Tea-Publican Tyranny in Michigan: The billionaire bastard Koch brothers funded ALEC

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Detroit Free Press has another great editorial opinion, this time excoriating the billionaire bastard Koch brothers funded ALEC for the lame-duck session attempt to pass a right to work law in the birthplace of the United Auto Workers. Editorial: Drinking the Kochs' Kool-Aid:

Americans For Prosperity, founded by billionaire tea party titans David
and Charles Koch, is heralding Michigan's imminent passage of
right-to-work legislation laws in Michigan as "the shot heard around the
world" in the fight to weaken unions.

But the group was also a significant financial backer of Proposal 5, an effort to amend the Michigan Constitution to bar tax increases without a two-thirds legislative supermajority. [Prop. 108 (1992) in Arizona.]

So why would Snyder turn from labor unions to a group that was behind
a constitutional amendment he described as "bad public policy"?

The
answer may lie in another Koch-funded group, the American Legislative
Exchange Council, which promotes a radical right-wing agenda in states
across the country, supplying "model legislation" to sympathetic
lawmakers
.

The organization boasts more than 2,000 legislative
members. It also has corporate members, who weigh in on the model
legislation before it's approved by the group's public-sector committee,
the group's national chairman said in an interview he gave after dozens
of pieces of ALEC-written model legislation were leaked last year in a
joint project by The Nation and the Center for Media and Democracy.

Michigan's proposed right-to-work bills mirror the ALEC language practically word-for-word.

It's
unclear how many Michigan lawmakers are members of ALEC; the group
doesn't make its membership rolls public. But at least one of the
lawmakers who introduced Michigan's right-to-work legislation has been
associated with ALEC.

Certainly, there are a large number of Michigan legislators who are
beholden to Americans for Prosperity, or the Koch brothers. Word is the
groups threatened Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville's leadership
post, and promised him a primary challenge in 2014, if he refused to
move right-to-work forward.

But none of this explains why the
seemingly pragmatic Snyder would hitch his wagon to an organization that
has already demonstrated more interest in its own ideological
objectives than in Snyder's priorities. What have ALEC's sponsors done
for Michigan, and how did a governor who seemed dedicated to the middle
path throw end up in bed with them?

Snyder says right-to-work was
put on his agenda. But he owes his constituents more detail about who
put it there, and how they got his ear.

For the record, it is not just the billionaire bastard Koch brothers funded front groups. Right-wing Michigan businessman Dick DeVos, the heir to the Amway fortune, is primarily behind the Tea-Publican tyranny in Michigan. UAW Leader Slams Koch Brothers Over Right To Work Law:

United Auto Workers President Bob King blamed the influence of the Koch brothers, Charles and David, as well as “the extreme right wing.”

In the end, [Michigan businessman] Dick Devos and the extreme right-wing control what’s going on in the state,” King told Detroit radio station WDET.

“And the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity was in there, and
there was a lot of money all pushing for the passage of this
legislation, threatening the governor, threatening the different representatives.”

King also said that Republican legislators had been bullied into
voting for the bill. “The stories we were told by Republicans, who I’m
sure won’t admit to it publicly…was that they were threatened, that they would have a primary challenge from the Tea Party.”

He suggested that the same threats had been made against Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

Note: You can watch the Michigan House debate the anti-union bill live online.

UPDATE: Here is the scene outrside the Michigan capitol building (h/t The Maddow Blog).

Michigan
Anne Savage/Eclectablog

No normal day in Michigan:

With Republicans in the state legislature set to finish hustling through
legislation that takes away union rights, this is not a usual day in
Michigan. The Detroit News reports that three school districts opted to close because so many teachers are going to the Capitol in Lansing for protests.

* * *

The scene at the Capitol seems to be crazy, loud and, so far, peaceful. The Michigan legislature is set to go into session at 10 A.M. Once the two chambers finish voting on the so-called Right to Work bill, Governor Snyder has said he will sign it.

Thanks to Anne Savage of Eclectablog for the picture. They're liveblogging the events today.

UPDATE: Eclectablog reports:

The amendment to remove the $1,000,000 appropriation from the House bill
(which makes it immune to a citizen’s ballot referendum) fails 64-47.
Can’t be having the simple folk weighing in what Senator Carl Levin called
“as serious issue as has ever been seen in this state”. That’s just for
our Big Government Republican mommies and daddies, I guess…

12:05 p.m. – House Bill 4003 passes the House 58-51 and is now on its way to Governor Snyder’s desk to be signed into law. Only Republicans Forlini, Goike, Horn, McBroom, Somerville, and Zorn voted against it.

12:25 p.m. – Senate Bill 116 which is the Right to Work for
Less for the private sector has been discharged from Committee
.
Democrats are arguing that this violates House rules. The full House is
now taking it on with Democrats trying yet another amendment to take out
the $1,000,000 appropriation which will, in turn, fail because it’s
VERY clear that the Republicans have no intention of letting this
opportunity to screw the unions pass them by.

By the way, the Senate adjourned for the day. They still have a bill of their own to pass.

1:20 p.m. – Snyder appeared on Andrea Mitchell Reports a short
time ago and said he will sign the legislation when it hits his desk. I
guess being shamed by a half-dozen Congressman and two U.S. Senators
along with a record-breaking crowd outside his office wasn’t enough to
sway him. That sweet, sweet DeVos money is a powerful motivator, it
seems.

1:35 p.m. – House passes S.B. 116 58-52. Michigan is officially a Right to Work for Less/Freedom to Freeload state.
It’s worth noting that, given the shift in seats in favor of Democrats
on November 6th, this bill would have failed in the new 2013 session.

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