Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):
The Michigan House of Representatives just returned from its long summer recess last week, and GOP state representatives are already introducing idiotic new legislation.
Remember former State Representative Dave Agema's anti-Sharia law bill from 2011? Well, it resurfaced today as HB 5874, introduced by State Representatives Thomas Hooker, Jim Runestad, Ray Franz, Pat Somerville, and Tom Barrett. As if there aren't more pressing problems facing the people of Michigan — what a waste of time and resources.
And then there's HB 5858, introduced yesterday by State Representative Gary Glenn. The bill would significantly expand the definition of "strike" in Michigan's Public Employment Relations Act. For example, under the ridiculously broad language in § 1(j), a teacher who briefly leaves his or her classroom during the school day to take a phone call or go to the bathroom would probably be engaging in an illegal "strike." What an absolute joke.
What about public transportation? Under a state statute enacted in 2012, southeast Michigan finally has a chance to build a functional public transportation system through the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). One of the biggest complications associated with the current Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) is that municipalities in metropolitan Detroit have the ability to "opt out" of the regional bus service. State Representative Peter Lucido has now introduced HB 5869, which would similarly allow municipalities to opt out of the new RTA system. I guess some people really don't want the RTA to succeed.
You know, I might be tempted to turn a blind eye if these same lawmakers were also working to fix real problems. But I've seen very little evidence of that. Oh, by the way — I'm still waiting for those tough, new, safe-drinking-water laws that we were promised last spring.