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ACT NOW: Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act being fast-tracked by GOP-led Legislature

In one day, it passed out of committee and is up for a House vote. Despite what the bill’s proponents claim, the RFRA would enshrine discrimination on religious grounds into state law.

UPDATED following House vote. There’s still time to take action. See below.

It’s happening even faster than we’d feared. Following a hearing, the Michigan House of Representatives House Judiciary Committee voted to send House Speaker Jase Bolger’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act for a vote before the Michigan House of Representatives. This bill was passed by a vote of 59-50 along straight party lines, the same day as the hearing.…

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Michigan GOP kills expansion of LGBT civil rights and passes “license to discriminate” bill out of committee

Michigan’s Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger has been paying lip service to the LGBT community by saying that he supports expanding civil rights protects to them as long as it (a) doesn’t include transgender Michiganders and (b) is accompanied by a “license to discriminate” bill that allows anyone who wants to deny basic services to gays, lesbians, or bisexuals the ability to claim “sincerely-held religious beliefs” in order to do so.

Yesterday, a House committee essentially killed off any hopes of expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to cover either LGB or LGBT people. Today, House Republicans moved forward with the “license to discriminate” bill anyway, voting along party lines to send it to the full House for a vote.…

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GOP Rep: Civil rights are “sparkly shiny trinkets the progressive political machine hangs in front of elected officials”

There is no question that newly-elected Todd Courser is going to provide endless fodder for this website for at least a couple of years. He hasn’t even taken office yet but Courser is already acting as if he owns the place and has a lock on what it means to be conservative and Republican.

Courser seems fixated on ensuring that the LGBT community does not enjoy civil rights protections. If that happens, in Courser’s convoluted worldview, his religious freedom is abridged. Nothing says “Christian” in Courser’s mind quite like exuding pure hatred on people he doesn’t like. It’s people like Todd Courser that Mahatma Gandhi was referring to when he said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.…

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Pres. Obama takes action on immigration reform that Republicans say THEY should take but won’t

“Our nation is a nation of immigrants. More than any other country, our strength comes from our own immigrant heritage and our capacity to welcome those from other lands. No free and prosperous nation can by itself accommodate all those who seek a better life or flee persecution.”

- Ronald Reagan

Last night, President Obama announced the he is taking long-anticipated executive action to permit up to 5 million undocumented immigrants in our country to legally extend their stay and allowing them to, in his words, “come out of the shadows and get right with the law”.

Conservatives Republicans and others on the right preemptively lost their minds, calling this, among other things, “executive amnesty” (which one activist I know hilariously described as “what Wall Street bankers received when none of them went to prison for crashing our economy in 2007.”)

Ted Cruz says none of President Obama’s nominees should be confirmed now that he’s done this.…

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UPDATED x2: According to incoming House Rep Todd Courser, House Speaker Jase Bolger is just too goddam liberal

Right before the election, a voter from Lapeer County reached out to me to tell me he had received a call from the campaign of far-right candidate Todd Courser. When he informed the caller he would be voting for Courser’s opponent, she asked him, “Would you change your vote if you knew that Margaret Guerrero DeLuca had faggots and blacks working for her?”

Some folks refused to believe this had actually transpired but, when you scratch beneath the surface of the sort of hateful person Todd Courser is, it’s no surprise and many folks in Lapeer had no problem believing something like this came from Courser’s campaign.…

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Under proposed Michigan law, religion could be used to discriminate

No one’s religious liberty is at risk, but the Michigan Legislature wants to use religion to infringe on the rights of others anyway.

That didn’t take long. Less than two weeks after the midterm elections, Michigan Republicans began pushing a bill that would make it legal to discriminate on religious grounds

Given the Republican majority in the Michigan Legislature — and their history of aggressive disregard for fairness and the will of their constituents — there’s a good chance this bill could move quickly and become law. Michiganders can’t let that happen.

The Michigan Legislature’s House Speaker, Representative Jase Bolger, has introduced a state bill modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — the law that has given individuals, including public institutions, a license to discriminate.…

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Michigan GOP can’t bring itself to give civil rights protections to ALL Michiganders, leave transgender people behind

Back in September, I wrote about how Michigan Republicans, facing massive pressure from across the state – including from the business community they worship with such reverance – started discussing updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include civil rights protections for the LGB community. They had no intention, I had heard at the time, of including protections for “gender identity” which describes transgender Michiganders, however:

I heard last week that Republicans were in discussions about putting forth similar legislation that would have excluded trans people and would have added exemptions based on “sincerely held religious beliefs”. This is pretty surprising considering the intense backlash that they faced when similar restrictions were first included in an anti-bullying bill – dubbed the “License to Bully Bill” – supported by Republicans in 2011.…
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Livingston County Dems launch website to highlight how out of touch Joe Hune is with his constituents

The Livingston County Democratic Party has done an amazing job of finding candidates to run for seats across the county that often see no Democratic challenger. One of these candidates is Shari Pollesch, a Brighton attorney who is challenging ultra-conservative Joe Hune for the newly-drawn 22nd state Senate district. Although Hune has enjoyed widespread support in this oh so conservative area, the new boundaries now include the western part of Washtenaw County (where I live) so his job got a little bit harder. And Shari Pollesch is a terrific candidate.

What’s most painful for Democrats living in Western Washtenaw is that we are currently represented by Rebekah Warren who was labeled the “most liberal” state senator in 2011, 2012, and 2013.…

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VIDEO: Dem candidate for Attorney General Mark Totten releases 2nd ad highlighting Bill Schuette’s extremist record

Mark Totten, the Democratic candidate for Michigan Attorney General, has released his second television ad of the election cycle. Titled “One Thing”, it goes after Republican Bill Schuette for his crusade to push his ultra-right wing, partisan agenda:

The ad focuses on three specific things Schuette has done:

  • As the first attorney general to join Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, Bill Schuette fought to allow employers to deny employees insurance coverage for contraception.
  • Bill Schuette led a lawsuit to deny Michigan families federal tax credits for purchasing healthcare, which could raise taxes on half a million Michigan families by $5,000.
  • While in the state senate, Bill Schuette sponsored and championed Michigan’s drug immunity law, which makes Michigan the only state in the nation where people can’t recover damages for drugs that harm or kill, denying justice to victims and families, and costing the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
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Republican Tim Walberg introduced bill to make top government positions subject to partisan politics

The Senior Executive Service (SES) is made up of the men and women who lead most of the major government agencies in the USA. According to the Office of Management and Budget, “Members of the SES serve in the key positions just below the top Presidential appointees. SES members are the major link between these appointees and the rest of the Federal work force. They operate and oversee nearly every government activity in approximately 75 Federal agencies.”

There are well-defined guidelines in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations for removing people from these positions and they are set up to guard against the influence of partisan politics while ensuring that people who are not doing the job or who are engaging in “misconduct, neglect of duty, malfeasance, or failure to accept a directed reassignment or to accompany a position in a transfer of function” can be replaced.…

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