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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan's GOP led Legislature on track to pass record number of first year laws

Michigan's State Capitol in Lansing
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Believe that a record number of bills have been signed into law since Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and the Republican controlled state House & Senate were sworn into office in January 2011?

The belief would be correct. The GOP formerly known for its’ small Government stance, has been engaging in the opposite –call it rapid fire government on steroids.  

Republican Gov.  Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have combined to sign a new Executive brancj record of 231 new public acts since taking office in January. With no form of “check or balance” in Michigan’s Legislative branch, nearly every bill approved by the GOP controlled state House and Senate, has been quickly signed into law by the Governor.

Snyder who claimed boldly during his candidacy campaign, that he would govern from the “middle”, instead has pushed into laws a pro-far right wing agenda. About 95 percent of the new laws were enacted from legislation sponsored by Republicans.

Some of Gov. Snyder signed laws are facing legal challenges. Public Act #4, known as the Emergency Manager Act is facing a court challenge by the Sugar Law Firm in Lansing challenging the validity of the measure.

Additionally, Gov. Snyder much-touted “welfare reform” law that harshly removed up to 41,000 families with children from cash assistance programs faces new lawsuits as it conflicts with federal law on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, The Michigan Citizen reported.

The new laws affect a broad range of topics from the state budget to schools to how financially struggling local governments are managed.

Legislative productivity has been aided by the Republican majority and a relatively good working relationship between Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and House Speaker Jase Bolger.
"Getting things done is always easier when you have that kind of cohesion," said Ari Adler, a spokesman for Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, speaking on Bolger’s cozy relationship with Gov. Snyder and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville. "We have a very open line of communication between those three leaders."
Lawmakers and the governor, on average, have approved fewer than 200 new laws in the first 11 months of a legislative session since the late 1990s. On track to beat the Republican-led Legislature and then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) record in 2005 with 244 new public acts; Gov. Snyder could easily pass that total with questionable legislation guaranteed to hit his desk with today’s Michigan Republican led Legislature.

Laws that will probably be signed prior to the end of this year in states’ Workers Compensation program, enacting “private cyber schools” and changing Michigan No-Fault insurance law.

But Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel, told the Associated Press (AP) that the governor is focused on the quality, not the quantity, of the new laws.

Wurfel said to the AP that many of the new laws "have paved the way for Michigan's comeback and laid a solid foundation for the future" by improving the state's budget situation and business climate.

Republicans have enacted sweeping tax code changes that take effect January 1. The changes reduce overall business taxes but will raise taxes on Michigan’s working poor, seniors and middle class.

Democrats counter that a majority of the Republican-backed changes have favored businesses over working families or haven't had much to do with improving Michigan's economy.
"It is very concerning that the leadership in Lansing continues to make the bottom line for corporations more of a priority than enacting legislation that will create jobs and help get Michigan's economy back on track," House Democratic Leader Richard Hammel said in a statement to the AP.

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