If you aren’t watching the Rachel Maddow show you are probably missing out on something very important happening in Michigan.
In a nutshell, the story is that the Michigan Constitution requires that bills wait until the end of the session — essentially, the end of the calendar year — plus 90 days before becoming law. You can, however, put a bill into effect immediately, provided you have a two-thirds majority in both chambers. Republicans have that super-majority in the Senate, but not in the House. Yet they appear to have given nearly every bill since they took over in January 2010 immediate effect.
Michigan Republicans have applied immediate effect even to legislation Democrats have opposed in a block, from taking away domestic partner benefits (pdf) to blocking the expansion of union rights (pdf) to the souped-up emergency manager law (pdf) that lets the state replace elected officials with managers who have unilateral control.
There is a video over at Maddow’s blog where you can see for yourself Republicans circumventing their own constitution. Democrats are now suing for the votes to be counted properly.
It may not be all a problem with Republicans though. As an addendum, Maddow states that there is some evidence to suggest Democrats passed several bills with the “immediate effect” status when they had the majority. The ultimate question is whether they bothered to count the votes before doing so.
If turns out that Democrats are doing the same thing. Shame on them. Every single bill passed with either a Democrat or a Republican majority by not obeying the law should be repealed.