That is, much of what you’ve read about. But at the same time, lots of arguably more important stuff was going on. For example, offshore drilling for oil. After the disasters in the Gulf of Mexico and the Kalamazoo River, wouldn’t you think that we’d be willing to do anything we could to prevent an oil spill in the Great Lakes, the most important source of fresh water in the world?
I would think so, and so does State Representative Daniel Scripps of Northport. The difference is that he actually is trying to do something about it. He’s been pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban offshore drilling for oil and gas. Drilling in the Great Lakes is already illegal -- but as it now stands, that could be repealed in hours by a simple vote in the legislature.
Scripps wanted to give our lakes more protection by putting an amendment in the state constitution banning drilling. He wanted the legislature to put it on the ballot this November so the people could decide. But that’s not going to happen.
Why? Because the Michigan Senate decided instead to go on vacation. That’s right. Even though the clock is ticking, and the state budget isn’t anywhere near done.
The state house, which has been on vacation since before the August 3rd primary, came moseying back this week. But then, the Senate, which was supposed to be working, promptly canceled its sessions and took a break until after Labor Day.
Don’t you wish you could do that on your job? Anyway, that killed any chance of putting any proposed constitutional amendment on this year’s ballot. The lawmakers would have had to act by next week -- but the senators will be gone.
This also would seem to mean that we will be going into another last-minute showdown to see whether the lawmakers can avoid another government shutdown. The budget has to be passed and signed by the end of next month.
However, the senators aren’t even planning on showing up for work again until September 7th. There are times when it‘s hard not to sympathize with those who say they are overpaid.
To be fair, the senators are willing to do something. They made it clear last week that they are, by God, willing to block any appointments the governor makes to any state boards and commissions. Legally, she has a perfect right to make these appointments. We elected her to serve till New Year’s Day.
But Republicans, who control the senate, want those slots left vacant till the next governor, who they think will be a Republican, comes in. By the way, how important are these jobs?
Here’s a sample. The governor wants to appoint Ryan Malburg, Steven Bouwkamp and Richard Oomen to the state carrot committee.
She wants to put Tim Wilkes of Alma on the potato industry commission, put Tom Klapp on the Board of Chiropractic, and keep Kathy Spiller of Saginaw on the state Cosmetology Board.
Stop the presses. Yet blocking those unpaid appointments is evidently important to some of our leaders.
More important, that is, than doing their jobs. Some days I wonder if a monarchy wouldn’t be so bad after all.