As I have written about in the past, thanks to Republican redistricting after the 2010 midterm, I am going from having one of the most progressive state senators, Rebekah Warren, to one of the most regressive tea party type senators you could imagine: Joe Hune. Hune has been rated as the most conservative member of the Michigan Senate.
Joe Hune’s Democratic opponent is very likely to be Livingston County attorney Shari Pollesch. So far she is the only candidate to throw her hat into the ring and it’s going to be a tough race. Hune’s district may have picked up the center-left area of Western Washtenaw County where I live but there are so many hardcore Republicans in Livingston County (Howell and Brighton, primarily) that it’s a tough race for a Democrat.
That said, Joe Hune has been so extreme that he even freaks out a lot of Republicans. And, as I wrote in the past, he doesn’t appear to be all that bright. Either that or he’s a liar.
In the following op-ed, Pollesch calls out Hune for his hypocrisy on “regulation”. As she points out in the piece, Hune is all about “small government” and “less regulation” until it affects women or the poor a. Then Big Government is alright by him.
It’s a good read. Enjoy.
Is Senator Hune Truly Anti-Regulation?
In last week’s press release announcing his candidacy for the 22nd State Senate Seat, Senator Joe Hune described himself as against big government and against unnecessary regulation. In fact, it sounded to me as if Senator Hune feels it is his mission in a 2nd term to fight against government regulation and intrusion into our lives. That makes this a perfect time to look at Senator Hune’s record of fighting against regulation.
Senator Hune recently introduced a bill that prohibits your neighborhood pub from selling you a beer with a logo on the mug or from putting a napkin with a logo on it underneath your mug. (SB505) Kentucky is the only other state in the nation that has such prohibitions.
Senator Hune introduced legislation that now dictates and regulates how and when elected school board members can vote. (SB1051, Public Act 606 of 2012) This has had a direct impact on the Howell School Board during its most recent teacher contract negotiations, when the regulation rendered two board members unable to represent their voters because a relative is a school employee.
Senator Hune then voted in favor of government regulation that intrudes into the private lives of Michigan women by intervening into their insurance contracts. Before this bill was passed, insurance companies were free to offer, and women were free to purchase, full insurance coverage for all potential health care needs a woman, and only a woman, faces. Now, a woman must purchase an additional policy to cover abortion services even where the abortion is necessary to save her life. This is a classic example of the government rushing in to fix what was not broken and seems particularly contrary to a politician who repeatedly touts his allegiance to free enterprise and insists that he favors small government.
Senator Hune supported legislation to regulate the unemployed and the poor, requiring them to perform community service in order to receive their benefits. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with requiring folks to have a little skin in the game,” Hune told Detroit Free Press reporter, Kathleen Gray. (September 18, 2013.) I would say that folks trying to live on unemployment benefits, or who have lost their unemployment benefits, partly because Senator Hune voted to cut state unemployment benefits to 20 weeks, feel certain that they already have “skin in the game”, particularly as they are losing their homes.
Just this week, Senator Hune was featured in various media outlets regarding his legislation to impose more government regulation on the poor by requiring them to submit to drug testing if their social services case worker suspects that they are using illegal substances. (SB276) What is particularly troubling about this regulation is the fact that it comes with a half a million dollar price tag just to start the program. That is money that should be going into fixing our roads or funding our schools, especially since this experiment has already been tried in Florida and found to be ineffective in saving that state any money. So now, after having proclaimed the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act as “nauseating” and voting to delay the expansion at a cost to Michigan voters of 7 million dollars per day, Senator Hune wants to divert another half million to drug test the poor. This does not make government smaller!
None of Senator Hune’s government regulations did anything to improve the lives or health of Michigan residents. None of these regulations will create any noticeable jobs. None of these regulations will fix our roads or fund our schools.
As a community, we can have honest debate about whether some, or any, of these regulations are “necessary,” but the starting point for any such debate has to be honesty about who you are. Senator Hune does not seem to have any aversion to big government or government regulation.
Democratic Candidate for the 22nd Senate District
To learn more about Shari Pollesch and her effort to unseat Michigan’s most conservative senator, vist her website VoteForShari.com.