Detroit Public Square: Critics' Picks
Best State Bill That Blatantly Undermines Picketers for Literally No Reason
Anti-picketing legislation that seeks to fine picketers $1,000 a day, introduced by State Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills)
Published: April 9, 2014
There's plenty for anti-gay lawmaker Tom McMillin to stay busy with in Lansing these days. But McMillin's bill to crack down on picketers surprised us. The bill would increase fines for picketers to $1,000 a day; for groups who sponsor a picket, $10,000 a day. Worse, a controversial provision exempted picketed businesses from having to prove irreparable harm when seeking court injunctions against picketers. What baffled us the most was that no one, it seemed, could articulate any recent example that would justify the need for tougher measures against picketers. When Wendy Block of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which supported the bill, was asked for an example by a House panel, she delivered nothing. 'Our concern is that it very likely could.' In other words, there's literally no reason for this bill — that is, unless you want to create a chilling effect for unions and protesters.