[Note from BFIA: Terry Branstad is a founding member of ALEC – http://www.alec.org/about-alec/history/ – “Among those who were involved with ALEC in its formative years were: Robert Kasten and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin; John Engler of Michigan; Terry Branstad of Iowa, and John Kasich of Ohio, all of whom moved on to become governors or members of Congress.”]
Michigan Right to Work Law was the Brainchild of ALEC, the Most Dangerous Group in Politics
No sooner had the GOP secured total control of Michigan in 2010, holding majorities in both houses and winning the governorship, than the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing ultra-conservative “bill mill” and THE source of money and corruption in politics today, lept into action. ALEC wasted no time in sending many of their most onerous “model legislation” bills to Michigan. These included the Emergency Manager law, privatization of public schools, expansion of charter schools, HB 5221 (Voter ID Act), which required voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote, and HB 4305 with language similar to ALEC’s model “Immigration Law Enforcement Act.”
In fact, all of these proposed bills have language that is nearly identical to ALEC’s model legislation, most were introduced by ALEC member Rep. Dave Agema, co-sponsored by fellow ALEC members. ALEC member Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville sponsored legislation to allow concealed guns in schools, bars, hospitals and day care centers (passed, but vetoed by Governor Snyder).
The sponsor of gun legislation to allow concealed guns in schools, bars, hospitals, and day care centers was Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, one of 25 known Michigan ALEC members (Governor Snyder surprised everyone on December 18th by vetoing this legislation!)
As for the Right to Work (RTW) legislation, it wassponsored by multiple ALEC members: House Bill 4054 by Rep. Tom McMillan and Rep. Peter Lund, and House Bill 4003, sponsored by McMillan and ALEC members Amanda Price, Aric Nesbitt, Kenneth Kurtz, Kenneth Horn and Judson Gilbert. There were no committee meetings or public hearings on RTW because the bill’s supporters used a practice allowed by Michigan law in a lame duck year, termed: “vehicle bills”(inserting language after first reading to create “substitution bills” – changes not available to the public or the opposition).
In Michigan, some key tactics used include: “immediate effect” of GOP legislation; extensive use of “vehicle bills” in the Lame Duck session, often provided by the Koch-funded Mackinac Center; and “legislation by amendment.” That this is done in the lame duck session is significant also because some 25% of those voting during this session will not be in the next legislature.
In the Senate, the RTW bill (S 116) was developed by Rep. Mike Shirkey and freshman Sen. Patrick Colbeck. The bill’s sponsor was Sen. Arlan B. Meekhof (R-30). Rep. Shirkey and Meekhof are both documented ALEC members. This legislation mirrors ALEC’s “Right To Work Act,” written in 1995 and already passed in several states.