Jan 29, 2008

Democrats open new front in recall battle and fire salvo at DeRoche

Democrats opened a new front in the recall battle that was launched late last year against the primarily Democratic legislators who voted in October to increase the state income tax and place a sales tax on some services that helped balance the state budget and erased a $1.8 billion budget deficit by launching a recall of their own.

Democrats filed recall petition language on Monday against House Minority Leader Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, charging his vote against repealing the state's pharmaceutical company immunity law that allows consumers to sue drug companies who cause death and injury through negligence. But Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said in a statement that DeRoche was targeted for his complicity in the recall efforts against other House members for their votes on the recent tax increases.

The recall is being spearheaded by the Michigan Taxpayer Alliance (MTA), led by Republican Macomb County Commissioner Leon Drolet, and an Oakland County group calling itself "Stop Hurting Michigan's Kids," led by conservative activitist Tom McMillin. However, the Michigan Republican Party has been towing an electronic around to the districts of Democratic members targeted for recall. The prop lists the payee as "Democrat big spenders" and the dollar amount as "more than Michigan can afford."

Brewer has charged that the recall is being financed by out of state money and special interest groups to try and undermine the will of the voters, and that may have been born out last week when the group Taxpayers to Recall State Representative Robert Dean filed a lawsuit in Kent County Circuit Court claiming their First Amendment right to freedom of speech are being violated because of the requirement that petition gatherers live in the district.

Under Michigan election law, the petition gathers must be registered voters in the district the person being recalled represents. The recall effort has been seeking people to work for $9 an hour and $2 for each signature over 50.

Recall language has already been approved for House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township; Rep. Marc Corriveau, D-Northville; Rep. Ed Gaffney, R-Grosse Pointe Farms, Rep. Steve Bieda, D-Warren; Rep. Robert Dean, D-Grand Rapids; and Rep. Marie Donigan, D-Royal Oak. Those rejected of because of unclear language intended for the recall petitions include Sen. Jerry Van Woerkom, R-Norton Shores; Rep. Mary Valentine, D-Muskegon; and Rep. Joel Sheltrown, D-West Branch.

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