Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas
After initially being shunted off to committee, three resolutions celebrating the state’s Hispanic, Maltese-American and deaf communities were finally approved by the Michigan House this week.
While the non-binding resolutions are typically non-controversial and pass on bipartisan votes, these three sponsored by Democrats were initially sent to the Government Operations Committee, normally a repository for legislation with little chance of success.
The resolutions included HR 335, introduced by Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), which declared September 2022 as Deaf Awareness Month in Michigan, HR 337, introduced by Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.), which declared September 21, 2022, as Maltese American Heritage Day in Michigan, and HR 338, introduced by Rep. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp.), a resolution to declare Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 2022, as Hispanic Heritage Month in Michigan.
The votes to pass in the GOP-led chamber them came during a long Wednesday session that also produced a $1 billion supplemental spending plan.
Cavanaugh told the Advance that the passage of her measure, while needlessly delayed, was still a welcome development.
“I am pleased that Hispanic Heritage Month was finally given the recognition it deserves by the Michigan House of Representatives this year, as it has been so many times throughout the history of the legislature,” she said. “The culture and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Michiganders are deserving of this celebratory resolution and never should have been the subject of partisan division. I am grateful to my colleagues and members of the public who joined my call on Republican leadership to give this resolution an opportunity to pass. We will not let this political stunt overshadow the nationwide celebrations of Hispanic and Latinx communities.”
When asked why the House resolutions were sent to committee only to be pulled back to the floor for a vote, a House Republican spokesperson did not respond.
After the vote to send the resolutions to committee earlier this month, state Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.), the first Maltese-American to serve in the Legislature, had noted he’d previously sponsored a similar resolution five times with no issues. Camilleri told the Michigan Advance that whatever the reasoning, it was “one of the worst versions of Lansing politics.”
In June, the GOP-led Michigan Senate declined to take up a resolution recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride Month sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield). In 2021, the Senate had, for the first time, passed that same resolution.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) wanted changes to this year’s measure, which Moss refused to include. Moss said Shirkey wanted to add a disclaimer that would have said: “Though not every citizen in Michigan agrees with the lifestyle of the LGBT community, it is agreed that every life is special, precious, unique and loved by the creator, and each person is created in God’s image.”
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