Week Ahead: December 17

This is the last issue of this post for 2018. Many thanks to you all for your comments, corrections, suggested edits, and other feedback during the year. If you have any thoughts on improvements, as always, let us know. The steering team is always striving to make this weekly guide useful to as many as possible.


Negotiations to fund the federal government will come to a head in the next week. Expect a fight over the border wall.

Also, given the egregious power grab attempts by Republicans in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Missouri, don’t be surprised if Congressional Republicans try to bury a few surprises in must-pass budget legislation in an attempt to constrain the authority of the incoming Democratic majority.

As the Democrats move closer to assuming power in the House, expect increased speculation about the types of things they will investigate. For those things affecting Trump’s family and his finances, expect more hysterical and irrational reactions from Trump. Investigations into more peripheral actors and issues my still be extremely important but receive less attention.

State and Local

Lame Duck Update

Unfortunately, the lame duck session in Michigan is playing out as expected with Governor Snyder signing the bills to derail the increased minimum wage and paid sick leave this past week. There are still other bills on their way to his desk and, although vetoes are likely a long shot, please continue to call and email.

Ken Sikkema Challenge from Michigan Radio

Ken, a former Republican state legislator and now a consultant with Public Sector Consultants, said that the lame duck legislation that we are now seeing is “just politics as usual.” When questioned if there could be a back-lash in 2020, his response was:
“people have short memories and will forget this by 2020”.

Let’s prove Ken Sikkema wrong and keep the momentum going with calls, emails, rallies and most of all, votes. Let’s see if we can get the #KenSikkemaChallenge trending on social media.

Another excellent summary of the lame duck bills from Shellie Jeffries follows:

One week to go, so expect a flurry of activity and voting. Time to stay alert and be ready to make phone calls to your legislators and Gov. Snyder.

Bills waiting for Gov. Synder’s signature

  • SB1198: Permanently ban physicians from prescribing the two-step abortion pills during telemedicine sessions.
  • HB4205: State agencies could not set stricter standards than the federal government.

Bills passed in the Senate and awaiting House action:

  • SB1022: Allow senators who earlier ran for the House to transfer surplus funds from their Senate campaign committees to their House committees.
  • SB1176: Makes some election donations — the millions that came from nonprofit political advocacy groups — harder to trace.
  • SB1188-1194: Prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or charters “prohibiting or restricting the removal of trees or other vegetation.” The concern is that the bills remove important land-use provisions from local officials, planners and developers.
  • SB1211: Reduce protection of wetlands
  • SB1238-1240 (Prop 3): Require a declaration of U.S. citizenship on driver’s licenses and state IDs before a person could automatically be registered to vote and also allow a person to opt out of registering to vote when they got state identifications or driver’s licenses. And, while the proposal allows people to register to vote up until the day of the election, the bill limits the ability to register to 14 days before an election.
  • SB1244: Limits the state’s ability to use the most current science when deciding how much cleanup a toxic site requires.
  • SB1250-52: Shift oversight of campaign finance law from the secretary of state to a six-person commission appointed by the governor, diluting the Secretary of State’s powers and authority
  • SB1254 (Prop 2): Define how party affiliation is determined and fine people who wanted to become one of the 13 members of the redistricting commission up to $500 if they mischaracterize their political affiliation. The concern is that given the volatile nature of the lame-duck Legislature, a relatively benign bill will morph into something more onerous.

Bills passed in the House and awaiting Senate action:

  • HB6553: Let the legislature intervene in legal proceedings when the state is a party (thus undermining the roll and power of the state Attorney General and Governor)
  • HB6595: Put new restrictions on gathering signatures for ballot proposals making it harder (if not downright impossible) for citizens to amend the MI constitution.

MEETINGS/TRAINING (Thanks to Linda Kristensen and Shellie Jeffries for this information.)

MONDAY  December 17

  • Michigan League of Conservation Voters Phone Bank Days, 5pm-7pm, 400 Ann St NW, Ste 206, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 Contact: Anne Marie office 616-288-3057.

TUESDAY  December 18

  • no events scheduled

WEDNESDAY – December 19

  • no events scheduled

THURSDAY – December 20

  • ACLU Monthly Meeting, 5:30 pm, Wealthy Theatre Annex, 1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

FRIDAY  December 21

  • no events scheduled

SATURDAY – December 22

  • no events scheduled

SUNDAY – December 23

  • no events scheduled

On the Horizon

  • Congressman Bill Huizenga Accountability Rally – Jan 3
  • Women’s March Grand Rapids – Jan 19
  • Grand Rapids Whitmer Winter Warm-Up – Jan 26