOS office, could be affected by a slashed budget. Find another source for the $4.6 million. Thank you.

References

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/14/redistricting-money-would-transferred-legislature-under-bill/3668687002/

https://www.bridgemi.com/public-sector/heres-how-michigans-redistricting-commission-would-work

https://thinkprogress.org/republicans-are-undermining-michigans-redistricting-effort-secretary-of-state-says-944a99601ec2/

Tell Michigan GOP to Support Community Mental Health in 2020 Budget

We are experiencing a mental health crisis in our state, and the budget proposed by the GOP does nothing to address it.
The opioid crisis, suicide rates, school safety challenges, and needs of persons with disabilities are at unprecedented levels. Yet the GOP budget is nowhere close to providing the funding our distressed Community Mental Health providers need to provide adequate services.

Michigan can and must do better.

Let’s make some calls this week and make sure our legislators know this neglect of our most challenged Michiganders will not stand.

Support budget increases for County Community Mental Health:

Background. Currently, the Michigan legislature is stalled on budget negotiations, with Republicans not sharing their proposals with Democrats. Michiganders run the risk of a budget that has shortfalls in many necessary programs, such as public transit, fixing the roads, education, and particularly, public health. Currently, Michigan’s public health system can no longer meet the needs of the people who depend on this care. County funds are used to cover state Medicaid obligations, and General Fund support for public mental health has fallen dramatically.

Why is increasing support for mental health important?
There has been an increase in suicide rates, opioid addiction, mental illness, concerns for children’s safety in schools, and a need to help individuals with disabilities become productive members of their communities.

In the past, Michigan had one of the most advanced public health systems in the country. However, Medicaid expansion led to a General Fund support reduction for mental health, because it was believed that Medicaid could cover it. But Medicaid only covers 20 mental health visits per year.. There are barriers to signing up for Medicaid and not all are eligible. Any costs not covered by Medicaid have been passed on to County Mental Health systems.  Our systems are near collapse. The need for more funding is urgent.

What is happening? The Michigan House and Senate are working on the state budget. One of the most financially neglected public systems is our system of Community Mental Health. The legislature has an opportunity and obligation to restore past funding cuts and increase funding.

What can we do? We can call the following State House Representatives and Senators who should be concerned about Michigan’s mental health system crisis. Please call:

State Senator Ruth Johnson, 14thDistrict: 517-373-1636
State Senator Pete Lucido, 8thDistrict: 517-373-7670
State Senator Jim Runestad, 15thDistrict 517-373-1758                  
State Representative Mike Mueller, 51stDistrict, 517-373-1780
State Representative Tommy Brann, 77thDistrict, 517-373-2277

Call to State Representatives:
Hello, I’m a Michigan voter and I want to encourage Representative/Senator _________to support restored and increased funding to Michigan’s Community Mental Health System. There is currently a crisis as needs surpass availability of adequate mental health care. Needs range from addressing the opioid crisis, increased suicide rate, keeping residents safe and cared for, and improving the ability of persons with disabilities to be successful members of their communities.

Information provided by Susan Gannon of Michigan Resistance.

Additional resources:
https://www.nasw-michigan.org/news/439890/Systemic-Underfunding-of-Michigans-Public-Mental-Health-System.htm

 

DEMS CARE Backpack and School Supplies Drive

Our DEMS CARE program is having a backpack and school supplies drive! Our hard-working WCDP office staff, led by Rae Ann Weymouth, have organized this to support the children of our community. Supplies can be dropped off at the WCDP office (call 734-879-0556 for hours & our address) or by contacting Kathy Wyatt at KatherineAWyatt@aol.com or 734-678-8623