House Democrats Outraged Over GOP's Disregard for Constitution

House Republicans continue to ignore Constitution, except when convenient
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

LANSING – In a shameful abuse of power, the House Republicans today continued to play politics by granting record roll call votes for certain legislative items, but refusing it for others. Refusing a request for a record roll call is a clear violation of Article IV § 18 of the Michigan Constitution, which states in pertinent part, “The record of the vote and name of the members of either house voting on any question shall be entered in the journal at the request of one-fifth of the members present.”

Last week House Democratic Floor Leader Kate Segal (Battle Creek), backed up by signatures from 46 caucus members, notified the Speaker and the Clerk of the House that Democrats would be requesting roll call votes on all immediate effect votes. Today, Republicans seemed willing to follow the Constitution, allowing for roll calls on several bills, but then abruptly ignored further requests.

“It is clear the majority party wants to pick and choose roll call votes for political gain instead of following the rule of law.”, said Segal. “Once again we see Republican gamesmanship at its worst.”

Democrats stressed that House Bill 5063, which is scheduled for passage tomorrow, is another bill for which they intend to block immediate effect. The bill would change election law by requiring an approval process before ballot initiative petition drives can begin collecting signatures. The change has been called a solution in search of a problem, since only rarely are petitions ever rejected as to form.

“The GOP needs to realize that the Michigan Constitution is not an optional document only to be followed when it suits their political whims,” said Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (Mt. Morris Township). “The Republican caucus simply does not have enough votes to grant immediate effect. They will have a chance again tomorrow to show us what they think about our Constitution.”