2011 State Convention
The Resolutions Committee recommends the following resolutions for adoption by the Convention:
Resolution On Jobs For Michigan, Justice For Michigan Workers
WHEREAS, our state faces a growing jobs deficit, with more than half a million Michigan workers unemployed and many more either underemployed or so discouraged by the bleak jobs outlook that they have dropped out of the labor force; and
WHEREAS, Michigan workers face a deficit of justice as middle class living standards are eroded by falling pay, the loss of pension protection and harsh cutbacks in benefits; and
WHEREAS, the disconnect between booming corporate profits and Wall Street bonuses on the one hand, and the continuing struggles of working families and small businesses on the other, is holding back the economic recovery, jeopardizing our long-term prosperity, and creating income inequality not seen in the United States since the 1920’s; and
WHEREAS, it was by organizing together and bargaining collectively that workers transformed the American economy and created the great American middle class in the 20th Century, and it is by organizing together and bargaining collectively that workers can transform the global economy in the 21st Century, winning justice and laying the foundation for sustained middle class prosperity for all.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports an aggressive program of job creation with a goal of full employment, including investments to repair and modernize our state’s infrastructure, provide quality education to all our children, improve public health, and help small businesses grow and thrive; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that because the Michigan Democratic Party believes there should be a job for everyone who wants to work, we support targeted public service jobs programs for high-need areas and populations, including returning veterans; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the right of all workers to organize through a fair election process, and encourages candidates and officeholders to actively support local organizing and bargaining campaigns – and to strongly resist attacks on unions, whether they be in the public or private sector. Not only are such attacks profoundly undemocratic, they undermine the foundation of broadly shared middle class prosperity for all of our state’s people.
Resolution Supporting Driving The Economy By Defending Workers Rights
WHEREAS, a strong middle class is vital to maintaining a vibrant, growing economy; and
WHEREAS, the middle class is shrinking rapidly and Michigan’s unemployment rate is above the national average; and
WHEREAS, the success of Michigan’s small businesses depends on middle class consumers making a living wage that allows the purchase of their goods and services; and
WHEREAS, unions protect the interests of all middle class workers by actively representing workers critical to protecting our community such as nurses, teachers, firefighters, police, child care and community health workers; and
WHEREAS, several independent studies have concluded that union-represented public employees are compensated at a fair and reasonable level commensurate with equivalent private sector workers; and
WHEREAS, unions have historically negotiated responsible public employee compensation agreements and continue to believe that the collective bargaining table, and not the state legislature, is the best forum for constructive problem-solving; and
WHEREAS, the current legislative attacks on the compensation and benefits of these hard working, middle class public employees will only weaken Michigan’s economy by further eroding the purchasing power of its middle class citizens resulting in negative effects on small business.
NOW, THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party opposes any legislation in the State of Michigan legislature that circumvents the collective bargaining rights of public employees by unilaterally imposing any cuts in wages, pensions, health care, working conditions or the rights of workers to organize or receive union representation.
Resolution Supporting Public Education
WHEREAS, the key to opportunity in the new economy is public education, the cornerstone of our social, economic and political structure; and
WHEREAS, public education is of the utmost significance in the development of our moral, ethical, spiritual, and cultural values; and
WHEREAS, Michigan public schools must successfully prepare citizens to be productive members of the new economy and to be thoughtful and active participants in government; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party is committed to improving public education to support these ideals, because our future as a state depends on the ability of all Michigan citizens to realize their full promise as individuals.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports:
- Strict accountability for academic results for administrators, teachers, staff, elected officials, business, community leaders, parents and students
- Strong incentives for academic success in our public schools;
- Adequate and equitable funding for a quality public education system;
- Structuring Michigan’s pre-K through 12 public education system so that students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college or any post-secondary job;
- Expanded pre-school and after-school opportunities;
- Maintaining secure, safe and orderly public schools;
- Supplying public schools with the latest technology and basic supplies;
- Smaller class sizes in our public schools;
- Making higher public education accessible to all;
- Fully funding special education, adult education and veterans’ education;
- Adequate pay and professional development for public school teachers and staff at all levels;
- Enacting the state school aid budget by July 1;
- Holding charter schools accountable to same standards as public schools;
- No subsidizing of private or religious schools with public funds;
- Use of emergency financial managers only as a last resort and with a specified duration;
- Development of social and emotional competencies by our public school students.
Resolution On State Budget Priorities
WHEREAS, the state budget for the fiscal year 2011 is estimated to have a deficit of nearly $2 billion; and
WHEREAS, eliminating the Michigan Business Tax and replacing it with a corporate income tax will double the budget deficit; and
WHEREAS, the State of Michigan now gives away more revenue in tax loopholes than it takes in as revenue to fund programs; and
WHEREAS, state contractors who have billions of dollars in contracts have not shared in the financial sacrifices of the last 10 years; and
WHEREAS, according to A Better Michigan Future, the state budget cuts of the last 10 years have had the following detrimental effects:
- Since Sept. 11, 2001, funding for police and fire protection has been reduced by $3 billion – taking 1,800 police officers and 2,400 firefighters off the street;
- Since 2001, Michigan has reduced higher education funding per student by 17.8%, increasing average tuition costs by nearly 55% and reducing available financial aid;
- School districts are funded inequitably and face unstable budgets – meaning reductions in programs and larger class sizes;
- Over the past decade, funding for early childhood programs has been reduced by 32%;
- Environmental protection has been reduced by nearly 75% – eliminating positions that protect our major tourist assets and safe drinking water, while making it difficult for business to receive timely permits;
- Since 2001, State employees have given $3.7 billion in concessions, including pay cuts, lay-offs and unpaid furlough days – reducing the state workforce by 11,000 employees and impacting daily services;
- Senior citizen programs, like Meals-on-Wheels, have seen drastic cuts limiting the numbers served, while senior healthcare programs have been cut or eliminated, including home-care, hospice and dental care;
- Michigan’s basic infrastructure, like roads and bridges, continues to erode, impacting commerce daily, while we fail to invest in new technological infrastructure to serve struggling communities;
- Funding for most of the major child abuse and neglect prevention programs has been cut, even as the number of abuse and neglect victims has grown;
- Local health departments have seen continued funding cuts even as they struggle to deal with threats such as H1N1;
- Job training programs have been slashed, while the state refuses to extend unemployment benefits for retraining due to budget restraints.
WHEREAS, Michigan must have a tax system which is fair, stable and adequate to fund necessary public services, but the current Michigan tax system is not fair, stable or adequate.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports a fiscal year 2011 state budget which is bipartisan, requires shared sacrifice and leaves no one behind; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state budget should not be balanced with a cuts-only approach because Michigan cannot continue to cut critical services, but instead must invest in the future; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state budget should not be balanced solely on the backs of public employees by scapegoating the teachers of our children, the nurses who ensure our public health, and the police and firefighters who protect us, by ripping up contracts they negotiated in good faith; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state budget is a statement of our values and not be balanced on the backs of low income and middle class families such as by eliminating or reducing the earned income tax credit which has helped lift many out of poverty; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the state budget should be balanced in a fair way in which everyone shares in the sacrifice including:
- The billions of dollars in state contracts should be audited with inefficient contracts being eliminated and all contracts reduced in cost
- Tens of billions of dollars in tax loopholes should be reviewed, and those helping special interests such as CEO’s, big banks and oil and insurance companies should be eliminated
- The pay and benefits of all elected officials in Michigan should be cut.
Resolution Supporting Civil Rights
WHEREAS, Democrats celebrate the fact that our society is increasingly diverse; and
WHEREAS, Democrats maintain our longstanding commitment to social justice, freeing individuals to pursue their dreams; and
WHEREAS, diversity not only enriches us morally and culturally, but it has economic benefits in a global economy; and
WHEREAS, in order to reap the benefits of diversity, we must continue to fight discrimination by breaking down barriers based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, philosophy, language, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identification, age, height, weight, physical or mental disability – or any other characteristic irrelevant to ability.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports:
- Stopping all discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, philosophy, language, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identification, age, height, weight, physical or mental disability – or any other characteristic irrelevant to ability;
- Affirmative action and the repeal of 2006 Proposition 2 which prohibited affirmative action;
- Prohibiting the insurance industry’s unfair practices of redlining and the use of credit scoring when setting insurance premiums;
- A woman’s rights to reproductive freedom, equal pay for equal work and freedom from sexual harassment;
- Adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment;
- Full civil rights for Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, including the right to adopt and raise children, protection from bullying, and the repeal of 2004 Proposition 2 which prohibited same-sex marriage;
- Protections for the rights of persons with physical or mental disabilities;
- Ending racial profiling and unlawful targeting of all minorities, including African-Americans, Arab-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and LGBT citizens;
- Justice before the bench, including ending the under-representation of African-Americans and low income citizens on juries, and improving the system for providing legal counsel to indigent people accused of a crime;
- The rights of legal immigrants and reform of immigration laws such as the DREAM Act;
- The sovereignty, self-determination and self–governance of Native Americans.
Resolution Supporting An Urban Policy
WHEREAS, prosperous regions and states have strong, thriving cities; and
WHEREAS, rebuilding Michigan means leaving no person or region behind; and
WHEREAS, Michigan’s cities have long been a source of economic and social progress; and
WHEREAS, rebuilding Michigan requires investing in Michigan cities; and
WHEREAS, investing in Michigan cities require a long-term commitment to a comprehensive set of programs;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports:
- Community-based initiatives in urban areas, such as micro-loans, business assistance centers, community economic development corporations, land banks, and community development financial institutions;
- Expanded deployment of broadband technology in urban areas;
- Increased access to capital for businesses in urban areas;
- Urban public-private business incubators;
- Urban public transportation including rail and bus;
- Green initiatives to make cities more livable as well as providing jobs;
- Quality urban public schools;
- Prevention of insurance redlining, home foreclosures and urban land speculation;
- Enhanced cultural opportunities in cities;
- Clean-up and redevelopment of polluted urban industrial sites;
- Maintenance and improvement of urban infrastructure such as water, sewers, roads, bridges and parks.
Resolution Supporting Protection Of Our Land, Water And Air
WHEREAS, our Michigan is a very special place: to generations who have moved here and generations yet to come, Michigan’s appealing beauty and natural resources offer wonderful benefits – our woods, and fields, the Great Lakes, over 11,000 inland lakes, and 50,000 miles of rivers and streams provide an important outdoor life to Michigan families; and
WHEREAS, Michigan’s environment has economic benefits, supporting tourism which is an important part of the Michigan economy; and
WHEREAS, reducing dependency on foreign energy and becoming energy self-sufficient, both as a nation and a state, are paramount to maintaining our security, freedom, and standard of living; and
WHEREAS, scientific opinion overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that man-made climate change is occurring and is going to cause irreparable harm to our planet unless curbed;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that in order to protect our environment, protect the public health and curb climate change the Michigan Democratic Party supports:
- Federal and state efforts to stop out of state trash;
- Protecting the Great Lakes against pollution, diversion, oil drilling, and invasive species such as the Asian carp by hydrologically separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin;
- Protecting groundwater and aquifers including regulating and limiting the commercial, for-profit, high volume harvest of fresh water for resale;
- Requiring polluters to pay the costs of cleaning up their pollution;
- Protecting air quality throughout the state, especially in urban areas;
- Applying principles of environmental justice;
- Passing a comprehensive federal energy bill;
- Research and development of renewable and alternative energy sources;
- A strong state renewable energy standard;
- Energy-saving and conservation measures;
- Using the most modern technology for protecting the environment in our power plants;
- Expansion of the bottle deposit law.
Resolution Supporting The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act Of 2010
WHEREAS, the 111th Congress of the United States of America enacted — and President Barack Obama signed into law — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, amended by the Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010 (together hereafter called the Act), to prevent the unchecked continuation of the perpetual rise in private and public health care costs that had plagued the nation for decades and produced rising numbers of uninsured individuals, to enable all Americans to have access to high quality, affordable, prevention-oriented health care and, thereby, to promote the health of the American people as well as the nation’s economic recovery and productivity; and
WHEREAS, the Act is a balanced package that contains costs through beneficial measures— expansion of coverage to all, improvement of quality and efficiency, and promotion of access to primary care, prevention, and coordinated care for chronic conditions; and
WHEREAS, individuals and employers paid a hidden tax of over $1,000 in health insurance premiums per family in 2008 to compensate for the health care costs of the uninsured; and
WHEREAS, repealing the Act would, economists estimate, kill 250,000 to 400,000 jobs a year over ten years by increasing health care spending by $125 billion by 2020, thus adding nearly $2,000 annually to family premiums; and
WHEREAS, repealing the Act would keep individuals and families exposed to the risk of bankruptcy due to the cost of medical bills, which caused more than 60% of bankruptcies in America in 2007; and
WHEREAS, repealing the Act would throw out new federal rules that help privately insured Americans with group coverage by requiring their insurers to pay out 80 to 85% of premium income for medical care and quality improvement activities and keep no more than 15 to 20% for administration and profit; and
WHEREAS, repealing the Act would cause 33,000 young adults in Michigan up to age 26 to lose coverage under their parents’ health insurance policies during the financially vulnerable time when they are getting post-secondary education and/or looking for jobs; and
WHEREAS, repealing the Act would put nearly 500,000 people in Michigan with non-group coverage at risk by making it legal again for an insurance company to retroactively cancel a policy when an individual becomes seriously ill and an insurance investigator uncovers a minor, unrelated condition (such as acne when the diagnosis is breast cancer) that the individual did not list on the application for insurance; and
WHEREAS, repealing the Act would impede workers from becoming entrepreneurs who start their own businesses and also impair individuals’ productivity in working, seeking work, training and education, and caring for families by raising arbitrary financial barriers to access to health promotion and treatment.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and opposes Republican attempts to repeal the Act.
Resolution Supporting Small Business
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party understands the contribution of small employers to the Michigan economy: the vast majority of businesses in the state have fewer than 500 employees and they employ more than half the workers, and the hundreds of thousands of self-employed people also make a substantial contribution to the Michigan economy; and
WHEREAS, owners of small businesses, the self-employed, and their families have much more in common with the working people of Michigan than with those who run large corporations: they share the financial struggles, demands of long hours, and uncertainty about the future; and
WHEREAS, for too long, Wall Street CEOs and other special interests like them have been getting special tax breaks while the middle class and small businesses have had to pick up the slack.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democrats Party supports reform of the tax code to assist small businesses while eliminating tax loopholes for special interests such as CEO’s, big banks and oil and insurance companies; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the elimination of outdated, excessive, redundant and/or unnecessary regulations and paperwork to make it easier to start and grow small businesses in Michigan while we work to rebuild our traditional manufacturing industries and strengthen our agricultural economy.
Resolution Supporting The Musicians Of The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
WHEREAS, for 97 years the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has been a world-class asset to the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan; and
WHEREAS, contributions to the DSO – individual, corporate, foundation, state and federal funding – have declined by nearly 30% since 2008, even as ticket sales have fallen by 20%, a result of the “financial realities of the past several years that have devastated our community”; and
WHEREAS, in response to this downturn, the Executive Committee of the DSO Board, claiming to seek a resolution that would be “fiscally responsible and ensure not only the future viability, but also the future vitality, of the DSO,” has proposed a new contract with what it admits are “significant and painful” cuts to the DSO’s musicians (represented by the Detroit Federation of Musicians, AFM Local 5); and
WHEREAS, the DSO musicians had made a counteroffer to voluntarily reduce their salaries by 22% in the first year of a new contract, with additional cuts in benefits and work rule changes; and
WHEREAS, DSO management rejected the musicians’ offer, and proceeded to unilaterally impose far more draconian cuts – cuts the musicians and outside experts agree that, if made permanent, would turn the DSO into a lesser orchestra that might never regain past levels of corporate and private support, even when the economy recovers; and
WHEREAS, professional musicians, like all workers, have to raise families, pay housing costs, send children to school and cover other expenses – all while studying and practicing for years, even decades, to reach the pinnacle of their careers, a chair in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; and
WHEREAS, because the DSO management and DSO musicians were unable to reach a compromise, we are now in the fourth month of a heartbreaking strike; and
WHEREAS, Senator Carl Levin and former Governor Jennifer Granholm, attempting to end the strike, proposed a three-year, $36 million contract, a compromise between the $34 million management has proposed and the $38 million the musicians wanted (down from $48 million in the previous three-year contract that expired in September); and
WHEREAS, the DSO musicians accepted the Levin-Granholm compromise, but DSO management rejected it; and
WHEREAS, DSO management has demonstrably refused to bargain in good faith, by imposing its version of a contract, breaking agreed-upon news blackouts to spin media coverage of negotiations, and refusing to even consider cuts to the extravagant salaries drawn by Ann Parsons and the DSO executive staff; and
WHEREAS, we, as Democrats, believe strongly in the arts, and feel that a great symphony is part of the core of a region’s cultural life – and that you cannot have a great symphony without dedicated career musicians; and
WHEREAS, as Democrats, we stand behind all men and women who simply want to work hard in exchange for fair wages and benefits, reached by honest agreement with management.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the Detroit Federation of Musicians, AFM Local 5, and calls on DSO management to reach a swift and fair resolution to the current dispute.
Resolution Opposing Michigan Right-To-Work For Less
WHEREAS, Michigan is the birthplace of the American labor movement and has a rich legacy of protecting the rights of workers; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party wishes to promote fair labor practices; and
WHEREAS, 22 states have so called “Right-to-Work” laws that prohibit workers and employers from negotiating union security clauses that ensure that all workers who receive economic benefits from union representation share the costs of maintaining the union; and
WHEREAS, Right-to-Work laws do not guarantee employment to workers; and
WHEREAS, Right-to-Work laws weaken the ability of unions to represent workers; and
WHEREAS, Right-to-Work laws are divisive in nature and would harm good union/employer relationships in Michigan; and
WHEREAS, Right-to-Work laws harm union and non-union workers alike by depressing union membership and limiting the effectiveness of unions; and
WHEREAS, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2010, the median household income in Right-to-Work states was $5,538 less than in free-bargaining states; and
WHEREAS, on-the-job safety has been sacrificed in Right-to-Work states, where workplace injuries and deaths are significantly higher according to the BLS; and
WHEREAS, the Republicans in U.S. Congress are seeking to impose a federal National Right-to-Work Act that would require all states to become Right-to-Work states; and
WHEREAS, Republicans in the State Legislature are seeking to make Michigan a Right-to-Work state.
NOW, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Michigan Democratic Party opposes any legislation in the U.S. Congress or the Michigan legislature that would make any part of Michigan a Right-to-Work state by curtailing labor union membership.
Resolution Supporting Michigan’s Item Pricing Law
WHEREAS, Michigan has had the Pricing and Advertising of Consumer Items Act since 1976, a strong and effective consumer protection law mandating that retailers visibly display pricing for each item for sale; and
WHEREAS, clear item pricing has empowered consumers to know the exact price of items they purchase and item pricing is especially important because it has been estimated that 7% of scanner transactions are in error; and
WHEREAS, Michigan’s item pricing law has guaranteed the dignity of work for many employees in the retail industry; and
WHEREAS, a recent EPIC/MRA poll shows that a majority of Michigan citizens support continuation of the state’s item pricing law; and
WHEREAS, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has called for the repeal of this important consumer protection law and a Republican legislator has introduced repeal legislation in the Michigan House of Representatives.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party strongly urges the Michigan State Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder to support Michigan’s valuable, popular and groundbreaking Pricing and Advertising of Consumer Items Act.
Resolution Opposing The Elimination Of The Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) For Low Income Workers And Families
WHEREAS, the Earned Income Tax Credit is a federal and state tax credit that is designed to assist only those who work for a living and work for near poverty wages; and
WHEREAS, this bipartisan program has been supported by both Republican and Democratic administrations and is a successful anti-poverty and pro-work strategy; and
WHEREAS, the EITC is helping more than 755,000 working families across our state; and
WHEREAS, providing this tax credit also helps small businesses and shop owners where these dollars are spent and respent while generating $1.67 in economic activity for every dollar spent; and
WHEREAS, repealing the EITC would once again make Michigan income tax code among the harshest in the entire country for people who work and still live deep in poverty; and
WHEREAS, with Michigan’s $35 billion in tax code spending, including credits, deductions, exemptions and other tax expenditures, it is not fair to create a tax increase which targets the working people who are barely getting by in our communities.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges our elected state representatives and senators to reject a tax increase on the low income workers of our state which would occur if the Earned Income Tax Credit were repealed.
Resolution to Maintain Social Security
WHEREAS, Social Security has a surplus of $2.6 trillion, which it has loaned to the federal government; and
WHEREAS, Social Security did not cause the federal deficit and its benefits should not be used to reduce the deficit; and
WHEREAS, Social Security is fully funded for more than 25 years and thereafter has sufficient funds to meet 75 percent of the promised benefits; and
WHEREAS, the Social Security retirement age, already scheduled to increase from 65 to 67, should not be raised further because an age increase would be a benefit cut that places the greatest hardship on the older Americans who are in physically demanding jobs, or are otherwise unable to find work or keep employment; and
WHEREAS, Social Security, whose average benefit is $13,000 in 2010, provides vital protection against loss of wages as a results of disability, death or old age; the coverage is not only for adults, but also 98% of children who suffer death or disability of a parent; and
WHEREAS, these basic benefits should not be reduced, including changes to the cost of living adjustment or the benefit formula; and
WHEREAS, Social Security is insurance and should not be means tested; because workers pay for it, they should receive it regardless of their income or savings.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party is opposed to any and all changes in the Social Security program that reduces any benefits or eligibility.
Resolution Supporting Michigan Agriculture And Rural Development And Recognizing Senator Debbie Stabenow’s Leadership In Those Areas
WHEREAS, agriculture, beginning with the family farm, has always been a bedrock of the Michigan economy; and
WHEREAS, agriculture is a growing industry, currently the second largest industry in Michigan, contributing over $70 billion to the state’s economy and employing over 500,000 Michigan workers; and
WHEREAS, with exciting new developments in biofuels, from corn-based to cellulosic ethanol production, biodiesel, solar and wind power, and the development of new biobased materials, agriculture is providing new jobs and opportunity for thousands of Michigan families across our state; and
WHEREAS, agriculture is a growing industry: from potato and other specialty crop processing to meet local and global demand, to local farm markets and agri-tourism, the diversity of Michigan agriculture is our strength; and
WHEREAS, from producing more than 125 different crops to serving as home for many internationally recognized food brands, the future of agriculture in Michigan is bright; and
WHEREAS, Senator Debbie Stabenow has long been a strong supporter of Michigan agriculture working on legislation on issues such as specialty crops, trade assistance, commodity purchases for nutrition programs, research, renewable fuels and land, and habitat and water conservation; and
WHEREAS, Senator Stabenow also has been a champion of rural development through the USDA Rural Development Program, broadband funding for rural areas and many other initiatives, efforts recognized by President Barack Obama during his recent visit to Marquette; and
WHEREAS, Senator Stabenow’s work and expertise in agriculture and rural development have been recognized in her leadership as Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the agriculture industry and rural development in Michigan; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party thanks Senator Debbie Stabenow for her leadership in the areas of agriculture and rural development.
Resolution Supporting Detroit River International Crossing (D.R.I.C.)
WHEREAS, the construction of a new international crossing (DRIC) provides economic benefits to both domestic and international commerce; and
WHEREAS, Michigan has suffered from prolonged and high unemployment, and projections show between 8 and 10 thousand jobs will be created for Michigan residents through the DRIC project; and
WHEREAS, the DRIC would create the necessary redundancy for economic and national security purposes in the case of the loss of use of the current span; and
WHEREAS, Detroit residents and persons of color and minorities will greatly benefit from the jobs created by the D.R.I.C. project.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party endorses and supports the Detroit River International Crossing (D.R.I.C.) project, and encourages its elected officials and members to endorse and support this project.
Resolution Supporting The Employee Free Choice Act
WHEREAS, in 1935 the United States established by law that workers must be free to form and join unions; and
WHEREAS, the freedom to form or join a union is internationally recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a fundamental human right; and
WHEREAS, the free choice to join with others and bargain for better wages and benefits is essential to economic opportunity and middle class living standards; and
WHEREAS, unions benefit communities by strengthening living standards, stabilizing tax bases, promoting equal treatment and enhancing civic participation; and
WHEREAS, states in which more people are union members are states with a stronger middle class with higher wages, better benefits and better schools; and
WHEREAS, union workers receive better wages and benefits, with union workers earning 29 percent more than workers without a union, 35 percent more likely to have access to health insurance, and are four times more likely to have access to a guaranteed defined-benefit retirement plans; and
WHEREAS, unions help raise workers’ pay and narrow the income gap for minorities and women, by increasing median weekly earnings by 31 percent for union women workers, 31 percent for African-American workers, 50 percent for Latino workers, and 9 percent for Asian American workers; and
WHEREAS, unions help equalize the power between employees and employers, providing a necessary check on the arbitrary power of employers;
WHEREAS, workers across the nation are routinely denied the freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life, with 25 percent of private-sector employers illegally firing at least one worker for union activity during organizing campaigns; and
WHEREAS, a vast majority of the public believes it is important to have strong laws protecting the freedom for workers to make their own decision about having a union, and a majority of workers would join a union if they had the chance; and
WHEREAS, employers often refuse to bargain fairly with workers after forming a union by dragging out first contract bargaining for up to two years in 45 percent of successful campaigns; and
WHEREAS, each year millions of dollars are spent to frustrate workers’ efforts to form unions, and most violations of workers’ freedom to choose a union occur behind closed doors, with 78 percent of employers forcing employees to attend mandatory anti-union meetings; and
WHEREAS, when the right of workers to form a union is violated, the middle class is weakened, wages fall, race and gender pay gaps widen, workplace discrimination increases and job safety standards disappear; and
WHEREAS, a worker’s fundamental right to choose a union free from coercion and intimidation is a public issue that requires public policy solutions, including legislative remedies; and
WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act has been introduced in the U.S. Congress in order to restore workers’ freedom to join a union;
WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act will safeguard workers’ ability to make their own decisions with these abuses, provide for first contract mediation and arbitration, and establish meaningful penalties when employers violate workers’ rights.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the Employee Free Choice Act which would authorize the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union as the bargaining representative when a majority of employees voluntarily sign authorizations designating that union to represent them; provide for first contract mediation and arbitration; and establish meaningful penalties for violations of a worker’s freedom to choose a union; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we urge Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to protect and preserve for America’s workers their freedom to choose for themselves whether or not to form a union.
Resolution Supporting The Michigan Occupational Safety And Health Act
WHEREAS, the Michigan Legislature created the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA) in 1974 to better prevent work place injuries; and
WHEREAS, Michigan is one of 28 states with a state MIOSHA plan in place; and
WHEREAS, the benefit of a state plan allows citizen input to the Commission to write rules beyond the minimum rules at the federal level; and
WHEREAS, state plans provide extensive education and training programs to employees, businesses and state organizations that have reduced injuries; and
WHEREAS, from 2000 to 2009 private industry in Michigan has experienced a 48% reduction in total recordable injuries.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party opposes the repeal of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Resolution To Stop Attorney General Schuette From Spending Michigan Tax Payer Funds To Support The Florida Lawsuit Against The Affordable Health Care Act
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party acknowledges the importance of providing all citizens quality healthcare, recognizing that healthcare should be a human right for all Americans; and
WHEREAS, the Affordable Health Care Act signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Barack Obama moves toward the above stated vision and goal; and
WHEREAS, the publicly stated intent of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to continue to participate in a Florida lawsuit against the Act ignores the many negative impacts on Michigan citizens documented in the PIRGIM Education Fund Report “The Cost of Repeal” (January 2011):
- Repeal of the law would allow insurers to deny coverage to the 2,056,000 residents of Michigan who have pre-existing health conditions, if they seek individual coverage.
- Michigan women in the individual market would continue to pay higher rates than men for their health insurance coverage.
- 32,800 uninsured young adults in Michigan will lose the opportunity to purchase affordable coverage through their parents’ plans if the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed. For many of these young adults, there will be no source of coverage or the only offer of coverage they will be able to find will be expensive and exclude many important covered services that they need.
- Repeal of the reformed state health insurance marketplaces, known as “exchanges,” would lead to premiums that are 14-20% higher for the same coverage than they would be under current law.
- Repeal would also increase the tax burden for the 28.6 million Americans and 868,400 residents of Michigan who would otherwise benefit from new health insurance affordability tax credits.
- A report commissioned by the Business Roundtable estimates that cost-saving reforms in the Affordable Health Care Act could reduce the rate of growth in health care costs, generating more than $3,000 in savings per employee with health insurance per year by 2019. Repeal of these provisions would force Michigan workers and businesses to pay more than $3,000 more per employee.
- If the new law is fully repealed, small businesses could not pool their buying power in the exchanges. And more immediately, roughly 126,300 Michigan small businesses will lose tax credits that can cover as much as 35% of the average small business’ health care costs.
- By reversing provisions like the exchanges, which are designed to provide options to those without job-based insurance and to hold down costs, repeal would impair workers’ ability to change jobs or open small businesses. This could slow the rate of job creation in Michigan by thousands of jobs a year in 2019.
- Repeal would eliminate new funding for 184 new or expanded health centers in Michigan.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party extends its support and endorsement to efforts to stop Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette from spending any taxpayer monies to support the Florida lawsuit to block the Affordable Health Care Act .
Resolution Supporting Local Control, Home Rule And Regional Cooperation
WHEREAS, the most accountable government is the government closet to the people; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party has long respected home rule and local control of decision-making, and has opposed efforts by Lansing to dictate local decisions; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party has also long supported regional cooperation in the provision of government services in which all affected parties can negotiate to resolve their differences so that the interests of all citizens are advanced; and
WHEREAS, the principles of home rule, local control and regional cooperation must be respected in an era of reduced government resources where local government reorganization, restructuring and/or consolidation are being considered throughout the State of Michigan; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 4112 violates these principles of local control, home rule and regional cooperation by dictating to the affected parties a new structure for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, instead of allowing all of the affected parties to resolve their differences through negotiation.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the principles of home rule, local control and regional cooperation must be followed in all efforts throughout Michigan to restructure, reorganize and/or consolidate local government functions; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party opposes H.B. 4112 and urges that the issues concerning the DWSD be resolved by negotiations among all the affected parties.
Resolution Honoring Jean Ledwith King
WHEREAS, Jean Ledwith King has had a long and successful career as an activist lawyer, achieving great distinction in the area of civil rights and gender equity, particularly in regards to Title IX, which guarantees equal rights for women and girls in athletic opportunities and public education; and
WHEREAS, Ms. King’s advocacy has not been limited to the law, but has also included launching the Michigan Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus and working to enact the equal gender representation rules of the Michigan Democratic Party and Democratic National Committee; and
WHEREAS, Ms. King served in elected office (as a Scio Township Trustee) for the first time at age 80; and
WHEREAS, The Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan, a local non-profit organization, will soon be renamed the Jean Ledwith King Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan; and
WHEREAS, The Women’s Center is hosting an event on March 26, 2011 honoring Jean Ledwith King and her work and contributions in the area of gender equity; and
WHEREAS, untold numbers of women and girls in Michigan and the United States have benefited from Ms. King’s efforts.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party salutes and honors Jean Ledwith King for her lifetime of service in support of civil rights and gender equity, and recognizes her tremendous contribution to the well-being of girls and women in our community, statewide and nationwide.
Resolution To Support Social Security Laws Supporting Seniors
WHEREAS, Social Security is a contract between citizens and our government; and
WHEREAS, if some additional revenue is needed to keep the system fully funded and avoid benefit cuts to society’s most vulnerable citizens, a method to raise that revenue must be found.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Social Security contribution cap be removed so higher income earners pay at the same percentage rate as all other contributors, thereby increasing and strengthening the Social Security Trust Fund.
Resolution Supporting Universal Health Care
WHEREAS, access to health care is a basic human right.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party will continue to work to create a nationwide system of single payer universal health care and will pursue that goal on a statewide basis if it cannot be accomplished on a nationwide basis.
Resolution Supporting “Think Michigan First” And “Hire Michigan First” Initiatives
WHEREAS, the buying locally of Michigan grown and manufactured products and services and hiring of Michigan workers first stimulates the Michigan economy through job growth, tax and business revenues; and
WHEREAS, retailers headquartered in Michigan should be recognized for their support of the Michigan economy and workers; and
WHEREAS, Michigan offers world class vacations and entertainment options that rival destinations elsewhere. Michigan residents should “think of Michigan first” when planning their vacations and recreation; and
WHEREAS, “Think Michigan First” and “Hire Michigan First” empower Michigan citizens to directly affect the economic prospects of the state; and
WHEREAS, the goal is to promote Michigan products and workers that compete in the global market, and does not imply that products created elsewhere should be boycotted; and
WHEREAS, presenting an awareness that a Michigan turnaround is occurring is dependent upon all Michigan residents; and
WHEREAS, the general public has become so far removed in their awareness of the benefits of buying and hiring locally.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the adoption of “Think Michigan First” and “Hire Michigan First” initiatives to create an awareness of the multitude of Michigan products and services, and high quality workers that rival any elsewhere; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that Michigan state government should actively promote and publicize “Think Michigan First” and “Hire Michigan First.”
Resolution Supporting Rehabilitation Services
WHEREAS, recognizing that rehabilitation services are often the only effective method for those addicted to drugs to learn how to stay clean and sober including the completion of a drug rehabilitation program; and
WHEREAS, beginning with the decision to get help, rehabilitation should facilitate the individual rebuilding their life skills, handling or getting rid of the compulsive cravings associated with addiction and helping the person physically become healthy again; and
WHEREAS, rehabilitation, by definition, means in general to restore someone or something back to a previously realized state. In the case of an individual attending drug and alcohol rehabilitation, this would mean restoring that person back to a state physically, mentally and spiritually whereby they can consider themselves free from the trap of addiction. Without the constant desire to use and with their personal life skills either rebuilt or built anew, the person should find themselves able to live out an enjoyable, happy and productive life without having to use or abuse the substances that once plagued them.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party hereby supports state legislation to create revenue to be specifically set aside for alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities, safe houses for women and homeless shelters.
Resolution Thanking President Obama For The Many Improvements To Michigan Highways, Roads And Bridges Effected Through The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act
WHEREAS, state revenue for Michigan has been severely restricted in the 21st Century because of auto industry problems and a weakened economy from the recession, slowing the rate of infrastructure improvements and repairs; and
WHEREAS, our Michigan infrastructure of highways, roads and bridges has been sorely in need of assistance because of the severe Michigan winters and heavy traffic; and
WHEREAS, Michigan, the state most associated with automobiles, needs to make a strong effort to improve its weakened infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, construction jobs put Michigan workers back to work providing income for their families.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party expresses its gratitude to President Obama and the Michigan Democratic Congressional delegation for their leadership in achieving significant improvements in Michigan’s infrastructure through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Beatrice Solomon Patient and Caregiver Protection Resolution
WHEREAS, 3,006,820 people of Michigan voted to allow seriously ill people to use medical marijuana in 2008, or 62.6% of the voters; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Amendment got 1,113,986 more votes than Governor Rick Snyder and 1,357,597 more votes than Attorney General Bill Schuette in the 2010 election; and
WHEREAS, the turnout of the 2010 election was 2,763,309 voters lower than the 2008 election; and
WHEREAS, medical marijuana patients should not face more onerous restrictions than any other medically approved controlled substance; and
WHEREAS, minors should avoid all drugs except those prescribed or recommended by an individual currently licensed by the state of Michigan to prescribe medicine; and
WHEREAS, because not all patients are able to grow their own medicine, nor are all caregivers able to grow medicine for their own patients, people who are authorized to possesses medical marijuana should be able to transfer legally cultivated incidental overages to other caregivers or patients who are legally authorized to be in possession and who are fully compliant with all of the restrictions and or limitations outlined in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Constitutional Amendment approved in 2008.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges all state and local law-makers not to infringe of the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers, with the exception of sensible zoning regulations that do not force patients and caregivers into back alleys or to travel long distances; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party fully supports all the rights enumerated in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Constitutional Amendment overwhelmingly approved by the voters in 2008.
Resolution Urging Legislation To Allow Growing Industrial Hemp
WHEREAS, industrial hemp is an easily grown crop, which can be used for many purposes: paper, clothing, plastics, fiberboard, and biomass fuels among over 25,000 other uses; and
WHEREAS, industrial hemp has been grown and used throughout history and in the United States until 1950’s and is not related to marijuana production; and
WHEREAS, Canada and over 30 industrialized, democratic countries allow farming of industrial hemp; and
WHEREAS, Michigan has abandoned paper mills and other industrial manufacturing facilities, ample farm land suitable for farming industrial hemp, and a willing unemployed work force; and
WHEREAS, allowing industrial hemp production in Michigan would have multiple benefits for manufacturing, farming, employment and especially our economy.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges state legislators to enact legislation allowing farming of industrial hemp and the manufacture of related hemp products.
Resolution Supporting A Three Day Document Review Period For Real Estate Transactions
WHEREAS, the predatory lending practices of some lenders have saddled many Michigan homebuyers with unjustified and onerous debt obligations, including unnecessary fees for lenders. As a result, many Michigan families have lost their homes to foreclosure; and
WHEREAS, homebuyers often only have an opportunity to review important documents at the closing of real estate transactions. The documents, often containing turgid language written by and for lawyers, are sometimes confusing to consumers, especially first-time home purchasers; and
WHEREAS, if homebuyers had time to review closing documents with financial experts and/or lawyers before signing them, predatory lending practices would be seriously curtailed.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges Congress to adopt legislation calling for a three-day waiting period between the presentation of closing documents to potential homebuyers and the deadline for a home purchaser to sign closing documents; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges Congress to expand the provision in the Truth in Lending Act that gives consumers who have signed paperwork for second mortgages or refinancing packages for existing mortgages three days to change their minds after signing to cover consumers who are purchasing primary mortgages.
Resolution Supporting Net Neutrality Legislation
WHEREAS, the growth of a free and open Internet has provided historic advances in the realms of communication, research and economic development; and
WHEREAS, development of new technology is a crucial element in the transformation of Michigan’s economy to meet future needs; and
WHEREAS, to encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the Internet, Michigan consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice without interference by their Internet service providers; and
WHEREAS, to encourage the transformation of Michigan’s economy to meet future needs and to further the growth of Michigan’s technology industry, Michigan businesses are entitled to, and require, open and unfettered Internet access; and
WHEREAS, a free and open Internet helps to ensure the free flow of information and political and religious speech that makes for a strong and vibrant democracy.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports passage of Net Neutrality legislation in Michigan and at the federal level.