Sep 23, 2010

Senate Republicans use committee hearing as campaign event

There is little doubt that most of what Republicans do is to just to keep and regain power and has very little to do with actually improving things, usually using their favorite tactic of dividing and giving us other people to fear and demonize, and we saw a rare example of how the Michigan Senate Republicans do it on Tuesday in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.
In her unsuccessful run to win the GOP nomination for Michigan Secretary of State, Sen. Michele McManus, R-Lake Leelanau, introduced two bills, Senate Bills 1371-1372, that would require public employers and personnel agencies to use the E-Verify system to make sure they're not hiring or referring illegal immigrants. In Republican’s mad dash to the right, they have demonized those of Hispanic heritage with the unconstitutional and racist show-me-your-papers law in Arizona.

Even Republican politicians in Michigan have used it to gain favor with primary voters, and McManus figured to take advantage of that demonization with the E-Verify bills. We saw some of the jockeying for the SOS race when McManus and fellow Senator and GOP SOS candidate Sen. Cameron Brown, R-Sturgis, publicly argued in committee this summer over whose identical campaign-like bills will be taken up by committee.

But now that McManus has lost the nomination to career politician Ruth Johnson, she no longer needs SBs 1371-1371, and she was angry when Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, had the committee take up her bills.

I have never heard of a Legislator being angry that their bills were being taken up, until now. In fact, subscription only MIRS that covers the Capitol said that “McManus sponsored the bills to boost her bid for Secretary of State, but she finished last at the GOP convention last month. Now sources say the senator wants to wash her hands of the issue.”

It appears that the Senate Republicans want to take advantage of some of the anger out there that illegals are taking Michigan jobs and take up this bill. McManus confirmed that when she told MIRS that was the only reason Bishop took up the bills.

"I had requested that they not be added to the committee's agenda, but it is my understanding that over my objections the Senate Majority Leader has personally instructed the Chair to hold a hearing on them,” McManus told MIRS. “I sympathize with the Chair," McManus said in her testimony. "These bills are not ready for consideration by the committee. They are being considered today due to a desire by the Majority Leader to cater to certain members of the public."

The bills were opposed by both the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), two organizations that are strong supporters of Republicans. Representatives from those organizations testified that E-Verify fails to detect 54 percent of illegal workers according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, and that would add red tape for employers.

Charlie Owens of NFIB said that immigration needs to be handled by Congress instead of setting up a "patchwork system."

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