MichMash: Bucket list bills and pent-up policy make their way through Lansing

Cheyna Roth is joined by Beth LeBlanc of the Detroit News to round up the many bills Michigan Democrats are working on, including so-called ‘Right-to-work’ repeal, stricter gun laws and LGBTQ rights.

In this episode

  • Democrats are seizing the opportunity of their majority to pass bills that have long been in waiting
  • Democratic and Republican approach to gun laws and the measures they are willing to take to stop mass shootings 
  • Governor Whitmer and how she plays a factor in the right-to-work repeal appropriations

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“There is a lot of pent-up policy that has been building for the last forty years,” says Beth LeBlanc from The Detroit News. She explains that there have been policies that have been in wait for a long time, so they are seizing the opportunity to get as many bills passed as possible.  

Many of the policies getting the most attention are the hot button topics such as LGBTQ rights, stricter gun laws and abortion rights. Compromise has been few and far between.

Due to the recent MSU shooting and other recent mass shootings across America, gun laws are front and center.  

“We’ve seen a few crossover votes from Republicans especially when it comes to the recent changes of the Elliot Larson Civil Rights Act,” says LeBlanc.

“Right now, those bills are moving quickly. The House has passed one bill related to background checks for firearms, but they are still working on the other elements such as the red flag laws or secured storage. They’ve stressed that they will be deliberative about this and try to get it right the first time. I think both sides have said this is the floor in terms of what they are willing to do with gun legislation.” 

In addition to red flag and secure storage laws, the policies may also address liability protection. Michigan firearm regulations have historically included liability protections for firearm manufacturers and dealers.

These regulations have protected them from any misuse or harm by the buyer and end user. The Senate has had a back and forth on putting those liabilities in the legislation. LeBlanc says that these measures can be easily put on or taken off.

“Sometimes that language could be struck out pretty quickly,” she says.  

The Republican’s initial response to the Oxford Shooting in 2021 was to form a task force and have funding to harden schools to protect them from mass shootings. After the MSU shooting in February, LeBlanc says their response was different.

“We haven’t seen the same funding yet. I don’t think that means it was ruled out. We don’t know the shape it’s going to take yet.” 

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.