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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

They Compromised? Come On.

     Wonder of wonders.  Miracle of miracles.
      Democratic and GOP members of the Michigan legislature decided, at least on this one issue, that compromising was not a four letter word.
      Credit goes to the House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer for setting aside the usual partisan squabbling as they worked out an arrangement on the anti-bullying proposal which has been lacking bi-partisan cooperation for seven long years.
       Back handed credit should also go the senate Republicans who indirectly created the right atmosphere for the compromise with their clumsy attempt to grant a religious and moral exemption for bullying.
       Once that was added to the plan, even the house Republicans, who are sometimes tone-deaf to what the grassroots want, knew they could not join their senate colleagues and jump off that cliff. 
       The national furor over the religious exemption was palpable.  The state's top educator called it a "joke" which all served to bring Mr.Bolger quickly to the table to work with the D's on some other approach.
       When the dust settled, the house, with a strong bi-partisan vote, sent the measure to the senate where final approval is anticipated.
       To be sure, the D's did not get everything they wanted.  Some argued for a reporting requirement that would force local schools to report each bullying incident to the state.  Republicans rejected that.
       The D's wanted tighter language to regulate cyber bullying over the Internet. Once again the Republicans refused to put up enough votes.
       What did pass orders every school district, within six months, to develop guidelines to address this phenomenon which has seen 13 students killed over the last 13 years.
      "It's not pefect, but it's a step in the right direction," reflected Sen. Gretchen Whitmer who made mince meat of the senate Republicans for their religious exemption.
        No law can eradicate bullying but at least lawmakers found a way to compromise to do something about it.
        It is rare to see that these days even though citizens want to see more of it.


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