Michigan Right to Work Law Was the Brainchild of ALEC, The Most Dangerous Group in Politics

Fact: 282 bills were passed in Michigan during the lame duck session. 42% of all the bills passed in the last two years were in this last lame duck session, with 180 votes taken on the last day of the 2012 session alone.

Fact: In the session from Dec 13 to Dec 14 (ending at 4:29AM), 180 roll-call votes were held. This took place in the 18 hours leading up to the ending of lame duck.

No sooner had the GOP secured total control of Michigan in 2010, holding majorities in both houses and winning the governorship, than the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing ultra-conservative "bill mill" and THE source of money and corruption in politics today, lept into action. ALEC wasted no time in sending many of their most onerous "model legislation" bills to Michigan. These included the Emergency Manager law, privatization of public schools, expansion of charter schools, HB 5221 (Voter ID Act), which required voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote, and HB 4305 with language similar to ALEC’s model “Immigration Law Enforcement Act.” 

In fact, all of these proposed bills have language that is nearly identical to ALEC’s model legislation, most were introduced by ALEC member Rep. Dave Agema, co-sponsored by fellow ALEC members. ALEC member Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville sponsored legislation to allow concealed guns in schools, bars, hospitals and day care centers (passed, but vetoed by Governor Snyder).

The sponsor of gun legislation to allow concealed guns in schools, bars, hospitals, and day care centers was Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, one of 25 known Michigan ALEC members (Governor Snyder surprised everyone on December 18th by vetoing this legislation!)

As for the Right to Work (RTW) legislation, it wassponsored by multiple ALEC members:  House Bill 4054 by Rep. Tom McMillan and Rep. Peter Lund, and House Bill 4003, sponsored by McMillan and ALEC members Amanda Price, Aric Nesbitt, Kenneth Kurtz, Kenneth Horn and Judson Gilbert. There were no committee meetings or public hearings on RTW because the bill’s supporters used a practice allowed by Michigan law in a lame duck year, termed: “vehicle bills" (inserting language after first reading to create “substitution bills” – changes not available to the public or the opposition).

In Michigan, some key tactics used include: "immediate effect” of GOP legislation; extensive use of “vehicle bills” in the Lame Duck session, often provided by the Koch-funded Mackinac Center; and “legislation by amendment.” That this is done in the lame duck session is significant also because some 25% of those voting during this session will not be in the next legislature.

In the Senate, the RTW bill (S 116) was developed by Rep. Mike Shirkey and freshman Sen. Patrick Colbeck. The bill’s sponsor was Sen. Arlan B. Meekhof (R-30). Rep. Shirkey and  Meekhof are both documented ALEC members. This legislation mirrors ALEC’s “Right To Work Act,” written in 1995 and already passed in several states.

Below are some of the 2012 lame duck session legislation with ALEC overtones:

1) RTW – (ALEC Model and Mackinac Center Constitutional Amendment language).

2) Guns – Concealed weapons /carrying bills (additions to 2006 FL/NRA/ALEC Shoot to Kill Law).

3) Personal Property Tax Elimination – Cut of 800B in PPT impacting statewide municipal funding – ALEC Starve the State strategy – NO replacement proposed.

4) Abortion/Women’s Rights – Package of bills to make MI the “most restrictive in the U.S.”

5) Prison Privatization – Baldwin Facility legislation – and to “contract out operations of a state prison for adults.”

6) Detroit Lighting Authority – Privatization of public assets.

7) Detroit – Downtown Development Authority – Transfer of funds from public education to private development (new Red Wings hockey arena).

8) Regional Transit Authority – SE Michigan / Detroit infrastructure used for lightrail project supporting private development (hockey arena).

9) Anti-Recall Legislation – passed.

10) Food Stamps – Grocery store clerks can “refuse” on “moral objections.”

The answer to "who does your legislator really represent" has become quite evident in Michigan, ALEC's new testing ground. For a list of Michigan legislation and legislators with ALEC ties please see here.

Is North Carolina next?