Michigan Republicans, desperate for something -- anything -- to make themselves look good, have now resorted to bullying Democratic legislators in order to steal their legislative proposals.
But even Republicans don’t think that EVERY idea that Democrats have is a bad one. It’s just not something they want the rest of Michigan to believe. So, in order to deny Democrats any legislative victories in the current session, Republicans have begun using an approach that I haven’t heard of before: introducing legislation that is identical to a bill that was introduced by a Democrat and then supporting that legislation instead.
Oh, I see. In some circles which are not legislative, we might call that plagiarism. Then again, when you're a legislator used to having all of your legislation written by ALEC, I suppose it's not a far stretch to reach across the aisle and swipe whatever might make you look good. Their tactics are downright thuggish, as usual. After a freshman Democrat introduced legislation to give returning veterans resident status for college tuition, this happened:
It’s a great idea. With his background as a two-time Iraqi veteran with the Marine Corp, Knezek knows a little bit about the challenges that face returning vets. In fact, Knezek told me that he had a number of Republicans approach him after he introduced HJR L on February 28th to tell him they thought it was a great piece of legislation. Then, in early March, Republican State Rep. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) came to him and told him he’d have to pull HJR L.
“Why?” asked Knezek.
“Because I’m taking it,” Stamas told the dumbfounded freshman lawmaker.
And take it he did. Just a week after Knezek had introduced HJR L, Stamas introduced House Joint Resolution N (pdf). You might think that with such a blatant theft Stamas would have added his own spin to the resolution. You would be wrong. HJR L and HJR N are identical, word-for-word.
Well, then. Knezek was about as generous as he could be about it, saying he was glad to see it passed even if it wasn't his bill. I suppose that's true, but someone ought to put the bully in the corner.