You Have the Freedom to be Pepper Sprayed in Rick Snyder’s Michigan

Republicans in Michigan are busy little bees attacking the rights of voters in general and labor specifically two times within 24 hours.  On Wednesday night, in a vote along party lines, Republicans on a State House committee pushed through a new Emergency Manager law  to replace the one Michigan voters rejected last month.

In short, under the previous law the Emergency Manager is a Snyder appointee, would take over the powers that local elected officials had and can do whatever they want to a community – including selling it to the highest corporate bidder. That version was put on the ballot and soundly rejected by Michigan voters.

But hey, Rick Snyder is going to let a majority of voters stop him from voiding their choices for local leadership.

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As Howard Ryan of the State Treasury Department put it, this was the Snyder Administration to the voters rejection of the bill’s earlier incarnation. This is very much a response to the vote on Nov. 6,” said Howard Ryan of the state Treasury department. “The choices are still difficult, but there are a lot of options.”

State Rep. Maureen Stapleton (D-Det.) pointed to the real reality that it’s a bad economy, – not a community’s right to choose its own leaders, that are the cause of the financial problems local communities, including Detroit, are facing.

The financial things that have happened in this state are due to a bad economy,” Stapleton said. “But the funds that have dried up for local government have dried up from this entity, the state of Michigan. And now that we are giving less, we’re giving sticks not carrots to fix it.

Ah yes, but under this version, you get to choose how your votes will be voided.

Communities in financial dire straits would have four options: an emergency manager, mediation, a consent agreement or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Local officials would need a 2/3 majority to remove an emergency manager – after a year.   Of course, by that time, the Emergency Manager is free to remove any and all elected local officials and replace them whoever Rick Snyder wants.

Earlier today, the State House made Michigan a so-called “right to work” state with a vote of 58-52.

In Republican speak, this bill is good for labor or  as Snyder  put it:

This is all about taking care of the hard-working workers in Michigan, being pro-worker and giving them freedom to make choices,

Right. Protesters were pepper sprayed, because this law is all about having the freedom to make choices.  And pepper spraying protesters says just how much Rick Snyder respects people making choices.  With care and freedom like that, it won’t be long before Snyder passes a law requiring all to address him “Heil Fuhrer.”

Image from The Christian Science Monitor

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