The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
The Michigan legislature has passed SB 661 and it is now going to Governor Snyder for his signature. This is your opportunity to urge Governor Snyder to veto this bill.
The League of Women Voters of Michigan opposes SB 661, the bill that would prohibit the Secretary of State from issuing rules to require the disclosure of donors for "issue" campaigns. This bill prohibits the public from knowing what individuals, organizations or other entities are paying for the "issue" ads.
On November 14, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced she would require public disclosure of who pays for political "issue ads." SB 661 would prohibit her from doing that.
The League of Women Voters supports methods of financing political campaigns that ensure the public's right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office and allow maximum citizen participation in the political process. "Issue" ads are a growing part of political campaigns and the public has a right to know who is paying for them. Transparency is necessary.
Tell your Governor to veto SB 661!
You can contact the Governor electronically or send a snail mail letter to Governor Rick Snyder, P.O. Box 30013, Lansing, MI 48909 or call his office at (517) 373-3400.
Thank you for taking action on this issue!
SUSAN KAY SMITH, President
SAMPLE MESSAGE TO GOVERNOR
I oppose passage of SB 611, the bill that prohibits the disclosure of donors for "issue ads."
As you stated in your series of reform proposals "#3 Fix Michigan's Broken Government" on page 5 "All electioneering communications - broadcast, printed, and telephonic - that feature the name or image of a candidate for public office or ballot initiative should be considered expenditures subject to the appropriate disclosure requirements."
I urge you to oppose SB 661 and support Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's proposal to support the public's right to information so they can make informed decisions. "Issue" ads are a growing part of political campaigns and the public has a right to know who is paying for them. Transparency is necessary.
House Enacts Limit On Abortion Insurance Coverage
Starting in March, Michiganders wanting insurance coverage for abortion care will have to purchase it separately from their overall health insurance plan with the House voting today to enact the Right to Life-sponsored voter-initiated proposal on the issue.
The House passed it on a 62-47 vote. With Senate approval about 30 minutes prior to the House vote, the initiated act is law, effective 91 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die because neither chamber gave it immediate effect. As a voter-initiated act submitted to the Legislature as the result of petition signatures, it does not need the signature of Governor Rick Snyder, who vetoed a similar proposal last year.
Had the Legislature decided not to enact the proposal, it would have gone before voters on the November 2014 ballot.
Backers said the measure would prevent those who oppose abortion from having any of their insurance premiums pay for abortion coverage. They also said it would prevent tax dollars, those used to subsidize the purchase of health insurance via the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, from indirectly paying for abortion coverage. However, the federal government has issued a series of rules designed to segregate funds so that tax dollars do not pay for abortion care.
Democrats denounced majority Republicans for adopting the measure and warned voters would punish them at the polls next year. "This is a huge government overreach and I believe that right-to-life went too far again," said Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon). "Do not underestimate the power of a lot of angry women and a lot of men who agree with us."
Rep. Collene Lamonte (D-Montague) struggled to hold back tears as she recounted the story of miscarrying while 12 weeks pregnant and having to have an abortion to save her life when she began hemorrhaging. Had the proposal been law, she could have died or seen her family financially crushed. Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) spoke to take issue with those criticizing the use of the voter-initiated act process as exploiting a loophole to get around Mr. Snyder. Mr. Cotter said Michigan's Constitution, passed by voters in 1963, includes the process.
"The certified petitions were signed by registered Michigan voters from all 83 counties," he said. "We the elected lawmakers represent 100 percent of the citizens of the state. The state constitution was approved by the people of Michigan, we were elected by the people of Michigan to act in accordance with that Constitution."
Rep. Amanda Price (R-Park Township) said persons who choose to have an abortion should pay for it, not have the costs spread among everyone. "This is about protecting hard-working Michigan families from being forced to subsidize others' abortions," she said.
Note: The available statistics show 97% of the abortions in the state are paid for out of pocket.
The contact information for our state representatives (Districts 59, 78 and 79) and state senator John Proos (District 21) is available on the Your Government Officials page.
LWVMI opposes the initiative petition submitted by Right to Life of Michigan that bans insurance from covering abortion without purchasing a separate rider. LWV supports comprehensive health care as well as the right to privacy for reproductive decisions.
The signatures submitted have been certified by the state Board of Canvassers so the proposal goes to the Legislature, which has 40 days to approve, deny or put the issue on the November 2014 ballot so voters can decide.
This issue will come before the state legislature between now and when they adjourn on December 16 for the holidays. Current indications are that they will approve the measure, which will then become law without the governor having any veto power (he vetoed a similar bill a year ago).
When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed Congress declared it had to be self-supporting, so approximately 20 taxes on various segments of the health care universe were enacted. Everybody was going to share the pain. If the Medical Device Tax is repealed, why won't every other group being taxed demand that their tax be rescinded? It could be like a house of cards; if one tax goes they all do and there goes the Affordable Care Act. Is this the real goal?
Those who would like to see the tax repealed are playing the jobs card, as did Mr. Upton. If you want a more objective account of the whole Medical Device Tax issue go to factcheck.org. There you will learn that because medical device makers can deduct taxes from their IRS return, the tax rate is really about 1.5% rather than 2.3%, the number Mr. Upton used to calculate Stryker's tax burden. That the tax is on all devices SOLD in the U.S. so manufacturing them overseas won't make any difference. That the tax is not on consumer items such as glasses and hearing aids but on clinical medical devices like CAT scan machines, defibrillators, stents and artificial joints. That Stryker did lay off 1,000 people worldwide as it announced it would in 2011, but that the new tax was only one factor of many in their reorganization plan. As of December 2011 Stryker had 21,241 employees and now it has 24,000 employees (from Stryker spokeswoman Jo Johnson), an increase of 2,759.
It would be really nice if we could count on our elected officials to give us accurate information, not blatant misinformation.
League members are intelligent, clever, serious and dedicated. They also know how to have fun! On December 7 LWVBCC had its annual Holiday Open House, this year at the home of former president Liz Ennis and Annette Van Dusen.
A great time was had by all, as you can see from the picture above of, left to right, Darlene Heemstra, Bonnie Pollack, Margarita Doerschner, Donna Dutton and guest Bette Pierman.