Jun 2, 2009

Senate Republicans’ action in Senate session demonstrate lies and hypocrisy

LANSING - If you looked up the word hypocrisy in the dictionary you might find the Republican Party’s platform and a photo of Alan Cropsey.

Senate Democrats attempted to discharge the package of bills previously approved by he House that would end immunity for drug companies that was defeated along party lines on Tuesday, and Cropsey had the nerve to accuse Democrats of playing politics; apparently because General Motors had just declared abruptly. Senate Republicans have been using the excuse of the budget crisis for their failure to act on any meaningful legislation, yet the session on Tuesday lasted just an hour.

The bills would end immunity for drug companies if their drugs kill or maim the people who take them, and it would repel the current ban enacted in 1996 by then Gov. John Engler designed to shield huge pharmaceutical companies from any responsibility.

Democrats tried to discharge it from the Committee on Government Operations and Reform, chaired by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop on April 30. That committee never meets and it’s where bills are sent to die, but Republicans postponed it until June 2. They did so again today. Michigan is the only state in the nation that shields big drug companies that make and sell harmful products from giving legal recourse to victims and their families.

“Michigan’s one-in-the-nation drug industry immunity law treats Michigan victims like second-class citizens, a status that’s further reinforced every time the Senate Republicans delay even discussing this issue,” said Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. “While Mike Bishop and his colleagues cowardly hide behind the argument that this issue is not germane to the budget and economic issues before us, they take up legislation to address double-crested cormorants or create more specialty license plates.”

Sen. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, noted that Bishop finally referred House Bill 4377, the workplace smoking ban that was approved with bipartisan support last month, to a committee, but it was the committee where bills go to die.

“I’m praying and I’m hoping that our Majority Leader had this bill referred to his committee because he wants to stand up and take leadership on this issue,” Hunter said. “I am hoping that he referred it to his committee because he intends on holding hearings; he intends on hearing from the Michigan citizens and their families who are affected by all of the awful diseases that have resulted in death because of smoking.”

But Bishop said he has no intention of moving it, despite overwhelming support for the ban from the public.

Cropsey then pulls out his standard budget excuse for only bringing up legislation addressing specialty license plates and double-crested cormorants, and he then has the guts to accuse Democrats of playing politics.

“Once again today, I hate to say it, but the other side of the aisle has been trying to play partisan politics in a very serious situation in which they seem to totally ignore the fact that General Motors has declared bankruptcy,” he said.

At the height of hypocrisy, he then blames the lack of a smoking ban on the House Democrats, and then he outright lies when he says the House failed to take up the version the Senate passed last year that had no exceptions to a ban.

“I would also like to remark that certain people have tried to say that the Senate needs to be working on a smoking ban,” he said. “The Senate did work on a smoking ban and passed through a complete smoking ban last year. It was the House of Representatives that failed to take that up.”

That is a lie. In September of last year the House took up the version the Senate passed, and it got the majority of votes; but it was not the majority of those serving. The Senate only took up one version.

Cropsey was assigned to the conference committee last December that is supposed to work out a compromise between the two versions, but he refused to compromise and admitted it.

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