Senators Whitmer, Hunter, Johnson, Hopgood, Hood, Gregory, Young, Smith, Gleason, Bieda and Anderson, under their
constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 971.
Senator Whitmer moved that the statement she made during the discussion of the bill be printed as her reasons for
The motion prevailed.
Senator Whitmer’s statement, in which Senators Hunter, Johnson, Hopgood, Hood, Gregory, Young, Smith, Gleason,
Bieda and Anderson concurred, is as follows:
I rise in opposition to this bill. This bill continues a theme from the majority party: If you don’t like the outcome of
an election, just change the rules. It happened with local elections where the majority passed a bill to let state governments
override the will of the local voters, when he passed the emergency financial manager legislation. It happened with county
elections, where the majority passed a bill to throw out the redistricting process enacted by the county elected officials,
just for Oakland County. Finally, it happened with statewide elections, where the majority changed the rules to make it harder
for our citizens to petition their government to change the laws they live under. Now the principle has been extended to
changing the rules before the election has even taken place. Because you think you know what the outcome is going to
be, and you don’t like it, so you just want to change the rules again.
This bill says we should not trust the judgment of the next generation of scientists, engineers, and educators. Instead,
we should say that we in state government know better than they do. We know better whether they are employees or only
students. I have never met a group of socalled conservatives who are so enchanted by the heavy hand of government. If
Washington did this to Michigan, they would be running around yelling about socialism. There are many reasons to oppose
this bill, from the governmental overreach to the dangerous precedent of involving university autonomy, but what it really
boils down to is this: What do conservatives fear about people voting?