Local control, local government, local self-determination. These are the hallmarks of the tea party Republicans and conservatives in general. Recent efforts by Michigan Republicans prove conclusively that this is a lie. They are not interested in local control; they are interested in conservative control. Period.
In September, I wrote about two bills passed by the House to limit domestic partner benefits for any public employees in the state.
Not that this is any surprise but Michigan Republicans are poised to make sure that schools, counties, cities and the state itself do not offer domestic partner benefits to their employees…
It’s obviously nothing more than a blatant effort to make sure same-sex partners are never afforded the same benefits their “different-sex” counterparts enjoy.
But that, apparently, is not enough state-level meddling in the affairs of local municipalities. Last Wednesday, Rep. Tom McMillin introduced a bill, House Bill 5039 that prevents any local municipality from having civil rights laws that are more expansive than state law. As Michigan Radio reports, the aim is to prevent local governments from protecting gays and lesbians at a level beyond what the state law allows.
Republican state Representative Tom McMillin has proposed a law that would forbid civil rights protections that are more expansive than Michigan’s civil rights law.
The measure would apply to local governments, school districts and state agencies. Its aim is to block ordinances that offer legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Right now at least 18 Michigan communities have such laws on the books.
It’s a short bill. Here’s the text:
HOUSE BILL No. 5039
October 5, 2011, Introduced by Rep. McMillin and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
A bill to amend 1976 PA 453, entitled “Elliott-Larsen civil rights act,” (MCL 37.2101 to 37.2804) by adding section 706.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:
Sec. 706. (1) A state agency or unit of local government shall not adopt any ordinance, rule, regulation, or policy that includes, as a protected class, any classification not specifically included as a protected class under this act. Any existing ordinance, rule, regulation, or policy that includes, as a protected class, any classification not specifically included as a protected class under this act is void.
(2) As used in this section:
(a) “State agency” means a department, board, commission, office, agency, authority, or other unit of state government.
(b) “Unit of local government” means a political subdivision
of this state, including a city, village, township, county, authority, school district, community college district, intermediate school district, and public school academy.
We’ve seen proof of the GOPocrisy of Republicans at so many levels on the issue of local control and governance that the only remarkable thing is that anyone still believes their lies. We’ve seen it with laws that invade the wombs of women and control their reproductive choices. We’ve seen it with laws that allow a single individual, the so-called “Emergency Manager”, to disenfranchise local voters and essentially fire local elected officials. And now we’re seeing it with this effort to override local laws and replace them with those determined by state legislators.
This is not smaller government by any far stretch of the imagination. This is the imposition of a political ideology by a political party taking advantage of political majorities at all levels of Michigan government. The idea that Republicans are for small government and local control is a myth; a complete fabrication. Well-marketed? Yes. Often-repeated? Of course. But it is still a lie and anyone paying attention to what is happening knows it.