Mar-2017Opinion PiecesPoliticsUncategorized

What are Republican State Legislatures up to?

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What are Republican State Legislatures up to?

By:  Staff Writer 

While CNN is currently broadcasting some of the most inane coverage we’ve seen in weeks, let’s talk about what state legislatures are up to.

First up, the fight against electric vehicles(EV): “States across the U.S. have been introducing legislation that would punish people for switching to electric vehicles. Since the start of 2017, six states (Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Montana) have introduced legislation that would require EV owners to pay a fee of up to $180 a year,” said the Sierra Club.

Georgia essentially replaced their $5,000 tax credit to purchase an electric vehicle with a $200 fee. Electric Vehicle sales dropped 80 percent as a result. Ten states have the fees, 8 others are considering, and four have denied them. Texas and Wisconsin are among the four states who have denied fees.

Iowa wants to know what political party their university professors are registered in: “Iowa State Sen. Mark Chelgren (Republican) has introduced a bill requiring “partisan balance” among the faculty of public universities….a “person shall not be hired as a professor or instructor member of the faculty at such an institution if the person’s political party affiliation on the date of hire would cause the percentage of faculty belonging to one political party to exceed by ten percent the percentage of faculty belonging to the other political party.”

This amounts to affirmative action for climate change deniers and anti-evolutionists.

There is legislation in several states that aims to criminalize peaceful protest. The bill states, “Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to reclassify, as a felony, civil, disobedience protests that are deemed “economic terrorism.” Republicans in Michigan introduced and then last month shelved an anti-picketing law that would increase penalties against protesters and would make it easier for businesses to sue individual protesters for their actions.”

Are we comfortable with legislation that may well make striking an act of terrorism? From Detroit free press: “One bill would increase fines against picketers to $1,000 per person per day of a picket and $10,000 per day for an organization or union involved in the picket that is deemed to be an illegal mass picket. That bill passed on a mostly party-line vote of 57-50.”

The House of Representatives is taking a break from daily fundraising call time to take free school lunches away from children: “Legislation debated by the House Education and Workforce Committee aims to save money by scaling back the number of schools in which all students receive free or reduced meals. A proposed Republican amendment to the bill would go even further, allowing a trial period of so-called block grants for school meals in three states.”

Arguing over the effectiveness or approaches to making sure every single kid gets fed is just fine. Using block grants to feed kids when the run up to the 2008 economic crisis showed us food prices are anything but stable isn’t just stupid, it’s immoral.
I’d love to say this isn’t who we are, but increasingly, it is. We have real problems in this country. Passing laws to protect the oil industry and criminalizing peaceful protests are reactionary moves that will make achieving peaceful change more difficult.

The states are said to be “laboratories for democracy.” Are these experiments our federal government, or your state government, should implement?

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