I can haz constitutional freedoms?
As I wrote about last week, Michigan Democrats have filed a lawsuit against their GOP colleagues, demanding that they hold roll call votes on “immediate effect” bills when they are requested. Again, the right to ask for a roll call vote if one-fifth of the House members request it is guaranteed in the state constitution.
Here’s what it looks like when Democrats try to do that and are completely ignored by the Republicans in charge:
Click image for larger version. Image courtesy of Representative Jeff Irwin, used with permission.
Today, Ingham County Circuit Judge Clinton Canady III granted them a Temporary Restraining Order, compelling the Republicans to play by the rules.
Republicans pulled this stunt recently when passing a bill that prevents graduate student assistants from organizing and collectively bargaining. One of the students impacted by this was Jeremy Moore, a Graduate Student Research Assistant in the Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. “When politicians in Lansing took away my ability to join with my coworkers and form a union, they trampled on my democratic rights,” she said. “The way that House Republicans rammed the legislation through without regard for the state constitution also trampled on the rights of all Michiganders. I am glad the courts are taking a serious look at this issue.”
Here’s a statement from Democratic Leader Richard Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Twp.) and the House Democratic Caucus. It has some very interesting additional information:
I appreciate the diligence of the court in making a timely ruling granting our request for a preliminary injunction. I look forward to a final decision affirming our claims protecting the Michigan Constitution and protecting against – as the Judge said – irreparable harm to the public. The preliminary injunction prevents the majority from ignoring Members when they demand a record roll call on immediate effect if one fifth of the House Members demand it. Judge Canady III also enjoined the immediate effect given to House Bills 4246, 4929 and 5063. HB 4246 prohibits graduate student research assistants from collectively bargaining. HB 4929 prohibits public schools from collecting dues for teacher unions. HB 5063 prohibits Michigan residents from circulating ballot petitions without the approval of the State Board of Canvassers.
It will be interesting to see if the Republicans are so intent on betraying the state constitution that they appeal to the
state supreme court appeals court. Unfortunately for the Democrats, if they do, the GOP is likely to prevail since Republicans dominate the court.