Rep. Winnie Brinks to lead the caucus; additional officers named
LANSING – State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) has been elected to serve as chairwoman of the Progressive Women’s Caucus, a group of Lansing legislators committed to fighting for equal pay, women’s access to health care and other critical issues affecting women and their families. Other leaders elected include Vice Chairwoman Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills), Secretary Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and Treasurer Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw).
“As women in the legislature, it’s important for us to keep in mind the impact of proposed policies on women and families, and to ensure that our voices are heard in the legislative process,” Brinks said. “The Progressive Women’s Caucus can be a valuable resource to its members by providing support and valuable knowledge to our newly elected members. It’s critical that we impact what happens in our state’s Legislature so that women’s perspectives are not overlooked, despite the fact that we are underrepresented. I look forward to leading this very impressive group of women as we move forward.”
Happy birthday, Michigan! Congress formally accepted Michigan as a state on this day in 1837, after Michigan reluctantly agreed to the Enabling Act, thus giving up its claim to the Toledo Strip. In exchange, Michigan acquired the western part of the Upper Peninsula.
Women’s right to make health decisions defended on anniversary of court ruling
LANSING – On the 42nd anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, legislative members of the Progressive Women’s Caucus spoke out today about the importance of the ruling and women’s right to have access to quality health care.
“We have to remember that Roe is not just about a court decision or even just about abortion,” said Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor). “It commemorates a day that changed the course of history for women in this country, ensuring we have the right to control our bodies, our private healthcare decisions, and ultimately, our destinies. This day is about remembering the women who were once forced to seek extreme options in very dire circumstances, and vowing that we will not go back. As we enter this new legislative term, I remain hopeful that we will remember these women and those who depend on us now to make decisions that hold their health and safety paramount.”
Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) noted that it’s extremely important that the government not interfere in the relationship between a woman and her physician, or in the decisions a woman makes about her health.
“Legislation restricting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health often is promoted as a way to help or ‘protect’ women, but instead puts government between a woman and her doctor and family,” Hovey-Wright said. “The majority of Americans believe that government has no place in a woman’s personal medical decisions.”
House Dems say irresponsible Republican policies must change
LANSING – Disastrous Republican policies that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars in the form of corporate giveaways are projected to lead to a budget deficit by the end of the current fiscal year. A preliminary analysis released by the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency Wednesday said the state’s general fund will see a shortfall of $454 million if no changes are made.
“It should be obvious to everyone by now that the Republican policy of all but eliminating taxes on corporations not only doesn’t work, but is downright dangerous,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said. “Big corporations are living rent-free in Michigan, leaving average working families to foot the bill. That’s wrong, and it’s time we restore fairness to all Michiganders.”
The House Fiscal analysis was released ahead of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference meeting, which was held today. The CREC brings together the House and Senate fiscal agencies, the state administration and other leading economists in the state to forecast how much revenue the state can expect to bring in over the coming two years. It is the first step in the state’s annual budget-making process.
After giving Michigan corporations a $1.7 billion tax break in 2011, Republicans then accelerated giveaways to corporations through the MEDC. Since Gov. Rick Snyder took office in 2011, the amount of outstanding corporate tax credits has increased by $1.6 billion, while the value of tax credits expected to be redeemed has skyrocketed by $3.2 billion, according to a report from the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency.
“Republicans have allowed the MEDC to become a runaway organization that is devastating the state’s financial health, while not holding it accountable for creating more jobs,” House Democratic Floor Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) said. “This policy is irresponsible and harmful to regular, working families, which is why we are committed to restoring fairness and building a Michigan economy that works for everyone.”
Heavy fog creates traffic accidents across Lower Michigan on this date in 2005, including a 200-car pile-up on Interstate 96 between Okemos and Webberville. In all, fog-related accidents killed two people, injured 37 and damaged nearly 200 vehicles. It was one of the largest multi-vehicle crashes in the nation’s history, beaten only by a 216-vehicle crash in Los Angeles County, Calif., in November 2002 and tied with a 200-vehicle crash in Mobile, Ala., in March 1995. All three of these large crashes were caused by fog.
Aftermath of the 200-vehicle pile-up in Ingham County, Jan. 12, 2005.
On this day in 1914, Henry Ford raised the wage of many of his factory workers to $5 a day so that they could afford to buy the cars that they built. Before that, workers were earning about $2.25 a day and turnover at his factories was rampant. According to one account, in 1913, Ford hired a total of 52,000 men to keep 14,000 factory jobs filled. By increasing the wage, Ford reasoned that he could increase morale and retention and make it possible for his employees to build the products they made, thereby increasing sales as well.
A 1913 Ford assembly line.