GUEST POST: Replacing forced arbitration contract trickery with transparency

The following is a guest post by Lonnie Scott, Executive Director of Progress Michigan.

If you’ve ever opened up a credit card, taken out a student loan or signed up for a cell phone plan, you’re probably bound to arbitration through some version of a consumer financial contract you’ve consented to – whether you know it or not.

Buried in the fine print of take-it-or-leave-it contracts, forced arbitration terms rob consumers of their constitutional right to their day in court in the event of a dispute. Instead of being able to have their case heard by a judge and jury, consumers must instead go to private arbitration where a panel of adjudicators review their case and make a determination that is legally binding and enforceable in the courts.…

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Senate version of Michigan Republicans’ “Local Government Control Prohibition Act” drops, same as House version

Earlier this week, House Republicans held a hearing on H.B. 4052, a bill that would prohibit local governments from passing employment-related ordinances that are more restrictive than state-level laws. Although it is called the “Local Government Employer Mandate Prohibition Act”, it really should be referred to as the “Local Government Control Prohibition Act” because it strips what is commonly known as “home rule” from local governments.

The list of things covered by the current version of H.B. 4052 is pretty large. It would prohibit a local governmental body from adopting, enforcing, or administering an ordinance, local policy, or local resolution that:

  • Regulates the relationship between an employer and its employees or potential employees, if the regulation contains requirements exceeding those imposed by state or federal law.
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Stop pretending immigration reform will ever happen under these Republicans

Remember what happened in the House on Thursday when the GOP nominee releases in ad in Spanish next September that drops all the “secure the border” pablum that got him the nomination and vows to reform the immigration system in a way Democrats haven’t.

House Republicans voted to remove language that would have instructed the secretary of defense to consider allowing undocumented Americans to serve in the military from the National Defense Authorization Act by a 221-202 margin.

Every Democrat voted against the amendment.

Instead of being satisfied with the win, the anti-immigrant right attacked the small percentage of Republicans who voted with Democrats.…

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Republicans decide working poor Michiganders haven’t been screwed enough, want to eliminate EITC to pay for roads

Given their history, it takes a lot for Michigan Republicans to do something so cruel, so heartless, so Henry F. Potterish that it surprises you. But I am confident in saying that their most recent gambit to find funding for road repairs in our state rises to that level. In an effort to race $1 billion to put toward roads, House Republicans are proposing an elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit, virtually the only tax credit available to poor people and which helps the working poor, folks holding down a full-time job but still struggling to make ends meet. Keep in mind, the EITC would have been restored from 6% to 20% if Prop 1 had passed.…

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Republican push to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law just another power grab

Once again the Michigan Senate is moving to repeal the state’s “prevailing wage” law that has been in place for half a century, the law the Republicans once claimed would wreck the economy but which did the opposite, helping to sustain the once-growing middle class. They’re singing the same right wing anthem again, the one about saving the taxpayers money when what they are really seeking is increased profits for contractors by helping them depress workers’ wages. (It’s always worth noting that when the GOP talks about taxpayers and labor in the same sentence, they imply that those who labor are a group apart and not taxpayers too.…

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After agreeing to study determining the cost to educate a child in Michigan, GOP now poised to kill “this crazy study”

Education cost study? We doan need no stinkin’ education cost study!

As part of the package of legislation passed to put Proposal 1 on the ballot, Republicans agreed to fund a study of the costs to educate a child in Michigan. Democrats pushed for the study so that smart choices regarding the funding of schools can be made in the future. Republicans not only agreed to it, it was in fact a bill – H.B. 423 – introduced by a Republican and all of the cosponsors were Republican. Twenty-five House Republicans and eight Senate Republicans voted for it. It was signed into law by our Republican governor as Public Act 555 of 2014 and is now actually part of the Revised School Code.…

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Indiana moves to take over Gary schools with an Emergency Financial Manager

Back in 2012, I first wrote about the exporting of Michigan’s Emergency Financial Manager system to Indiana, the first instance of this happening and something I had been warning the country about in my own small way for two years. It was eventually signed into law later that year.

This week we learn that the first use of the Emergency Financial Manager system is happening to Gary Public Schools. (The Bond Buyer article is behind a paywall but you can get free access through May 22nd.)

After years of financial problems, the school district in Gary is poised to become Indiana’s first local government to be taken over by an emergency financial manager.
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Michigan Republicans move to strip power of local governments to protect workers and the LGBT community

Republicans have successfully branded themselves as the party that worships “local governmental control”. They want federal regulations repealed and the power given to the states on all sorts of things from the environment to the Affordable Care Act. But, when it comes to actual local control, where local municipalities set their own rules, the whole idea of “local governmental control” is simply a quaint notion to be dispensed with posthaste to maintain their own control over our state.

Republicans in Michigan are sick and tired of local governments having the audacity to do things like pass local minimum wage requirements or giving the LGBTQ community actual civil rights protections.…

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