Last night you may have seen a surprisingly long segment on the Rachel Maddow Show devoted to the controversy surrounding “immediate effect” in the Michigan House. It’s a complex issue, but that doesn’t make the Republicans’ egregious abuses of power any less outrageous. 

Under the Michigan Constitution, bills are not supposed to go into effect until after the close of the current legislative session. This was intentionally designed as a check on the power of the Legislature, with the exception that if laws need to be implemented quickly in an emergency, they can take “immediate effect” with the consent of two-thirds of the body.

Republicans, who don’t have a two-thirds majority in the state House, have been giving nearly every bill “immediate effect” in order to address very serious emergencies like graduate students attempting to form a union and denying the Democrats their opportunity to have their votes counted in opposition to this.

Out of 566 bills passed by the Michigan state House since January 2011, 546 have been given immediate effect. This represents 96 percent of all bills passed, including Republicans’ unprecedented expansion of the powers of emergency managers and a bill that made it more difficult to collect petition signatures to get any issue on the ballot.

Maddow rightly calls this “the most radical thing that Republicans have done in the country.” This from a caucus who cites “responsible leadership” as one of their three guiding principles. It truly defies parody. Please watch the clip below and check out the reactions to the show we’ve gathered from social media – and stay tuned for updates on how you can get involved in fighting back against these abuses of power in 2012.


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