March 27, 2012 Bookmark and Share

House Dems File Lawsuit Over Constitutional Violations

Call lawsuit "unfortunate but necessary"

LANSING - House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (Mt. Morris Township) and members of the House Democratic Caucus today announced the filing of a lawsuit in Ingham County Circuit Court over the House Republicans’ constitutional violations of giving bills immediate effect without having the necessary votes and ignoring House Democrats’ demands for record roll call votes on issues like immediate effect, even when the House Democrats have shown more than enough support under the state constitution. Leader Hammel, Democratic Floor Leader Kate Segal (Battle Creek), and Representatives Woodrow Stanley (Flint), Mark Meadows (East Lansing), Steven Lindberg (Marquette) and Jeff Irwin (Ann Arbor) were all named as plaintiffs on the House Dem’s motion for a temporary restraining order and show cause hearing.

“It’s very regrettable that it has come this far,” said Hammel. “Our caucus wanted to avoid this measure and we exhausted reasoning with Republicans to follow the constitution with regard to roll call votes and immediate effect. We don’t vote for ourselves in the Capitol, we vote on behalf of our constituents. When we’re denied the constitutionally guaranteed rights, hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents are being denied a fair voice in how their state is run. I only hope this matter can be resolved quickly.”

Under the constitution, the House must allow a record roll call vote on immediate effect if one-fifth of members (22) request it. The House Democratic Caucus currently has 47 members. House Republicans have ignored demands for record roll call votes to avoid counting votes when support is in doubt. Instead of allowing the legislative process to takes place as it should under the state constitution, Republicans have ignored the constitution by not being truthful about the numbers of votes they have for immediate effect. This practice denies the constitutional right to roll call votes and silences the voices of Michigan residents. The lawsuit is an attempt by House Democrats to get majority Republicans to stop trampling over rights granted to the people under the state constitution.

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