Monday, Dec. 10 — On the eve of highly anticipated legislative sessions, House Democrats chastised Michigan Republicans and Gov. Rick Snyder this morning for pushing Right to Work legislation through the legislature so quickly.
House Minority Leader Richard Hammel, D-Flushing, was critical of the fact that the Right to Work legislation on Thursday went from floor introduction to passage in “90 minutes” and that the Capitol was on lockdown for several hours. Both, he said, were a slap in the face to the democratic process.
Hammel and other Dems said the legislation should go to a conference committee so that testimony can be heard from the workers who would be affected by the bill.
“We urge the Republicans who supported this bill to do what’s right for their constituents and give the middle-class families of Michigan a voice. Let the workers be heard,” Hammel said in a statement.
Rep. Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, also spoke at this morning’s press conference and said Gov. Snyder has done an “about-face” on Right To Work and has “caved-in to extremist special interests.” Greimel was selected to replace Hammel next year as the House minority leader.
Greimel said the governor has either been “lying” to people in the state about being a moderate or he’s now “an extremist.” Greimel called Snyder “one greedy nerd” and “one weak geek” — a reference to Snyder’s campaign nickname for himself, “One Tough Nerd.”
Outgoing state Rep. Joan Bauer, a term-limited Democrat from Lansing, and Rep.-elect Tom Cochran, D-Mason, also were in attendance, along with representatives from the nurses association and other union groups.
Outside of the press conference was a notable presence by the Michigan State Police. Troopers were on every floor and entrance of the Capitol, as well as outside, as of about noon today. On the west side of the Capitol, roughly 30 State Police vehicles lined the walkways. Police were armed with “riot batons” and zip ties.
State Police Inspector Gene Adamcyzk said there would be an increase in troopers at the Capitol today and Tuesday, when a large protest against Right to Work is expected. Adamcyzk said state fire marshals would be on each floor of the Capitol tomorrow to assess capacity. He said they would be the ones making the calls on whether or not to allow protesters inside. He said the fire marshals are a “neutral party” and will determine if more protesters inside the building is safe.
Other media outlets have reported on a small protest by the Michigan Nurses Association at the east-facing side of the Capitol today. Registered nurses reportedly wore red duct tape on their mouths that read, “Snyder’s RTW,” symbolizing the silencing effect Right to Work would have on organized labor in Michigan.