Feeding Whistleblowers to the Wolves

Are Democrats in the state legislature worried about whistleblowers?

That’s the only conclusion one can draw after legislative Democrats this week refused to back a bipartisan proposal to institute legal protections for government whistleblowers following a series of anti-transparency vetoes from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

When the legislature approved whistleblower protections earlier this year, every Democrat in the House and the Senate voted yes.
Governor Whitmer, in a craven display of power, vetoed the protections, and this week Democrats in the legislature had the opportunity to stand up for state workers, to back government transparency, and to defend their own records.
They refused. Each of them.  Not a single legislative Democrat was willing to cast a vote to override the Governor’s veto.  (Every Republican able to cast a vote to override the anti-worker veto did.)
The whistleblower protections legislative Democrats rejected were created to ensure government employees in the Executive Branch (read: the folks who work for the Governor and her departments) never had to fear for their jobs or their paychecks if they felt compelled to come clean about waste, fraud, crime, or any other malfeasance inside state government.
Things like secret contracts with the Governor’s political consultants to access private patient health care data during the COVID-19 crisis, for instance.
Democrats' shameful weakness makes it harder for state employees to come clean, and easier for the Governor’s appointees to punish those who speak up.
Their refusal to stand up for workers is an attack on every Michiganian, on government transparency, and on her own staff.
And it begs the age-old question – what are they hiding?

Tony Daunt
Tony Daunt
Executive Director
Michigan Freedom Fund
Detroit News: Opinion: Line 5 tunnel project best bet for Michigan
"What do we know about Line 5? Line 5 has been the center of task force discussions since 2014. The Pipeline Task Force sponsored an in-depth analysis looking at Line 5 and all of the available alternatives to supply Michigan with the energy needed to meet basic economic demand in the most environmentally responsible way. Michigan’s Legislature then took this under consideration, and in 2018 achieved a bipartisan consensus, laying the groundwork for the Line 5 tunnel project to safely route the existing pipeline through solid rock up to 200 feet below the lake bed.
"But, what else do we need to know, if the governor is “burdened” with this issue? We know that multiple politically-motivated lawsuits have been filed and paid for by taxpayer dollars. They have all ended in defeat."
"According to the brief, the 1945 law, “does not refer to ‘epidemics’ as an example of circumstances over which the EPGA gives the Governor emergency powers. Instead, the EPGA defines an ‘emergency’ by reference to a list of scenarios in which an urgent, time-sensitive response is required: ‘crisis,’ ‘disaster,’ ‘rioting,’ ‘catastrophe,’ and circumstances causing ‘immediate danger’ of a similar public emergency. … A years-long public health challenge like an epidemic does not fit within that list and is therefore outside the scope of the statute.”
"A month after unanimous passage in the legislature, Michigan Senate Democrats blocked an attempt to override Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s veto of a whistleblower protection bill.
"Senate Bill 686, sponsored by Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, would have banned a state department, senate or house supervisor from punishing state employees “for communicating with certain individuals in the legislative branch.”



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