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Is Nothing Too Far for Michigan Republicans?

The Republican party took control of the Michigan House of Representatives in 2010, riding the Tea Party wave into power, and since then there seems to be almost no policy so vile that they would not seek to pass it. The latest outrage is a provision in a bill that would punish universities if anyone at the school works with pro-labor groups in any protest against a business — even one that is breaking the law and violating people’s rights.

Tucked in the House education budget at the request of the Michigan Restaurant Association is a provision prohibiting universities from collaborating with “a non-profit worker center whose documented activities include coercion through protest, demonstration or organization against a Michigan business.”

University professors nationwide are decrying the provision as an infringement of academic freedom, while Republican legislators say universities shouldn’t be promoting free speech protests against businesses that pay taxes that support university operations.

“As we see it, students can receive internship credit for basically shaking down Michigan businesses,” said Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, chair of the panel.

State Rep. Joe Haveman added the provision at the behest of a restaurant industry lobbyist, but acknowledged in a recent committee meeting he doesn’t know what the rule concerns.

A Detroit News inquiry into the origins of the proposed law found it stems from protests staged in 2009 and 2010 during Friday night dinner hours at Andiamo’s Dearborn location on Michigan Avenue.

Students in a number of degree programs do internships as part of their studies, and those internships are sometimes for non-profit groups that, yes, engage in protests. You know, as the goddamn constitution guarantees the right to do. But the House Republicans actually want to prevent that from happening and are threatening to cut state aid to universities if they allow students to do internships with groups they don’t approve of.

I didn’t think they could get any worse; I was wrong.

Comments

  1. sumdum says

    Never ceases to amaze me how anti union America is. In the Netherlands we’ve had unions since the early 19th century. For crying out loud, get with the times. You’re loooong overdue.

  2. Gregory in Seattle says

    “Is Nothing Too Far for Michigan Republicans?”

    That is the sort of question one should not ask, as it will inevitably be answered in full.

  3. slc1 says

    I wonder if Heath’s pal, Governor Snyder, will use his veto pen on this bill, or at least excise this clearly unconstitutional language.

  4. says

    Republicans actually want to prevent that from happening and are threatening to cut state aid to universities if they allow students to do internships with groups they don’t approve of.

    I suspect it’s just an excuse for doing what they really want to do, which is cut state aid to universities.

    Never ceases to amaze me how anti union America is. In the Netherlands we’ve had unions since the early 19th century.

    It wasn’t always this way in the U.S. The weakness of unions in this country is largely a legacy of the Reagan years.

  5. michaelgaribaldi says

    As long as they get to keep the football team when the universities are finally closed, I doubt the people of Michigan will even bother to take notice.

  6. says

    Never ceases to amaze me how anti union America is. In the Netherlands we’ve had unions since the early 19th century. For crying out loud, get with the times. You’re loooong overdue.

    Uh, we’ve had unions for that long too. And there was a time when they were very powerful. It’s just that over the last several decades they’ve been on the wane, in no small part because one major political party has taken an extreme anti-union stance, which is part of a larger agenda of disempowering working people and enriching the business elite. They’ve been enormously successful, as witnessed by the fact that nearly all labor productivity gains over the last decade have been sucked up by management and capital.

    What’s truly disturbing is how it’s never enough. Instead of resting on their laurels and enjoying the plutocracy they’ve created, they’ve redoubled their efforts to destroy the remaining unions and take away what few rights and privileges that working people still have. There’s no sense of balance, no sense of, “Okay, we’ve got the wildly unequal society we wanted, we can stop now.” Success has only made them more extreme. I don’t think they’ll be satisfied until the whole country looks like early 19th century Manchester.

  7. says

    State Rep. Joe Haveman added the provision at the behest of a restaurant industry lobbyist, but acknowledged in a recent committee meeting he doesn’t know what the rule concerns.

    Yep, that’s the party of Sound Business Sense, Opposition to Blind Nanny-State Regulation, and Individual Responsibility for you.

  8. Draken says

    In the Netherlands we’ve had unions since the early 19th century.

    Yeah, but (like in Denmark and probably most of Europe) they’re a shadow of their former selves, nowadays complicit with the powers that be and mostly occupied with haggling a couple of promille of wage increase now and then, and providing legal counsel for individual members.
    And oh, they issue credit cards.

    In the UK, the unions were effectively annihilated already under Thatcher- that flapdoodle Blair and his ‘New Labour’ are the pity witnesses of this.

    When was the last time you saw a union here stand up for great social injustice, like the treatment of foreign workers?

  9. d cwilson says

    “As we see it, students can receive internship credit for basically shaking down Michigan businesses,” said Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, chair of the panel.

    Yeah, you should have to get elected to the state legislature before you can shaek down businesses.

  10. says

    Yep, that’s the party of Sound Business Sense, Opposition to Blind Nanny-State Regulation, and Individual Responsibility for you.

    Not to mention the Denunciators of Crony Capitalism. What better way to prevent the government from favoring certain business interests than to let a business lobbyist write laws for you that you don’t understand?

  11. Aliasalpha says

    Hang on, the restaurant association? How shitty are Michigan restaurants that they get so many protests?

  12. Gregory in Seattle says

    @Area Man #6 – “It’s just that over the last several decades they’ve been on the wane, in no small part because one major political party has taken an extreme anti-union stance, which is part of a larger agenda of disempowering working people and enriching the business elite.”

    And as that one party has taken a very hard tack to the anti-union right, the other party has followed closely behind, just as they have on every other issue. The unions have noticed.

  13. Michael Heath says

    slc1 writes:

    I wonder if Heath’s pal, Governor Snyder, will use his veto pen on this bill, or at least excise this clearly unconstitutional language.

    I have no idea what Gov. Snyder will do or even if he’s aware of this passage. I’m supremely confident that any well-informed principled voter who supports a pol at the level of governor or above has encountered that pol signing a bill which had reprehensible indefensible legislation peripheral to the primary issues within said bill. Given this premise which I assume you’re informed enough to not deny, how do I differ from any other voter that you should distinguish me from others?

    From my perspective you’re trying to get a dig in for anyone supporting a Republican while I also perceive you once again depending solely on logical fallacies to make your case, just like your imagined motivations for all journalists. So I don’t find Gov. Snyder or me being at all relevant here, but instead and once again; what drives you to make arguments that can’t withstand a whiff of scrutiny?

  14. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #13

    Doesn’t the Governor of Michigan have a line item veto, like the governors in most of the states?

  15. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #13

    Hey, Heath thinks that Governor Snyder is the cat’s meow. I have no opinion on the matter.

  16. KG says

    It wasn’t always this way in the U.S. The weakness of unions in this country is largely a legacy of the Reagan years.- feralboy12

    Yes, that scumbag has a lot to answer for, as does anyone who voted for him or still defends his record.

  17. Michael Heath says

    slc1 writes:

    Hey, Heath thinks that Governor Snyder is the cat’s meow. I have no opinion on the matter.

    Changing the goal posts to avoid your prior attempt at criticism, classy.

  18. Michael Heath says

    KG writes:

    Yes, that scumbag [President Reagan] has a lot to answer for, as does anyone who voted for him or still defends his record.

    So how do you decide when to acknowledge the consensus view of experts, say on evolution or the French Revolution, or when do you decide to take a denialist view built on a different quality of explanations? Like those taken by creationism or that Reagan is solely a scumbag and those, like historians, who reveal otherwise are somehow morally culpable for acknowledging inconvenient facts?

  19. KG says

    Michael Heath,

    I have repeatedly given my reasons for considering Reagan a scumbag, and you have not disputed them. I have never said he is “solely a scumbag”, or anything like it: I have explicitly said that if your interprtation of a “successful president” is one who enhanced American power, Reagan was a successful President. Your interpretation of The Dead Hand as supporting your hero-worship of the scumbag is risible. I think it’s obvious enough why you take the attitude you do: you can’t face up to the fact that you voted for a scumbag who supported any tyrant, terrorist or torturer as long as they were anti-Soviet, repeatedly blew racist dog-whistles, and did his utmost to conentrate wealth and power in the hands of the few.

  20. dingojack says

    Psst – SLC I hear Michael Heath wants Isreal to be a radioactive hole in the ground*, and Micheal I hear that SLC thinks Reagan was a complete dud as a president and ate babies to boot!
    [Grabs a supply of Whimpy Burgers and sits back to watch the fireworks ;)]

    Dingo
    —–
    * A few 15Mt devices should do the job!

  21. KG says

    Incidentally, Michael Heath, if you really think there is consensus on the French Revolution among the relevant experts – beyond the most elementary facts about the course of political and military events, and the judgement that it was of considerable significance – you’d be well-advised not to make such a public display of your ignorance.

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