Senators Whitmer, Young, Johnson, Smith, Hunter, Hood, Gregory and Gleason, under their constitutional right
of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of House Bill No. 4246.
Senator Whitmer's statement, in which Senators Young, Johnson, Smith, Hunter, Hood, Gregory and Gleason
concurred, is as follows:
Mr. President, we've got serious problems here in Michigan. These problems deserve our utmost attention and
effort. Instead, today we spent the last couple of hours--when I say we, I mean the Republican majority has spent the
last couple of hours--trying to figure out how to explain away actions that trample on that Constitution.
First and foremost, this bill does not contain any--and I mean any--of the changes set forth in the as-introduced
version of the bill. Literally, there was nothing currently before the Senate that was in House Bill No. 4246 when it
was introduced. Our Constitutional Convention delegates thought that this might happen. They worried such an
abuse of power would occur, and they blocked it by banning changes of purpose and by calling it the title, object
provision. Yet, as we near the 50th anniversary of that great charter, the majority is ignoring it. It appears that the
guiding principle of this majority is if you can't win under the rules, change the rules, or ignore them as they did
with their own presidential primary last week, and they are doing it with this bill.
I'm wondering, what does the Tea Party think of trampling on the Constitution in this way? Are they a movement
of principles or of expediency? If it is a movement of principles, they should be outraged by your action and others
like it, where this majority seeks to subvert popular will, subvert elections, and change rules after the game.
This substitute throws out the Constitution, all to get a handful of students at the University of Michigan who
want to hold an election. We know where the majority stands on UofM students because you voted on it last week. I
guess it's okay to have that view, but our Constitution requires us to follow certain rules and processes and subject
your actions to the voters and not just ram things through by entirely replacing bills with new content.
Mr. President, this isn't the first time this has happened. This is a theme and a governing principle of what is a
one-party state. We saw it with the emergency manager law. We saw it with the shameful Oakland County
redistricting law. We continue to see it with silly appropriations being stuffed into every bill to avoid the vote of the people. To cut off debate like you did on this bill and perhaps, worst of all, Senate Bill No. 865, which is an end run
around petitions that were turned in last week under the right of referendum.
I sat here watching as you tried to scramble to figure out how to get your way out of the legal morass that you
waded into. I saw your legal counsel, the Speaker's legal counsel, the Governor's legal counsel, and the Attorney
General's legal counsel all huddling in your back room for three reasons. One, how do we get away with trampling
on the Michigan Constitution? That is what they were working on. Two, how do you subvert the Senate Rules?
Three, how do you avoid a constitutional requirement that the House give immediate effect to your vote on the grad
student issue? Congratulations, you figured out how to do it, but it is unprecedented.
You have made a mockery of this institution. You have turned your back on the people, and at some point, people
will see exactly what you are doing. When Mike Cox last week weighed in on your Republican primary and said it
is like third-world voting, a banana republic where you change the rules just because you don't like the outcome. He
is right. It might be inconvenient for you to sit around here for a few hours, and it might be inconvenient for you to
let us speak, but by God, it is the rule of this state; it is the rule of law. Every time you trample on it, it might be
inconvenient to you personally, but you are taking away rights of people in this state.