Michigan Democratic Party: 2018 Spring Convention Statewide Resolutions
Resolution in Support of the Decommissioning of the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline
WHEREAS, a major rupture of Line 5 under the Straits would be impossible to contain and cleaned-up risking contamination of more than 700 miles of Michigan shoreline, resulting in multi-billion dollars in losses to tourism, commercial navigation, recreational boating, commercial and sports fishing, declines in property values and contamination of drinking water, with decades of environmental and public health damages and losses of more than 25,000 tourist jobs in the state; and
WHEREAS, the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline has transported predominately Canadian crude oil and natural gas liquids since 1953 from Superior, Wisconsin eastward across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to dual submerged pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac, through Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and crossing under the St. Clair River to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada for a total length of 645 miles; and
WHEREAS, Line 5 has leaked over a million gallons of oil since 1968 and in July 2010 Enbridge Line 6B spilled over a million gallons of heavy crude into the Kalamazoo River watershed causing a $1.2 billion clean-up effort, demonstrating that continued operations of Line 5 pose a major risk of severe damage and economic loss to individuals, businesses, native American communities and the environment; and
WHEREAS, Line 5 delivers nearly 95% of the 23 million gallons of Canadian crude oil transported daily under the Straits of Mackinac to Canadian refineries for the Canadian domestic market or export, as well as crude oil products from the Kalkaska area oil fields to refineries in Detroit, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio; and
WHEREAS, Governor Snyder concluded a deal with Enbridge to keep crude oil flowing for the foreseeable future under the Straits of Mackinac ignoring pleas from thousands of constituents and shortchanging the work of his own advisory panel and task force; and
WHEREAS, the Governor’s agreement with Enbridge to keep oil flowing through the Straits of Mackinac ignores almost a hundred resolutions from Michigan communities and Native American tribes calling for curtailment of crude oil shipments over and under the public trust waters of the Great Lakes, and
WHEREAS, the State of Michigan has the legal authority and duty under public trust law to manage the bottomlands and waters of the Great Lakes within Michigan to prevent pollution and protect the natural resources of the State.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Michigan Democratic Party calls for immediate State action to promote decommissioning and removal of Line 5 from under the Straits of Mackinac, the construction of an additional pipeline or alternative method to deliver propane to Upper Peninsula users, and the construction of a new smaller pipeline to deliver Kalkaska area oil products to refineries in Michigan and Ohio in order to promote safety & job creation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, THAT the Michigan Democratic Party supports State actions to promote uninterrupted and economical energy supplies to all residents of the State, including increased usage of renewable energy resources
Resolution in Support of Our Great Lakes
WHEREAS, the Great Lakes are a magnificent, globally-unique natural resource harboring approximately 20% of the world’s fresh surface water, 84% of North America’s fresh surface water, and 95% of all fresh water in the United States; and
WHEREAS, Michigan lies in the heart of the Great Lakes and our citizens derive direct economic, scenic, biological, educational and ecological benefits from the Great Lakes and their tributary rivers and streams; and
WHEREAS, more than 35 million people in the Great Lakes Region depend on the waters of the Great Lakes for drinking water supplies, sanitation needs, and agricultural and recreational uses; and
WHEREAS, the Great Lakes face numerous threats from pollution, storm-water overflows, nutrient loadings, invasive species, non-point source contamination, privatization, and climate change; and
WHEREAS, Michigan’s jurisprudence has long recognized that the waters and bottomlands of the Great Lakes are public trust resources belonging to the people of the State of Michigan and further, that government has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the Michigan waters of the Great Lakes from pollution and impairment for the benefit of future generations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that all members of the Michigan Legislature support measures and policies to preserve and protect the Great Lakes including, but not limited to, eliminating the introduction of invasive species, reducing loadings of nutrients, micro plastics, and pharmacological chemicals to the Great Lakes, improving drinking water and wastewater treatment infrastructure, opposing commodification and privatization of Great Lakes water resources and securing continued federal Great Lakes restoration funding.
Resolution in Support of Michigan Control of Health Care Coverage
WHEREAS: Michigan has reduced the percentage of the population uninsured for health care from 11% in 2013 to 5.4% in 2016 by implementing the Healthy Michigan program. Michigan now ranks #12 among states with the lowest rates of uninsurance.
WHEREAS: Congress and the Trump administration are hampering the protections of the Affordable Care Act resulting in a decreased enrollment rate in Michigan. The number enrolling for 2018 coverage was 27,500 less than the enrollment for 2017 coverage due to a shortened open enrollment period and cessation of advertising for the federal Marketplace.
WHEREAS: States that establish their own Marketplace and control policy on health insurance reported increases in enrollment for 2018. Increased coverage of the population is good for the economy.
WHEREAS: Federal tax law passed in December 2017 removes an income tax incentive for individual enrollment in a qualified health insurance plan will further reduce enrollment in Michigan and cause sharp increases in the cost of coverage.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT: the Michigan Democratic Party calls for the State of Michigan to:
- Take charge of health insurance offerings and enrollment under the Affordable Care Act by creating a Michigan exchange or marketplace
- Adopt a penalty for people who remain uninsured when affordable coverage is available
- Obtain a DHHS 1332 waiver allowing Michigan to establish a state reinsurance program to control premium costs for the covered population
- Prevent market segmentation and adverse selection by requiring all health insurance plans to provide adequate consumer protections
- Maintain essential health benefits
- Deploy best practices and policy for Marketplace enrollment in Michigan
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: the Michigan Democratic Party supports State actions to promote: restoration of an individual mandate for affordable health insurance; improvement of health insurance affordability; limitation of substandard health insurance plans; safeguarding of essential health insurance benefits; and deployment of best practices for marketplace health insurance enrollment.
Resolution in Support of Medicare for All
WHEREAS, the U.S. is the only developed nation without some form of universal coverage for healthcare of its citizens, the result of which is that 28 million people under age 65 may not have health insurance and therefore access to care, resulting in, among other things, medically driven bankruptcies and financial difficulties; and
WHEREAS, the current private insurance model in U.S. results in:
- The U.S. spending the greatest amount per person on healthcare in the world without a commensurate return in outcomes
- Excessive premium costs for employers providing health insurance and therefore a burden on U.S. competitiveness in world markets. The efficient allocation of the labor force in inhibited by people who can’t change employment or retire because of the possible loss of health insurance coverage
- Multiple strategies employed by insurance providers to pay as little as possible for actual medical care from premiums collected. For example, in and out of network rules and payment schedules which reduce consumer choice and hinder competition. Dollars paid as premiums are reduced by insurance company administrative costs and profits and do not reach actual health care providers to pay for actual patient care
- Medical providers are faced with multiple payers with differing claims rules and paperwork requirements making the billing of claims costly, inefficient and wasteful.
WHEREAS, a national single payer system currently exists in the U.S. in the form of Medicare. A national single payer universal coverage health insurance system would also eliminate the need for Medicaid, which is a costly system that burdens the budgets of many states; and
WHEREAS, various states are considering their own form of single payer health insurance. A patchwork of systems would result in many of the same problems that currently exist, forcing providers to comply with claims requirements of numerous different systems and would present the same in network versus out of network problems for patients. It would also inhibit the movement of people to take better employment opportunities that may exist in other states, including Michigan.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party believes that healthcare is a right and that the U.S. must join every other industrialized democracy in the world and embrace legislative solutions to achieve Medicare for all.
Resolution in Support of the Americans with Disabilities Act and in Opposition to
the ADA Education & Reform Act of 2017
WHEREAS, 1 in 6 Americans are protected from discrimination, afforded guaranteed access to public services, as well as guaranteed access to public accommodations and commercial facilities by the Americans with Disabilities Act; and
WHEREAS, the recently passed ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) mandates that a person cannot file a lawsuit against a business for failing to provide public accommodations for disabilities until a written notice has been given to the business. The business would then have six months to implement any necessary improvements; and
WHEREAS, Congress is pushing forward a bill that places the burden on those denied access rather than the establishment who is denying access, making tens of millions of Americans more prone to discrimination; and
WHEREAS, no other law outlaws discrimination while also permitting entities to discriminate without consequence until victims experience that discrimination and take it upon themselves to educate the entities about their obligations not to discriminate under the law.
BE IT, THEREFORE, RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party goes on record in vigorous opposition to any effort to repeal, in full or in part, any of the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party believes that the preservation of the existing statutes contained within the ADA are critical to protecting the rights of all people with disabilities.
Resolution in Support of Better Roads, Infrastructure and Transportation Alternatives
WHEREAS, the strength of Michigan’s economy depends on a fully functioning infrastructure and viable transportation grid; and
WHEREAS, recent studies show that Michigan ranks 33rd among the 50 states (and lags behind most neighboring states) for spending per mile of state-owned roads; and
WHEREAS, despite monies promised by the Legislature’s 2015 “road funding deal” the state will fall more than $1billion short of its funding needs; and
WHEREAS, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our state’s “old and outdated” infrastructure a grade of D- for 2017; and
WHEREAS, the state of Michigan has the highest weight limits in the nation on trucks resulting in accelerated deterioration of our roads and bridges; and
WHEREAS, the state of Michigan ranks last in per capita expenditures on roads and infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, our aging roads and bridges take significant stress from under-regulated heavy trucks; and
WHEREAS, Michigan’s severe seasonal (and climate change exacerbated) weather cycles contribute to the rapid deterioration of our public streets and highways.
WHEREAS, public transportation reduces the strain and damaging effects on public infrastructure and environment and has a positive impact on the economy.
WHEREAS, funding infrastructure and roads will create jobs and enhance state’s economy.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Michigan Democratic Party fully supports progressive and comprehensive solutions to make funding of infrastructure a high priority to adequately fund the state’s roads, bridges and other transportation needs. These should include, but not be limited to: support of traditional highway and bridge construction, routine maintenance and scheduled repairs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Michigan Democratic Party strongly supports legislative solutions that provide for new or revived public transit forms, to include buses and trains powered by clean-energy technologies to reduce traffic volumes and to connect all areas of the state, to include connecting Northern areas with the more populated areas in the southern parts of the state.
Resolution in Support of the Repeal of Right to Work Legislation
WHEREAS, the Right to Work legislation is an affront and conservative attack on organized labor; and
WHEREAS, in Right to Work states overall wages and benefits continue to decline; and
WHEREAS, decreasing wages have an adverse effect on Michigan’s economy thereby decreasing Michigan’s tax base; and
WHEREAS, Right to Work legislation has resulted in unintended and/or intended consequences which have eroded social gains, benefits, and the common good and has eroded the decades long social contract between management and labor.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Michigan Democratic Party strongly supports the repeal of Right to Work legislation.
Resolution in Opposition to the Repeal of Prevailing Wage
WHEREAS, the negotiation of wages and benefits are one of the most important portions of collective bargaining by Labor Unions,
WHEREAS, the Prevailing Wage enables these negotiated wages and benefits to be protected by law,
WHEREAS, the efforts of Republicans to end the Prevailing Wage being disguised as Taxpayer Protection would damage hard working taxpayers by orders of magnitude far larger than any amount of tax money spent on enforcing Worker Protections,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party should oppose the effort to repeal the Prevailing Wage and support its protections.
Resolution in Support of Michigan Workers
WHEREAS, from 1980 to 2014, the pretax income received by the American Middle-Class has stagnated or declined while costs have grown out of control for necessities like energy, healthcare, or education; and
WHEREAS, many Americans have watched as their health insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays have ballooned while their retirement benefits have shrunk; and
WHEREAS, the income of the wealthiest Americans grew by 636% from 1980 to 2014 with the top 1% earning on average 81 times more than the bottom 50%; and
WHEREAS, American workers are responsible for the creation of that wealth, but have seen little of it in compensation for their hard work and dedication; and
WHEREAS, the Republican Party believes that the strength of the economy should be measured by the number of jobs created or the amount of corporate welfare provided to businesses as opposed to being measured by whether the average American is actually better off; and
WHEREAS, while the unemployment rate has continued to decline since January 2010, wages and benefits continue to stagnate or shrink for Working and Middle-Class Americans; and
WHEREAS, in that same span of time, the Republican Party, both nationally and locally, has and continues to engage in a concerted effort with anti-labor interest groups to undermine the rights of American workers to form and join labor unions and to collectively bargain with their employers; and
WHEREAS, workers who are unionized receive on average 13.6% more in wages, are 28.2% more likely to receive employer-provided health insurance benefits, and are 53.9% more likely to earn employer-provided pension benefits; and
WHEREAS, the number of American workers represented by unions has declined from 26.7% in 1973 to just 13.1% in 2011; and
WHEREAS, certain companies have turned our cities against one another to compete for jobs and economic development leading cities on a race to the bottom with each struggling to provide the largest tax subsidy; and
WHEREAS, even though these companies receive enormous subsidies to bring good paying jobs to the area, these companies then pay their employees substandard wages and benefits and engage in abusive employment practices, such as union busting; and
WHEREAS, it is incredibly difficult to raise a family on these substandard wages and benefits with many Americans forced to live paycheck to paycheck such as Americans no longer needing just one job, but being forced to take at least two just to make ends meet with the majority of Americans just one emergency away from financial ruin; and
WHEREAS, instead of doing something about the widening income inequality in our country, the Republican Party has passed a tax bill that provides massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest few while at the same time attempting to push millions of low-income Americans off of health insurance; and
WHEREAS, Governor Snyder signed into law and implemented the Michigan Business Development Program that provides corporate welfare to companies who promise to create good paying jobs in the State of Michigan; and
WHEREAS, Michigan, under Republican leadership, has relaxed these obligations over time and has failed to hold these companies to their promise squandering taxpayer dollars; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party goes on the record to reaffirm its dedication to the rights of American workers and expects that our lawmakers redouble their efforts to bring not just any jobs, but good jobs to the State of Michigan that pay a living wage and provide Michigan workers with benefits and a path to retirement; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party expects that lawmakers will support proven strategies for economic development, such as investing in public infrastructure and education, including K-12, higher education, and vocational training—to prepare the Michigan workforce for an emerging blue and green economy; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party expects that both federal and state legislators enforce the promises made by companies who receive taxpayer dollars, including their pledges to create good paying jobs
Resolution in Support of Adequate Funding of Public Education
WHEREAS, public education is one of the few responsibilities that is enumerated in the Michigan State Constitution; and
WHEREAS, in recent years funding for public education has been reduced dramatically; and
WHEREAS, public funding of private schools either directly or through voucher schemes violates the State Constitution; and
WHEREAS, recent adequacy studies have clearly demonstrated that funding is inadequate and equal across districts
WHEREAS, money going to for-profit charter school is diverting money from the public school funding pool; and
WHEREAS, many of our public school facilities are in extreme disrepair and have substandard conditions;
WHEREAS, many public schools struggle to provide basic school supplies and/or textbooks; and
WHEREAS, the average teacher salary in Michigan has decreased during the last 5 years; and
WHEREAS, a severe teacher shortage of qualified teachers is looming; and
WHEREAS, in many schools class sizes are too large to allow for effective education for all students.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Michigan Democratic Party strongly supports any and all measures necessary to adequately fund all Michigan public schools.
Resolution in Support of Gun Violence Prevention
WHEREAS, the murder and injury of students and staff in schools and other innocent victims in public venues by individuals with firearms has become a more frequent occurrence in the United States over the last thirty years; and
WHEREAS, thousands of students are actively working to promote changes in social, political, and educational policies to make schools safer; and
WHEREAS, over one million students participated in walk outs and other protests on March 14th, 2018, demanding safer schools.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urge the Michigan Board of Education to actively encourage all schools in Michigan to support student activities in support of school safety, including demonstrations and walkouts, and to refrain from punishing or disciplining students who participate in such activities; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party advocates the passing of legislation that would prohibit the purchase of military style assault firearms, including bump stocks and high capacity magazines, by anyone except law enforcement, military personnel, or licensed firearms collectors.
Resolution in Opposition to the Practice of Conversation Therapy in Michigan
WHEREAS, conversion therapy has proven psychologically damaging to LGBT individuals;
WHEREAS, conversion therapy has been denounced by the American Medical Association; American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychiatric Association; and the American Counseling Association;
WHEREAS, researchers have found conversion therapy to be wholly ineffective for treating psychological concerns;
WHEREAS, over thirty municipalities, as well as nine states and the District of Columbia, have already banned the practice of conversion therapy within their borders;
WHEREAS, sexual orientation and gender identity have no connection to one’s psychopathology;
WHEREAS, the professional codes of ethics for social workers, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians prohibits the practice of conversion therapy on ethical and moral grounds;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Michigan Democratic Party supports a statewide prohibition on conversion therapy.
Resolution in Support of Net Neutrality
WHEREAS, net neutrality protections help ensure a fair and open online market; and
WHEREAS, the lack of net neutrality protections allows internet service providers to charge certain websites more money for faster speeds, which would harm small and medium sized e-businesses and throttle start-up companies and innovation; and
WHEREAS, the repeal of net neutrality protections by the Federal Communications Commission has allowed a situation in which internet service providers can essentially determine what websites Americans across the country can access; and
WHEREAS, lack of net neutrality protections would result in higher prices for consumers to enjoy the content of the internet;
NOW, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Michigan Democratic Party strongly supports a re-classification of broadband internet as a common carrier, under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.