It’s been a rough week for the people of Michigan.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed bills that eliminate Michigan’s century-old straight-party voting law, and ban local librarians and school officials from informing voters about upcoming ballot measures and school millages. Meanwhile, the Flint water crisis continued to spiral out of control.
The political fallout may finally be starting to catch up to Governor Snyder, as he gets savaged by news outlets across the country. Here’s a roundup:
Snyder Takes Heat Over Flint Water Crisis
The Week: How Michigan literally poisoned an entire city to save a few bucks: Snyder and his handpicked head environmental official Dan Wyant studiously ignored the problem — despite internal warnings of lead poisoning as early as July of last year — until an outside scientific study demonstrated extreme levels of lead in Flint children. In late December — over a year after the water switch — Snyder finally apologized and Wyant quietly resigned.
NBC News: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Mum on What He Knew About Flint Water: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder refused Thursday to say when he knew the Flint water crisis — children being poisoned by lead from their drinking taps — was being mishandled. At a press conference after a meeting with the city’s mayor, Snyder said reporters and the public would have to wait for the final report on the public health debacle. … But an internal email obtained by Virginia Tech researchers shows that the governor’s office knew months ago that Flint’s families had reason to be worried about the problem and the response.
Huffington Post: Rick Snyder Ducks Question On What He Knew About Flint’s Water: In a July email, a top Snyder aide worried Flint residents were “basically getting blown off by us” over their concerns about high lead levels in the city’s water. It wasn’t until October that the state water agency admitted it had made a mistake that led to the poisoning of an untold number of children.
Snyder Ripped Over Election Laws
Lansing State Journal Editorial: Snyder, stop disenfranchising the voters: Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill on Tuesday that eliminates single-party straight ticket voting in Michigan. The move reeks of partisan politics.
The Times Herald Editorial: Lawmakers extend the definition of scandalous: After Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 571, we’re learning surprising new things. Most disturbing, so are the lawmakers who voted for the controversial bill that began as a campaign finance measure and then morphed into partisan contempt for Michigan voters. Among the contentious aspect of the bill, which was thrown in during the final hours of the legislative session, is a single paragraph that prohibits school districts and local governments from sharing information about tax requests and other ballot issues in the two months before an election.
Traverse City Record Eagle: Editorial: New laws are nothing but bad news for voters: Lawmakers, with Snyder’s help, have issued a gag order on local school districts and other municipalities with bond proposals on upcoming ballots. Experts from across the state have voiced concern that the new law’s inexact language may outlaw things like printing and distributing flyers explaining how millage money will be spent. Others worry that it may be a form of prior restraint that would inhibit news organizations and the public from gathering accurate information about ballot measures. What’s worse is the governor signed the bill knowing it is flawed.
Midland Daily News Editorial: New state law misses the point: We are deeply disappointed in state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder when it comes to the topic of voting rights. This week, Snyder signed a bill eliminating straight ticket voting for Michiganders. He said the bill “puts people over politics,” but the new law actually accomplishes the opposite. In fact, the law smells of politics as many analyses show that Democrats tend to vote straight ticket more than GOP supporters.
Susan Demas: Gov. Snyder disappoints many Republicans by signing election bill: This is the kind of sleazy politicking you’d expect Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to orchestrate — in fact, he just signed a kindred-spirit bill, which also scrapped the state’s well-regarded nonpartisan elections and ethics panel. As a tough nerd, Snyder was supposed to be above such crassness.