Electing the Speaker of the House is Not Just a Formality

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PEG 12th Congressional District Newsletter 298

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Electing the Speaker of the House is not just a formality

As Brendan Buck, a former aide to two Republican Speakers, wrote in the New York Times:

The Constitution requires that the House elect a speaker, and the vote takes priority over all other business. Nothing else can be done until the question is resolved. The House votes on a speaker before it formally adopts the set of rules governing the body. The incoming members of Congress won’t even be sworn in until after they choose a speaker… If Republicans are unable to muster the votes for a speaker, it will make very clear from the outset they cannot be counted on to fulfill the body’s basic responsibilities, such as funding the government and preventing a credit default by lifting the debt ceiling, both of which will be required this year.

This congressperson was scared for the country before election. After the election, she still is.

The November 2022 election was a national and Michigan triumph for the Dems. Nationally a sitting president achieved the strongest first-term midterm Congressional showing of any President in eighty-eight years. And Michigan is looking blue again, taking the state house and senate, and the executive branch. 

According to Debbie Dingell, Michigan’s representative from the 6th Congressional district, “we need to be very careful to understand the message that [voters are] saying to us. And I think Michigan is still a purple state, but I think it was values that voted on Election Day.” She believes, ‘three issues mattered in the election: “inflation, but so did [reproductive] choice, and so did democracy. People are concerned about the direction of the country, but they want us to return to stability.”‘ While Rep. Dingell is “hopeful about the election results,” she remains concerned about our country’s politics. “It’s still there,” she says of the anger. “You talked to me before [the attack on] Paul Pelosi happened, and I still think that we are normalizing violence in too many places.” Read more

Two new Michigan laws become effective the first quarter of 2023

Michigan Minimum Wage Rate

On January 1, 2023, Michigan’s minimum wage rate increased from $9.87 to $10.10 per hour as set by Michigan’s Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 which established the annual schedule of increases.

Effective January 1, 2023:

  • The minimum hourly wage will increase to $10.10 per hour.
  • The 85% rate for minors aged 16 and 17 will increase to $8.59 per hour.
  • The tipped employee rate of hourly pay increases to $3.84 per hour.
  • The training wage of $4.25 per hour for newly hired employees ages 16 to 19 for their first 90 days of employment remains unchanged.

In July 2022 the Court of Claims issued a decision that agreed with that amended versions of the Michigan Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act and Paid Medical Leave Act was unconstitutional and ruled in favor of their original, unamended versions. On July 29, 2022, the Court of Claims entered an order staying the effect of this decision until February 19, 2023, to give employers and the relevant state agencies time to accommodate the changes required by the ruling.

This article gives a succinct accounting of the petition, legislation and litigation.

Automatic Expungement of Records

Effective April 2023 an automated system for expunging convictions will begin. So, residents who want to expunge their records won’t have to file an application.

An expungement is the process of setting aside a conviction. Michigan Law, MCL 780.621g, provides that individuals convicted of most state criminal offenses could be expunged or set aside, under certain circumstances and if certain pre-conditions are met. Not all offenses are eligible to be expunged. When a record is expunged or set aside it no longer becomes accessible to public records so employers and others cannot locate them, however, the records are still accessible in a non-public record which is available to law enforcement agencies. According to Michigan.gov, up to two felony convictions will be expunged 10 years after sentencing or the person’s release from custody. Also, up to four misdemeanors will be expunged seven years after sentencing. Some conviction will not qualify for automatic expungement.

Michigan.gov provides links and more specifics on which crimes cannot be expunged.


Sunday, January 8. Meet our NEW House Representatives

Representatives Carrie Rheingans and Jennifer Conlin will share how we can work with them to advance democracy in 2023. 7 pm

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87221635363?pwd=L0pVZFlKaS9CeWUvWUk0M05GQUhZUT09

Meeting ID: 872 2163 5363

Passcode: 072320

Wednesday, January 11. Wear Blue to spark awareness for Human Trafficking

Originally signed into existence by former president Barack Obama in 2011, Human Trafficking Awareness Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and the exploitation of individuals for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. It is also a chance to show solidarity with the estimated 40 million suffering worldwide. Follow PEG’s InstagramFacebook, and Twitter accounts for shareable information on Wednesday! If you see something that looks like forced labor or trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline anonymously at 888.3737.888

Monday, January 16. MLK Day of Service

U-M MLK Symposium:“The (R)evolution of MLK: from Segregation to Elevation,” will explore King’s activism after 1964, highlighting the evolution of King’s primary focus on segregation to a broader, more radical, and revolutionary platform that included health, economics, and education. Dr. King’s quote, “White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society,” defines him as a front-runner in Critical Race Theory. Keynote can be attended live at Hill Auditorium or livestreamed. 10 am

MLK President’s Luncheon and Keynote Address: Dedication, Determination, and Discipline featuring Dr. Sampson Davis. Eastern Michigan University Student Center Ballroom (Live Streamed). 11:30 am-1:30 pm

Things to read, watch, and listen to

What’s the Problem with the Polls??

In an important article in the NY Times this week, a team of journalists investigated The ‘Red Wave’ Washout: How Skewed Polls Fed a False Election Narrative.” A Jan 3rd interview of one of the authors can be seen here (from MNBC’s “Morning Joe”).

Numerous examples were given of instances in which the polling results of partisan pollsters who were predicting a Red Wave, were amplified by the media. One example was Sen Patty Murray (D-Wash). Her mid-summer polls showed a 20-point lead, but in September several Republican leaning polls had her barely in the lead. Headlines in the news were sending out warning signals. Though her own polling showed her up by 13, she was worried about what she was seeing. Though she had amassed $20 million that she planned to distribute to more vulnerable candidates, she used her money, as well as additional money from the national Senate committee and PACS, to shore up her own campaign. As it was, she won by nearly 15 points, and other candidates around the country – with a fighting chance of winning – were unable to benefit from resources available to Sen Murray. Similar events occurred in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Colorado.

A new factor this election cycle was that the traditional nonpartisan pollsters conducted fewer polls, thus creating a situation where their accurate polls were overwhelmed by the number of partisan polls. In additional, questionable polls were developed not only by Republicans but also by Democrats. And some pollsters lacked experience, such as two high-school juniors in Pennsylvania who started Patriot Polling and quickly found their surveys included on the statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight.

Simon Rosenberg, a former adviser to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was worried that the “G.O.P.-inflected polls were wrong and could persuade Democratic activists to give up rather than go out and knock on doors. He used his podcast and his Twitter account to tell Democrats that their chances were better than they realized.”

By the fall, perceptions of a red wave were starting to affect strategies, pushing money toward mistakenly perceived trouble spots. Insiders in both parties, mindful of past errors, began to doubt their own internal polls. “Shaping perceptions across the ideological spectrum, the steady flow of data predicting a red wave prompted real-world decision-making that members of both parties now say could have tilted the balance of power in Congress.”

One of the high school juniors, Lucca Ruggieri, summed up the bottom line: “I think people should pay less attention to the polls.”

Memorable Quotes from 2022

From MIRS (Michigan Information and Research Service) 

After Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey’s story during his goodbye speech about how he felt the toilet water in the Binsfeld Building’s to see if it was hot (12/7/22), the incoming Senate Majority Floor Leader Sam Singh (D) tweeted a bit of advice for incoming lawmakers.

“I know I have been out of office for four years, but incoming legislator, you don’t need to put your hands in any legislative toilets.”

Charlie Cook from the Cook Political Report, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures conference in Denver 08/05/2022

“People who vote in Republican primaries – like serious, real Republicans – I think 50% would jump off the edge of the Grand Canyon because I think they would assume that either A) Trump would catch them or B) the experts were wrong and it’s really not that deep.”

Pollster Richard Czuba on President Donald Trump’s influence on the Michigan Republican Party 04/07/2022

“We’ve never seen it before in either party where one man, one candidate is the determinant for everything.”

Michigan Education Association spokesperson Thomas MORGAN on the Michigan Freedom Fund linking the decision at nine public school districts to limit in-person learning until at least Wednesday due to COVID-19 concerns to the Governor and the teacher unions. 01/03/2022

“They forgot Tom HANKS, Nancy PELOSI and the harvesting of adrenal glands. They’re missing some pieces of the conspiracy there.’”

Jon Meacham, a historian who gave the keynote address at the Mackinac Policy Conference. 06/01/2022

“Grabbing power in the short term, however satisfying it might be. I promise you, it’s empty calories. It’s a Twinkie, and it’s not worth it.”

Former Gov. Jim Blanchard opining on the evolving Republican gubernatorial field 05/27/2022

“You want candidates who are for the public interest and have contact with reality, that are on this planet and not from Jupiter.”

Visit EqualityInGov.org

A special thanks to our newsletter contributors: Ellen Halter, Leslie McGraw, Leslie Kamil, Lisa Kamil, Richard Gaeth, Bette Cotzin, Bernie Banet, Linda Bennett, Kayla Conrad, and Chuck Newman for their contributions and help preparing our newsletters. PEG is a (somewhat) non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. PEG’s work is primarily done by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs.  To subscribe to this free weekly newsletter, go to our sign up form by clicking here.

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