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Religion, guns, and anti-government paranoia guide incoming Republican legislator Todd Courser

One of the newly-elected legislators who will take his seat on the floor of the state House next month is Todd Courser from the Lapeer area. Though he has yet to take office, I have written about him several times already and, judging by his bizarre rhetoric and behavior, there will be an abundance of Eclectawords written about him over the next couple of years.

Courser, along with all of the other incoming legislators, has been going through the extensive training offered to new lawmakers. Courser has been writing about what he refers to as his “indoctrination” on his Facebook page and his posts are a creepy blend of religion, paranoia, and a twisted sense of what it means to be a “patriot”.…

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Why the road to fixing our roads is worse than the roads we actually drive and have to endure

Today is December 15, 2014 and that, in itself might mean many things to you. However, for political observers, pundits, analyzers, etc., today marks the final days of the Michigan Legislative agenda for 2014 and will also usher in, in a few very short weeks, a new House and Senate. This is the last week of what is known as Lame Duck, a time when, at least in the last few election cycles, has ushered in laws that have been shocking, partisan, and hurtful even. Lame Duck is NOT a legislative effort required by law. In fact, Lame Duck is not anything but one last chance, especially for those who are term-limited breast beaters, to get in one last dig and attempt to force upon the people of the state of Michigan new laws that they will not have to be held accountable for.…

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Republican plan to fund road repairs will strip nearly $1 billion MORE from Michigan schools each year

Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger wants you to believe that he’s found a magical way to fund road repairs without raising your taxes! While it’s true that your gas taxes and sales taxes won’t increase, the entire scheme is based on taking nearly a billion dollars more from schools each year. Local municipalities will take a huge hit, too.

How much will schools lose? A report by the Michigan League for Public Policy puts the tally at $634.1 million for this year. That number rises to $888.7 million in 2022-23. The Michigan Association of School Boards calculates that the average loss to schools will be an astonishing $475 per pupil per year.…

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Michigan Republicans don’t do “science”, new law would reject biodiversity as a criterion for managing state lands

In a 2011 paper published in the journal Nature, Elsa Cleland studied the impact of biodiversity on ecosystems. Her study concluded with this summary:

Evidence from multiple ecosystems at a variety of temporal and spatial scales, suggests that biological diversity acts to stabilize ecosystem functioning in the face of environmental fluctuation. Variation among species in their response to such fluctuation is an essential requirement for ecosystem stability, as is the presence of species that can compensate for the function of species that are lost. While much of the evidence presented here has focused on the consequences of changes in species diversity on primary production in natural ecosystems, recent research has found similar relationships between species diversity and ecosystem productivity in human-managed ecosystems.
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Multi-millionaire David Trott paid $34 for each MI-11 vote he bought…errr…got

When the final numbers were tallied, the race in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District wasn’t even close. David Trott beat Bobby McKenzie by nearly 16 points, an astonishing feat even in the conservative 11th District. Being the wealthy guy that he is, Trott was essentially able to buy the seat. With the final campaign filings in, we now know just how much his victory cost: $4.8 million, $3.4 million of which came out of his own bank account.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, Trott got 140,435 votes. That means that Trott paid $34.19 per vote. Of that, $24.21 was his own money.…

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MI House says adoption agencies can discriminate against LGBT couples

Taking the state backward. Again.

Every year, there are around 3,000 kids in Michigan who become eligible for adoption from foster care. The Michigan GOP would rather these kids stay in foster care than be adopted by loving gay or lesbian parents. In addition to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Amy has been covering so well, the Michigan House yesterday passed a law giving adoption agencies permission to discriminate against gay or lesbian families in adoption (I’m sorry, allow adoption agencies to “object on moral or religious grounds”). This is even though they receive taxpayer dollars, and even if such an adoption would be in the best interest of the child. ...
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LAME DUCK RECAP: Michigan Republicans go wild as the inflamed duck session gets underway

Lame duck sessions in Michigan since 2010 are more accurately described as “inflamed duck” sessions. Michigan Republicans ram more bills through in a couple of weeks than they do nearly the entire rest of the year. Two years ago, for example, they passed – I’m not making this up – 282 bills during lame duck. So much happens so fast that it’s almost impossible to effectively push back.

Here’s a little taste of what happened Wednesday and yesterday. And while many people are blaming this on Democratic voters who stayed home on election day this year, the reality is that this is a result of the 2012 election, NOT this year’s election.…

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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 House Speaker wants to pay for road funding without raising gas prices by cutting – you guessed it – education funding

During the 2014 campaign in Michigan, we were told repeatedly that Republicans hadn’t cut education funding. Despite the fact that they had actually taken BILLIONS OF DOLLARS from our schools each year, the told us with a straight face that, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, they had increased funding for our classrooms.

Now, just a few weeks later, Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger is proposing that we pay for billions of dollars in road and bridge repairs by cutting education funding so that legislators would “not have to raise taxes”.

I’m totally serious.

The plan would remove, over six years, the 6% sales tax now charged on fuel sales, while at the same time converting the 19-cent-per-gallon fuel tax to a percentage rate that would gradually increase over the same period.…
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