The Executive Board has voted to support Friday’s Climate Strike, organized by students and young people all over the world. We urge all who are able to join the U of M students at Ingalls Mall for a rally and workshops to learn how we can get effective action.
Representative Yousef Rabhi is responding to the overwhelming pressure being put on Michigan’s legislature by Enbridge Energy and other fossil fuel interests, with the creation of a new Political Action Committee to help protect the irreplaceable water system that is the Great Lakes. We have many effective organizations who can lobby for us, getting vital information to legislators and county commissioners who hear from industry spokespeople every day. Representive Rabhi proposes that we show our commitment, and how vital it is to protect our environment from the looming climate crisis, by putting together a real “war chest” to fund a coalition for a clean and green Michigan.
The League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, and Clean Water Action all have good lobbyists who work every day to defend Michigan’s environment, and we need them more than ever as fossil fuel companies dig in, refusing to transition to the clean economy we need. They need our support!
Enbridge Energy is on the attack against the efforts of Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel to close Line 5 and to forestall the dangerous tunnel project. They have been pushing the Grand Traverse Bay County Commission to sign on to a resolution supporting the tunnel, and they have now sent the same resolution to every county in Michigan. Read here, and here. and please contact your County Commissioners!
On June 13th, House Republicans passed a short-sighted budget that fails to provide adequate funding to improve Michigan’s dire road and infrastructure conditions. HB 4246 passed on a straight party line vote. Instead of considering Governor Whitmer’s commonsense $2.5 billion gas tax proposal, the Republican House bill floats multiple ill-advised, harmful ideas. Not only does the combination of these proposals only provide 22% of the necessary funding, but they harm other public programs in the process. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans simply ignored road funding in the 2020 budget and are seeking to design a separate plan at a later date. Both budget bills will now be reconciled in a conference committee, and we must urge Republicans in the Legislature to design a plan that responsibly fixes Michigan’s road crisis. Below are the three proposals included in HB 4246 that we must oppose:
Divert the sales tax on gas from schools and local governments to public infrastructure: The House Fiscal Agency projects that this funding shift will siphon $542.5 million from localities. In order to maintain this funding level to local schools and municipalities, the budget then redirects appropriations from the university school aid fund, further depriving our higher education institutions of necessary funding.
Transfer public transit funding to infrastructure needs: The budget includes cuts to a transit capital program that provides funding assistance to localities, and depletes funding for programs that provide transportation assistance to the elderly and disabled. As public ridership soars to historic levels, this misguided proposal could have catastrophic consequences. For example, it could force the Ann Arbor Transit Authority to eliminate routes that could result in a loss of nearly 300,000 riders per year. Furthermore, the effects of this provision will harm efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the face of climate change.
A public infrastructure “garage sale”: The budget seeks to privatize multiple state assets like welcome centers, bridges and airports. This is a short-sighted idea that will bring an uncertain, one-time infusion of revenue to an ongoing, long-term problem. This is an unsustainable solution that could ultimately deprive communities of necessary services if private corporations decide the investments aren’t profitable enough.
Call Republican Leadership demanding them to adequately, and responsibly address road funding:
Jim Stamas (R) Senate Appropriations Committee Chair – (517) 373-7946
Shane Hernandez (R) – House Appropriations Committee Chair – (517)-373-0835
Tom Barrett (R) – Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair – (517) -373-3447
Jack O’Malley (R) – House Transportation Committee Chair – (517) 373-0825
Mike Shirkey (R) – Senate Majority Leader – (517) – 373-5932
Lee Chatfield (R) – House Majority Leader – ( 517) -373-2629
Script for Call to Republican Leadership:
Hi, I am calling to urge _______ to oppose the transportation funding proposals in HB 4246 during the conference committee. In order to address our state’s crippling road conditions, we must find a dedicated, consistent funding stream. Reassigning revenue from the sales tax on gas, slashing public transit funding, and selling our state’s assets does not achieve this in any regard. In fact, these proposals will do more harm than good. Governor Whitmer’s gas tax proposal is a strong solution that will adequately fund our roads in the long term, and I strongly urge you to support this during conference negotiations. Thank you for your time.
For more information, contact:
A number of WCDP members spoke at the Impeachment Rally organized in Ann Arbor by P. Deisha Myles with MoveOn.org. Speakers included Eli Savit, candidate for County Prosecutor, Michelle Deatrick, DNC Committee Member, Deisha Myles, Cheryl Farmer, former mayor of Ypsilanti, and Jeffrey Taite Bronze Eagle. Excellent points were made, including the important point that “shining a public light on the many abuses and crimes that the president has committed is essential, independently of the probability of the Senate finalizing the procedure. In the case of Richard Nixon, the House pursued an Impeachment Inquiry that concluded with a recommendation to impeach, and as the details became known, public support went from only 17% to overwhelming approval of impeachment. Far from distracting from the electoral process, such a public trial can only help to educate the public.” To see photos and Eli’s speech: https://www.facebook.com/chipwaqua
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 the Republican leadership in Lansing and demand they find another way to finance the Proposal 2 Citizens Redistricting Commission and keep the Secretary of States budget intact.
Jim Stamas(R) Senate Appropriations Committee Chair – (517) 373-7946
Ruth Johnson(R) Election Committee Chair – (517) 373-1636
Mike Shirkey(R) – Senate Majority Leader – (517) – 373-5932
Lee Chatfield(R) – House Majority Leader ( 517) -373-2629
Shane Hernandez(R) – House Appropriations Committee Chair – (517)-373-0835
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.
Information provided by Connie Lippert of Michigan Resistance. For more information, contact:
More Links about this issue:
Fix Michigan’s Broken Bail Bond System:
The purpose of requiring bail when a person is charged with a crime is to encourage that individual not to flee justice and, if the alleged crime is violent and of a serious nature, to protect the public. The purpose should not be to acquire funds for the state or to disrupt potentially innocent persons’ lives. Although these bonds may be set low enough for many middle class people to afford, they are often impossible for poor people to pay, and are set neither because of concerns for safety nor flight risks.
Why is fixing our bail system important? Pretrial incarceration of Michigan residents can cause great harm to their lives and families. They often lose their jobs, which subsequently means loss of homes and even their children can be taken away. Even if convicted of a crime, they often are given sentences of less time than they have already spent waiting in jail for trial. This is not only disruptive to the lives of the charged individuals, but also to employers and landlords. Keeping these people in jail costs the taxpayers $150 million annually.
What is happening? Bail bond reform bills have been introduced into both the State Senate and House. These bills will fix our broken system by making cash bonds affordable, providing information to the courts on setting bonds, creating consistency among courts, and requiring to put bail determinations on the record. These bills need to be pushed out of committee and sent to the floor for a vote. Currently, the House Bail Bond Reform Package is in the State House Judiciary Committee.
What can we do? We can call the State House Representatives who are on the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to support the Bail Bond Reform Package and send it to the floor for a vote.
The following is a list of committee members who have not sponsored the bill:
Graham Filler (R) Committee Chair, 93rd District: 517-373-1778
Diana Farrington (R) 30th District: 517-373-7768
Daire Rendon (R) 103rd District: 517-373-3817
Ryan Berman (R) 39th District: 517-373-1799
Douglas Wozniak (R) 36th District: 517-373-0843
Vanessa Guerra (D) 95th District: 517-373-0152
Brian Elder (D) 96th District: 517-373-0158
Kyra Bolden (D) 35th District: 517-373-1788
Call to State Representatives on the House Judiciary Committee:
Hello, I’m a Michigan voter and I want to encourage Representative _________to support the Bail Bond Reform Package. The cost to taxpayers and the disruption to the lives of potentially innocent men and women speak to the need for bail reform. This also affects the poor and people of color disproportionately. Please support and send this bill to the House floor for a vote.
Information provided by Susan Gannon of Michigan Resistance. For more information, contact:
Republicans in the Michigan Legislature have had a busy couple of weeks passing bills that threaten healthcare through the back doors of our auto insurance and women’s right to choose. Although Governor Whitmer has publicly stated she will veto these bills she is still under tremendous pressure and needs to know we stand behind her. The Republicans will be out for her blood so let’s get busy and support her
Item #1: Michigan’s Anti-abortion Bills # 4320 and 4321:
Two bills were passed in the Michigan legislature with the purpose of banning “partial-birth” and dismemberment abortions, and including criminal sentencing of doctors and medical personnel who perform these abortions. Obstetricians/gynecologists have stated that these prohibitions will jeopardize women’s health and future fertility by denying evidence-based, medically preferred care.
Item #2: Auto Insurance Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Choices: These bills allow drivers to choose low cost options for minimally capped Personal Injury Protection(PIP) coverage in their car insurance policies. Medical caps will increase uncompensated care for medical providers sought by people who have maxed out their PIP benefits, and shift the cost burden to Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor. For the catastrophically injured, this bill is the difference between getting help to get to work and dying in bed.
What can we do? Call Governor Whitmer and ask her to veto these bills: 517-335-7858
Script for Calling Governor Whitmer: Hi, I’m calling to support Governor Whitmer’s veto of the anti abortion bills HB 4320 and 4321. I am also urging her to veto any “PIP choice” auto insurance bills being presented now. Both of these bills undermine healthcare: one specifically for women and the other for Michigan drivers. Thanks.
Information provided by Michigan Resistance writer, Constance Lippert. Need more info? firstname.lastname@example.org
We need your help! Last week our comrades at Michigan Student Power Network let us know of their efforts to stop House Bill 4436. The bill is being dressed as a “freedom of speech” bill that will harm students. House Bill no. 4436 raises several major issues by forcing colleges to adopt policies around protestors and student speakers on campus.
Below is their quick info guide for you to catch up on the bill. We’re hoping you can reach out to your representative today or join us in Lansing tomorrow! I’ll be there so feel free to reach out!
Sign up to oppose the bill in Lansing on Thursday, 5/16! https://forms.gle/
Michigan Student Power Network Info Guide
What is this bill?
Read about this bill on the Michigan Legislature Website: MI House Bill 4436 – “Free speech” bill for universities and colleges
House Bill no. 4436 raises several major issues by forcing colleges to adopt policies around protestors and student speakers on campus.
This bill would allow for student groups to invite any speaker that they want without being stopped by the University. A student group would be defined as any group officially recognized by the University.
Any protests or demonstrations would be restricted in their actions in vague terms.
“(iv) A statement assuring any person lawfully present on campus the right to protest or demonstrate there but making clear that protests and demonstrations that substantially and materially infringe upon the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity are not permitted and are subject to sanction…”
This could violate this First Amendment right of protestors to shout over or disrupt speakers in public spaces on campus.
Similar legislation to this bill was proposed by Patrick Colbeck last year. At that time, the ACLU made a broad series of criticisms that watered down the bills to the point where it no longer made sense to attempt to pass this bills.
In Florida, similar bills were proposed, but were also successfully defeated by organizers. This is part of a larger trend of hate speech bills being passed in state legislatures across the country following Trump’s executive order which threatened to withhold federal funds from universities.
Status and Trajectory of the Bill
On 4/9/19, it was referred to House Committee on Oversight and chaired by Matt Hall
On 4/18/19, met in Committee and brought to the floor, where the ACLU testified against it
On 5/16/19, the ACLU, the Michigan Student Power Network, and other community members will be testifying against this bill in the Michigan House
The Michigan Legislative Session runs until last week of June
This means either the bill will be voted on and denied/accepted then, or it will be continued until after this session.
Whitmer will likely veto this bill if it does pass.
Opposition to these bills
It is important to note that opposition from this bill is from all sides of the aisle. Who are some major stakeholders who oppose this bill?
Universities and colleges in Michigan
This bill would force institutions to do a complete overhaul of many of their policies, and limit the free speech of people affiliated with those institutions. The Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU) have publicly testified against this bill. MASU is a lobbying organization that represents all major MI universities including U-M, MSU, WMU, EMU, CMU, GVSU, WSU, and OU.
Part of this bill reads “(viii) A statement assuring that the institution will strive to remain neutral, as an institution, on the public policy controversies of the day, except those that affect the function of the institution or the rights and welfare of members of its community, and will not take any action, as an institution, on the public policy controversies of the day that would require students or faculty to publicly express a given view of social policy.”
This could severely limit the ability of colleges to engage in divestment campaigns or other forms of political engagement that universities have traditionally engaged in e.g. South Africa. Further, this bill doesn’t seem like it is addressing areal problem. Most universities already have rules around disruptive speech on campus and are cautious in taking public political stances (such as a divestment campaign). Laws like these can create more confusion than clarity, creating administrative burdens on universities, and ironically end up limiting speech.
Representatives who represent districts that have universities and colleges
In recognizing the harmful impacts of this bill to all involved, both Democratic and Republican legislators are opposed to this bill, particularly those whose constituency includes higher education institutions.
As this is limiting free speech, the ACLU is in opposition to this bill and has testified against it.
Students and community members (including the Michigan Student Power Network)
The Michigan Student Power Network (MSPN), a statewide network of college organizers, has reached out to other organizations and elected officials to work to oppose this bill. Their stance is that attacks on university budgets, affirmative action, and independence have come via legislation, combining with ideological attacks on safe spaces, student organizers, and the legitimacy of marginalized students on campus.
Further, this bill seems to encourage sanctioning students that interfere with the speech of others (such as heckling a speaker). This threat of sanctions will probably make students, faculty, staff, etc. afraid of speaking out (even if it’s just a sharply worded disagreement). In their words, speakers that call for genocidal policies, or that use pseudo science to justify white supremacy are not a legitimate part of debate on campus, they are weaponized voices being used to justify and inspire violence.
What can you do?
Support opposition to this bill in legislature in Lansing!
On Thursday, May 15, Michiganders are heading to Lansing to testify in front of the Michigan House of Representatives. If you’d like to testify in person, submit written testimony, or show up to support, fill out this form: https://forms.gle/
Call your representatives and Governor Whitmer, and ask Whitmer to veto the bill!
Hello my name is __________________
I’m a student at _______________ and I wanted to share my feelings on MI House Bill 4436. This bill claims to be about protecting our freedom of speech on college campuses but it actually does the opposite by restricting debate and disagreement, and forbidding universities from taking stands on important issues.
Section four of this bill would violate the right of students to disagree with speakers on campus and is worded vaguely. I fear this could make verbal disruptions or even just sharp disagreement during Q&A segments punishable offenses on our campuses.
The bill would also forbid universities from taking a public stand on “public policy controversies of the day.” This wording could easily be interpreted to ban important stances that universities took in the past, like divestment from Apartheid South Africa.
This bill isn’t about free speech, it’s about mobilizing our university infrastructure against student protest in order to create more of a haven for hateful ideologies on our campus. Please vote against this bill.
Thank you for your time.
2. Email your representatives!
Hello my name is __________________ I’m a student at _______________ and I wanted to share my feelings on MI House Bill 4436. This bill claims to be about freedom of speech campuses, but there are key provisions that I think endanger that freedom and give more weight to voices of hate on our campus. There are two key places where I feel like this legislation harms our campus.
First, section three of this bill would strengthen the punishment guidelines against students who disrupt speakers on campus. The legislation is worded vaguely to make both the definition of “disrupt” and the sanctions faced by students far too broad. As currently worded we fear this could make verbal disruptions or even just sharp disagreement during Q&A segments punishable offenses on our campuses. We believe this guideline will have the practical effect of making speakers that advocate genocide, inequality, and racial prejudice more secure on campus, while pushing students who are targeted by these ideologies to the margins. This is unacceptable.
Second, the bill would forbid universities from taking a public stand on “public policy controversies of the day.” Such a guideline would ensure that our universities take a naturally conservative position, only adopting changes to their stances after the rest of society has changed. This wording could easily be interpreted to ban Important stances that universities took in the past, like Divestment from South Africa. It seems like this part of the legislation is less about free speech, and more about banning the exercise of speech by the students, faculty, and staff of the university. This bill isn’t about free speech, it’s about mobilizing our university infrastructure against student protest, in order to create more of a haven for hateful ideologies on our campus.
Please vote against this bill. Thank you for your time