Clean Water Action Releases “Legislative Scorecard” Evaluating Michigan Legislators’ Commitment to the Environment

Clean Water Action Michigan has released its 2005-2006 legislative scorecard in which it evaluates area legislators in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate with respect to their commitment to the environment. According to the scorecard, area legislators vote to protect the environment only 30% of the time.

The group Clean Water Action recently released its annual legislative environmental scorecard in which the group evaluates the votes of Michigan House of Representatives and Senators in order to determine their commitment to the protecting the state’s environment. Clean Water Action found that the Michigan House of Representatives fails to support environmental protections 70% of the time while the Senate fails 64% of the time. These votes must also be evaluated in light of budget cuts for the state Department in Environmental Quality as it then become clear that there is little effort to protect the environment in the state. However, Clean Water Action does cite a reason to be optimistic—the group states that the election of six environmentally friendly legislators from any political party would create a “pro-environment, pro-Great Lakes majority” in the Michigan Legislature.

Legislators representing Kent County in the Michigan House of Representatives received poor ratings from Clean Water Action, with the majority of the Kent County delegation receiving ratings of “30.” On each vote, legislators were given ten points for a “pro-environment” vote or zero points for an “anti-environment” point, with points tallied to determine an overall score assessing each legislator’s commitment to the environment and public health. Consequently, the average score of “30” for Kent County’s Representatives means that they only voted to protect the environment 30% of the time, with the only exception being Democrat Michael Sak who voted to protect the environment 80% of the time. Among area state Senators the numbers were similar, with most Senators voting to protect the environment 30% of the time with the only exception being Senator Bill Hardiman who voted in favor of the environment 35% of the time. Clean Water Action has also compiled descriptions of votes in the House and Senate.

The ratings for local legislators are listed below:

Environmental Votes by Area Representatives

Name Green
Party / District R-77
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Destroying Wetlands 0
Out of State & Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
MI Trash Standards Equity 0
Trash Penalties 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Large-Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 30
Name Hildenbrand
Party / District R-86
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Destroying Wetlands 0
Out of State & Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
MI Trash Standards Equity 0
Trash Penalties 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Large-Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 30
Name Kooiman
Party / District R-75
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Destroying Wetlands 0
Out of State & Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
MI Trash Standards Equity 0
Trash Penalties 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Large-Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 30
Name Pearce
Party / District R-73
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Destroying Wetlands 0
Out of State & Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
MI Trash Standards Equity 0
Trash Penalties 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Large-Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 30
Name Sak
Party / District D-76
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Destroying Wetlands 10
Out of State & Canadian Trash 10
Stopping Landfill Expansion 10
MI Trash Standards Equity 10
Trash Penalties 10
Protecting Polluters 0
Large-Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 80
Name Steil
Party / District R-72
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Destroying Wetlands 0
Out of State & Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
MI Trash Standards Equity 0
Trash Penalties 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Large-Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 30
Name Van Regenmorter
Party / District R-74
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Destroying Wetlands 0
Out of State & Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
MI Trash Standards Equity 0
Trash Penalties 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Large-Scale Water Withdrawals 0
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 20

Environmental Votes by Area Senators

Name Hardiman
Party / District R-29
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Out of State Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Great Lakes Water Diversions 0
Lakes, Rivers, Streams 0
Conserving Great Lakes Water 0
Large Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 5
TOTAL 35
Name Kuipers
Party / District R-30
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Out of State Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Great Lakes Water Diversions 0
Lakes, Rivers, Streams 0
Conserving Great Lakes Water 0
Large Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 30
Name Sikkema
Party / District R-28
Invasive Species Prevention 10
Banning Toxic Dredge Dumping 10
Out of State Canadian Trash 0
Stopping Landfill Expansion 0
Protecting Polluters 0
Great Lakes Water Diversions 0
Lakes, Rivers, Streams 0
Conserving Great Lakes Water 0
Large Scale Water Withdrawals 10
Genetically Altered Seeds 0
TOTAL 30

Michigan House Considers Bans on Emergency Contraceptives

Accorrding to BlackBox Radio, legislation being considered this week in the Michigan House Health Policy Committee will consider banning the sale of emergency contraceptives over the counter in Michigan even if the FDA approves its use. The power to Dispense pills would be limited to pharmacists. Other bills before the Legislature would allow pharmacists the right to refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives, or any other medication, on moral grounds.

Emergency Contraception, also known as the “morning after” pill, is a concentrated dose of birth control pills that is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex. It thus prevents unwanted pregnancies and reduces abortions, and is a much safer alternative with few side effects. The Scientific Advisory Committee to the Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly approved the sale of Emergency Contraceptives over-the-counter. However, the Bush administration has repeatedly tried to block the implementation of the panel’s recommendation.

The Michigan chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) is calling on concerned Michigan residents to contact the legislature and help prevent the bill from moving forward. To find out more, visit www.prochoicemichigan.org.