The Michigan Legislature is fast becoming a total joke.
For years, disgruntled residents of the Great Lakes State have clamored for a part-time legislature, believing that those elected to represent Michiganders spend way too much time and money without accomplishing much. The lawmakers' utter failure to fix Michigan's horrendous roads, despite many failed attempts to do so, is but one example of glaring ineptitude, gross incompetence, permanent fiasco.
But on top of the legislative failures, Michigan lawmakers have embarrassed themselves time and time again with unethical, illegal, stupid and shameful activities. In the past couple months, two Republican representatives, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, were expelled from the Legislature after engaging in an extramarital affair, then misusing state employees and equipment to attempt a cover-up.
I won't recount the entire sordid affair, but this one aspect ought to underscore how twisted these two cretins are: Courser attempted to have an underling send out an email alleging that Courser was caught having sex with another man outside a Lansing building. In his warped mind, Courser thought that something so outrageous and shocking would A) cast doubt on his affair with Gamrat; and B) make a heterosexual affair, even if people believed it happened, be so tame in comparison that few would be upset by it. You can't make this stuff up!
And here's the coup de grace: After being humiliated in the public eye, disgraced, discredited and booted from office, these two delusional hacks are both going to seek re-election to their old seats. Narcissism, brazenness, gall and probably a sickening sense of entitlement are apt descriptors for these two pathetic individuals. I feel sorry for their spouses and children; I really do.
The Democrats have also had some very bad actors of late. State Rep. Brian Banks of Detroit was re-elected last fall despite having eight felony convictions and being under fire for alleged sexual harassment involving a staffer who claims he performed oral sex on Banks. The fact that such a degenerate could get re-elected speaks to the apathy and downright stupidity of too many voters in his district. Now we know why a failure like Barack Obama was re-elected despite his miserable economic record and widespread incompetence throughout his administration.
In the Michigan Senate, Sen. Virgil Smith of Detroit is charged with beating his ex-wife and firing an AR-15 at her Mercedes-Benz. I guess this is a case of "you can take the Democrat outta the 'hood, but you can't take the 'hood outta the Democrat."
It would take too long and use up too much space to detail the many other outrageous doings of Michigan lawmakers of both parties. But suffice it to say, if ineffectiveness, a waste of taxpayer dollars and an utter lack of urgency in addressing Michigan's problems weren't enough of an impetus for a part-time legislature, criminal and unethical behavior add fuel to the fire.
Michigan is one of only 10 states with full-time legislatures, defined by the National Conference of State Legislatures as those in which lawmakers devote at least 80 percent of the hours required in a full-time job to their legislative duties, including committee hearings, listening sessions, constituent services and campaigning.
My co-blogger and I each worked for the Michigan House back in the early 2000's. We saw first-hand how much these hacks lollygag around with lengthy caucus meetings, frequent recesses, summer, spring and Christmas breaks (oh, and let's not forget the annual week off for deer hunting season).
The fact is, when people feel time pressure to achieve something, whether it's executives conducting an important business meeting, a student completing a term paper, or a writer finishing a manuscript with a publisher breathing down his neck, they get focused and tend to produce a fairly good product in short order. But when they know they can take their time hemming and hawing and excuse-making, they do just that.
I believe I can speak for many fellow Michiganders when I say, I am sick of the joke our State Legislature has become, and the millions of dollars it wastes on staff and resources. Regrettably, an effort to get a part-time legislature on the ballot fell short last year. Let's hope the effort is revived.