After working until 1 in the morning the previous evening, the Michigan Senate was looking at another marathon session as they tried to tackle road funding and a last minute push to expand the Education Achievement Authority. Although EAA expansion had been considered dead earlier in the afternoon, a group of EAA lobbyists, representatives from their two law firms, their Chief Operating Officer, and other EAA officials arrived in at the State Capitol late in the afternoon for what looked like a last-minute (and expensive) push to pass the legislation to codify the failed education experiment into Michigan law. One observer estimated that it had to be costing the EAA upwards of $15,000 to send this team to Lansing for this.
Later, Republicans went into caucus for quite awhile. When they emerged around 6:30 p.m., Saginaw Senator Roger Kahn immediately moved to adjourn the session. This motion was voted down so Senator Kahn picked up his stuff from his desk and walked out while declaring to media that he was “tired and wanted to go home.”
Kahn was the 20th vote needed for both road funding and the EAA expansion legislation so his late night temper tantrum effectively scuttled both. This is actually a good thing for the state of Michigan. Obviously expanding the EAA is something we should all hope doesn’t occur. However, the road funding bill, I am told, was equally offensive. It would have put only $32 million toward road funding next year and onl $300 million by 2020. Most experts agree we need more than $1.5 billion to properly fix our crumbling roads and bridges.
With Kahn’s move, Republicans, who hold a super-majority in the Senate, also didn’t have the votes to give other legislation immediate effect and Democrats were able to block immediate effect on so other bad legislation like a bill that would have exempted insurers from the Consumer Protection Act so that victims would be unable to sue them under certain scenarios.
As one observer put it, “All in all, a very weird day. Must be tough to govern when you have a super-majority…”
The state legislature is now on their summer break until September 9th with sessions scheduled for only one day in both July and August. This past week has felt like a Republican-run lame duck session and that is NEVER a good thing for Michigan citizens. There are times like this when having the legislature shut down is actually a Good Thing.
Adding… I heard Gov. Snyder on the radio this morning putting his relentless positive delusional spin on the topic of road funding. “The velocity of action [on road funding] has been increasing”, he said.
You really have to wonder what world this guy lives in. It must be far from Earth given how absent he’s been in the entire discussion and the complete vacuum of leadership sucking through his office. (Gov. Snyder has been in New York all week, first for a high-dollar fundraiser with millionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as well as to consult with credit agencies and to try to scare up some jobs for Michigan.)
Eclectateam member Charles Gaba had the most appropriate response:
Also, Republicans are — hilariously, I might add — blaming the lack of action on road funding on … wait for it … DEMOCRATS! Just a reminder for anyone who buys that line of BS: Republicans hold solid majorities in both the House and the Senate. So there’s that.
[CC Facepalm image credit: Cesar Astudillo | Flickr]