By Mike Horace
The Violence Against Women Act has been renewed twice with bipartisan support since it was originally passed in 1994. But this year’s reauthorization has become the object of an election year political battle.
The Senate has passed a version of the bill that includes special protections for immigrants, Native Americans, and LBGT victims of domestic abuse.
The House version excludes those protections. As a result, the National Organization for Women has come out against the bill.
Mary Pollack is with the Michigan chapter of NOW. She said the House bill excludes many domestic violence victims who historically have fallen through the cracks…
“Especially immigrant women are especially vulnerable because some of them are victims of domestic violence, and are very afraid of calling the police or calling for help.”
Leaders of more than 30 religious groups are also opposed to the House version of the bill.
House Republican leaders say their bill protects all victims, and that there is no reason for it to single out specific groups.
By Laura Weber
Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney is campaigning in Michigan all week, with a brief trip to Arizona for a televised debate with his Republican rivals. Romney spoke at a town-hall-style meeting Tuesday in southeast Michigan. He told the crowd that if he were president he would change the way Washington works for states like Michigan.
“Washington isn’t working properly. Michigan isn’t working, America isn’t working, and Washington isn’t working, and I say that because Washington just doesn’t seem to get it right. This president has a view that somehow that a government guiding our lives can do a better job than free people and free enterprises.”
Romney also said Michigan should become a right-to-work state. He said everyone should have the right to choose whether or not they belong to a union. Governor Rick Snyder, who endorsed Romney, said he has no interest in engaging in a right-to-work debate in the near future.
Copyright 2010, MPRN
By Rick Pluta
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum returns to Michigan Monday. He will speak tonight at a Republican fundraiser in Grand Rapids. Mitt Romney will visit Macomb County Tuesday.
Governor Rick Snyder, the state’s top Republican elected official, hopes the debate will shift from where the candidates stood on the federal bailout of the auto industry.
Governor Snyder has endorsed Romney in the Michigan primary. Romney opposed the bailout in a famous 2008 New York Times editorial titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Santorum said he’s more consistent because he opposed both the auto rescue and the Wall Street bailout.
But Governor Snyder said that’s history and, it’s no longer a discussion worth having while Michigan still has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates.
“That’s what our citizens really care about, not the auto bailout, but what are going to do to do more and better jobs for the future.”
Democrats, however, don’t appear interested in letting the topic disappear. Democratic response teams are putting a big effort into reminding voters on how the G-O-P candidates opposed federal loans for G-M and Chrysler.
Copyright 2010, MPRN
The State House is considering legislation making it easier for members of the armed forces to vote from overseas.
Right now, U-S military personnel trying to vote from overseas are at the mercy of the mail service.
That’s how they receive registration forms and absentee ballots, and it can be a rather time consuming affair.
State Representative Rick Outman is trying to change that. He wants to
use the internet to eliminate part of the mailing process.
“Via email, they can download their ballot, and their registration, and do everything all at once.”
Outman said it is much easier for soldiers to send out mail than receive it.
He said his legislation will simplify the process, and encourage more soldiers to vote from overseas.
U-S Senator Carl Levin is praising President Obama’s State of the Union address last night.
He spoke with Mike Horace earlier today.
Levin says he was particularly encouraged by job training proposals for the manufacturing industry, and by the president’s calls for tax reform.
Levin said he’s ready to get to work…
“I’m going to be focusing on some of the tax loopholes and the evasion of taxes, the avoidance of taxes, by some of our corporations who use the offshore tax havens and shell corporations to avoid paying taxes, some of the other corporate tax loopholes that need to be closed because it’s part of the unfairness in our tax code that needs to be fixed and can be fixed. But it’s also a source of revenues, which we’re going to have to have if we’re going to, number one, do some significant deficit reduction, but number two, protect some of our important programs like education.”
U-S Senator Carl Levin, speaking with us from Washington D-C earlier this morning.
Warnings about spending and the creeping of socialism into American society emerged from Saturday’s G-O-P Senatorial debate in Mount Pleasant.
Five candidates took the stage, each one, hoping to go on to challenge U-S Senator Debbie Stabenow in November.
Chuck Marino of Brighton was among the candidates saying the U-S must fight back against socialism.
“In today’s society, we have a group of people who are socialists, that believe they can walk outside the parameter with no restraint. It’s time that we used the constitution to call them back.”
Marino warned that spending tied to the new national health care law, as well as various welfare programs, was unsustainable.
Former juvenile court judge Randy Hekman agreed. He said deep spending cuts are in order.
“Repealing Obamacare has to be near the top of our agenda. That is a big chuck of change that has taken over an increasing part of our economy. But beyond that, the one thing that does not fit our federal government is the welfare state. It’s killing our European brothers and sisters. It’s killing us.”
Notably absent from the debate was former congressman Pete Hoekstra, who is considered the front runner in the race.
Longtime education reformer Clark Durant criticized Hoekstra’s decision not to participate.
“At some point, he’s got to be willing to stand up to the people of Michigan, and answer, why, time and time again, he voted to increase the debt, the spending, that is crippling our country.”
A long race is still ahead for all the candidates.
Republicans will chose their nominee to challenge Debbie Stabenow in August.
The U-S Senate is racing to avert an increase in the nation’s payroll taxes.
Payroll taxes were cut last year, and would revert to previous rates if action isn’t taken by the end of this month.
That rate would return to six-point-two percent and Senator Carl Levin of Michigan said that would cost middle-class families upwards of a thousand dollars per year.
He wants congress to extend the tax cuts, and pay for the extension with a surcharge on people making more than a million dollars per year.
“It’s really unthinkable that you would raise taxes on 160 million families in order to protect a few hundred thousand families who make more than a million dollars a year.”
Levin said failure to extend the payroll tax cut could push the country back into recession.
The senate is hoping to move the legislation by the end of this week.
Copyright 2010, MPRN