Victories in Lame Duck
By Sam Inglot
Thanks to constant pressure from progressives across the state, the damage done by the Republican Legislature was mitigated to a few smaller bills. While these bills headed for Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk won’t radically change our state individually, they do present hurdles on the track to a more progressive Michigan.
However, our victories far outweigh our defeats. We managed to beat back right-wing legislation that would have stifled local control on development, rigged our presidential elections and enshrined discrimination into state law. It’s because of progressive activists and hardworking Michiganders making their voices heard and rallying in support of our causes that we were able to defeat these bills.
Bills we managed to defeat included:
HB5977: Bans community benefit agreements and ties the hands of local governments when dictating terms of local developments.
RFRA: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been characterized as a “license to discriminate” and would allow people to discriminate based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
“Anti-Coercion” Laws: This unnecessary piece of legislation would have created more barriers between women and their doctor when it comes to safe, legal abortions.
Trash as Energy: This would have expanded the definition of renewable energy to include things like burning tires.
2015 will be another tough fight, but we’re poised and ready to push for a more progressive Michigan. We don’t expect these bills to go away, but we’re ready.
Progress Every Day
By Brad O’Neil
Just yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that “workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex.”
The federal governments’ recognition of transgender rights in the workplace only underscores what we already know in Michigan – it’s time for us to do the same. Amending the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community in all facets of life is a moral imperative. As Progressives, it is our responsibility to fight these battles and that is what fills me with energy as I look to 2015.
The Grassroots Strengthen Detroit
By Kim Hunter
It was a tough year of transition for Detroit and anyone who cares about its people. But those who have stayed with the city through all it’s travails stepped up again and again, working to keep the water on and even challenging the plan of adjustment with a far more humane plan: “The People’s Plan of Adjustment” that delves into root causes and proposes real solutions for the city’s challenges.
Finally, you gotta hand it to folks who use holiday spirit to shed light on a tough situation.
Happy Holidays from the Progress Michigan Team!