While Michigan Republicans dismantle the middle class, Democrats are trying to actually solve problems


Actions speak louder than words

Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog

As Michigan Republicans continue their corporatist agenda of eviscerating the middle class, destroying unions, harming public employees and taking women’s rights back to the middle of the last century, Michigan Democrats are proposing important pieces of legislation that solve actual problems.

The first comes from Representatives Jim Townsend, Vicki Barnett, and Andy Schor. They are introducing a package of legislation designed to reduce gun violence in our state and to increase public safety. From a statement released today:

Democratic state representatives will introduce a package of legislation aimed at curbing gun violence and increasing public safety. The package calls for universal background checks for gun purchases, protections to keep guns away from individuals convicted of domestic assault, increased support for mental health systems in Michigan, promotion of safe zones and the expansion of gun-free zones to include public libraries.

“We are fortunate not to have recently experienced tragedies like Massachusetts, Arizona and Colorado,” said Rep. Townsend, “but the reality is that over 150 gun deaths have occurred in Michigan since the tragedy at Newtown. It shouldn’t take a mass shooting in Michigan for us to take action on commonsense gun safety legislation. Requiring a background check for all purchases and transfers of firearms is a start in making our communities safer. The people of our state know we need a change. A recent poll showed that over 80% of Michiganders support this common sense measure.”

The gun legislation would also ban the carrying of guns in schools and libraries because, as Rep. Schor puts it, “A gun free zone should be just that: gun free. Carrying guns in schools and libraries is not conducive to learning and causes people to be uncomfortable or threatened. Current law bans concealed carry of guns in these areas but a person can go into a school, library or other sensitive area with a gun on their hip or pointed down. We need to close that loophole.”

Rep. Barnett has also sponsored two bills that would “strengthen mental health services in Michigan and increase offenses and restrictions on those convicted of committing acts of domestic violence.” Barnett said in a statement, “A woman in an abusive relationship is five times more likely to be killed by her abuser if the abuser owns a firearm. Now more than ever we must give a voice to so many of the voiceless victims. The appalling figures related to domestic violence demonstrate that we must place importance on these laws in reducing access to those households affected by intimate partner violence.”

A separate package of bills will be introduced by State Representatives Gretchen Driskell, Jeff Irwin, Adam Zemke and state Senator Rebekah Warren. On Monday, May 13, they will hold a press conference in Ann Arbor to unveil legislation that will help increase women’s access to health care. Their goal is to reverse the restrictions Republicans have put on women’s health care, to educate women about health care options, to support rape survivors and address health care inequities women face.

Meanwhile, Republicans are working diligently to do things like reduce the value of a Michigan high school diploma and tie teacher pay to student test scores in schools they are working hard to defund.

The contrast is striking, isn’t it?