Republicans in Michigan capped off a prolific lame duck session that included turning the home of the United Auto Workers into a right-to-work state by passing recall reforms. The Michigan legislature on Friday pushed through a bill that will limit the ability of interest groups and residents to recall elected officials. Challengers now have 60 days to file recall petitions, down from 90, and recall votes now require opposition candidates rather than up-or-down votes. Liberal activists have campaigned to recall Republican Gov. Rick Snyder since May 2011. That chorus has gained a few key labor voices since Dec. 11 when Snyder made Michigan the 24th right-to-work state in the nation and the second in the industrial Midwest.
At 17 percent, Michigan has one of the most heavily unionized workforces in the nation. That figure goes a long way to meeting the 25 percent of voters needed to hold a recall election. However, unions have failed to elect Democrats even in successful recalls.
Michigan became the recall capital of the nation in 2011, representing nearly 20 percent of recall efforts nationwide.
“There are legitimate reasons for recall but there was never any basis for the 2011 recalls other than retaliation from both political parties,” said Bob McCann, spokesman for Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer.