Editor's Note: What the GOP Legislature has been doing this lame duck session has been characterized nationally as a "power grab." However, is this alleged 'power grab' a broad-based reaction to the Democrats sweeping the top statewide political races in November, or is Nessel the primary catalyst and target? MIRS asked a panel of political pundits to tackle that question as well as three others.
Q. How much -- about 25 percent, 33 percent or 50 percent -- of what's being called the "Republican "power grab" playing out in the lame duck session is a reaction to the prospect of Attorney-General Elect Dana Nessel taking office?
T.J. BUCHOLZ, Vanguard Public Affairs President and Managing Partner and Dykema Forms Strategic Partnership Dykema, asserts that it's Nessel, Nessel, Nessel.
"Is there an answer higher than 50 percent?" Bucholz quipped. "Every move this Legislature is making is targeted in one way or the other at weakening Dana Nessel and making it harder for her to function. For the Republicans, she's their soft target and they will use every tactic they can think of to make it difficult for her. They expect her to follow up on her threats to sue President Donald TRUMP and other Republicans -- and the fact that she's an out member of the LGBTQ community gives them the vapors. Welcome to the New World, GOP."
Q. Up until this week, how much of what's been happening in lame duck session has consisted of the GOP-controlled legislature scrambling to pass legislation regardless of whether Gov. Rick SNYDER is likely to sign it?
According to Bucholz, the Republicans are more interested in making statements than passing good legislation.
"Legislative Republicans are putting flags in the ground on their conservative agenda to make a statement for Gretchen Whitmer," Bucholz said. "Frankly, I'm not convinced that they even care if Rick Snyder signs the bills or not. When Whitmer attempts to undo or oppose their work either realistically or philosophically, you can bet they will do their best to put it in a mail piece post-election to hit Democrats in the throat."
Q. Now that we're going to have a Democratic Governor, should Michigan's business community resign itself to having to find some way of getting voters to reject the next minimum wage hike ballot proposal?
Bucholz said the state's business community had best be on their toes regarding more than just the minimum wage issue.
"I'm not convinced Gretchen Whitmer will be as anti-business as Republicans will lead you to believe, but I know for sure that the new Governor believes that increasing the minimum wage is best for Michigan citizens in the long run economically," Bucholz said. "Conservatives better have a plan to counter because to do everything progressives want to accomplish, taxing the business community and the ultra-rich in some way might be a part of it."
Q. What would be a better bet -- that the Legislature will successfully pass legislation to fix Michigan's no-fault auto insurance problem in lame duck session or that the outdoor temperature on New Year's Day in Lansing will be warmer than 65 degrees?
"I think this Legislature doesn't get a fix on no-fault insurance done," Bucholz said. "I think they will wait on Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN to craft a solution, so the conservative majority can throw rocks at it. It's much easier to play the Americans than the British strategically in a Revolutionary War scenario and they will let the Governor make the first move. I'll plan for shorts on Jan. 1."
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