Protestors at State Capitol: GOP lame-duck bills a ‘power grab’
LANSING, Mich. — Protestors flocked to the State Capitol on Tuesday to rail against legislation they claim Republican lawmakers are trying to ram through before year’s end. And before Democrats take leadership in a number of key positions.
Among the measures introduced by Republican lawmakers last month were bills that would reduce officeholders’ authority in regard to campaign-finance oversight.
On Tuesday, one protestor in the crowd at the Capitol Rotunda wore a giant duck-head costume.
The protestors have called a number of Republican-led bills an attempted “power grab” during the lame-duck session, which began after the November election and runs until January 1st – when Democrats take control of the top leadership roles. The Michigan Democrats won the governor’s chair (Gretchen Whitmer), the Attorney General’s post (Dana Nessel) and Secretary of State position (Jocelyn Benson) in the election.
Similar protests have taken place in Wisconsin.
A Michigan bill that would impact the state’s minimum wage drew the ire of some of the protestors. Rachel Burnett showed up at the State Capitol to support One Fair Wage legislation “to end the tip credit for bartenders and servers. I think we should be paid a full hourly wage. Tips were not supposed to be a part of worker’s wages.”
Tracy Pease is a restaurant worker. She tells FOX 17, “I’ve been a restaurant worker for over 30 years. I started in 1989 at $2.50 cents an hour. And in the span of 30 years I have received a 1 dollar raise. That is equivalant to 3 cents a year It is an insult.”
Michigan enacted a mandatory paid Sick Leave law in September that would provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works.
State Representative Tim Greimel said, “What the majority is trying to do here is absolutely wrong and against the will of the people in the state. So, I’m very appreciative of the activists and the regular folk coming out and letting their voices be heard.”
State Rep. Rob VerHeulen of Walker says Republicans are trying to clear up any misconceptions that protestors may have, such as House Bill 6553: “What it does is allow the House or Senate to intervene in litigation. Current Michgian law allows us to do that but only with approval of the court.”
He says the bill would not take power away from the incoming Attorney General. “I think it’s people who don’t understand. It’s been rumored that in some way this reduces the power of the Attorney General. This bill does none of that.”
FOX 17’s Michael Dupre conducted the interviews for this story.