POLITICS & PREJUDICES
Christmas Is For The Rich
Things for Michigan’s children are bad and getting worse.
Published: December 24, 2013
You’ve got to hand it to the Republicans running the Michigan Senate. They struck a blow for crime this month; not against crime — for it.
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Detroit, knows how scrap metal thieves can devastate a neighborhood. There’s a reason so many Detroit homes look like they are ready for the wrecking ball: Thieves tear them apart to get out metal they can sell for instant cash. For three years, Tlaib worked with her Republican colleagues to come up with a bipartisan bill.
Finally, she did it. Earlier this year, the House almost unanimously passed a bill that would have required a three-day payment delay for the three most commonly stolen items – catalytic converters, window air conditioners and copper wire.
Plus, dealers would have had to keep the license plate numbers of anyone selling scrap metal and then pay them only by check. Fifteen states have done something similar and all have seen scrap metal thefts plummet, Tlaib told me. This was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, too many Republicans in the state have nothing but corrupt brains. Led by Mike Kowall of White Lake Township, they stripped those provisions out of the bill. Instead, they said it would be good enough if the industry just kept its own database of sales.
That made Rashida angry as hell — and for good reason. She denounced her own bill, and that was the end of that.
So, thanks to the GOP, the world is still safe for scrap metal thieves. Why are Republicans taking an action that will clearly help promote more crime and blight in Detroit?
Frankly, it’s not clear. But that’s exactly what they did. My guess is that the semi-sleazy scrap metal dealers didn’t want to change the way they do business or cut their profits.
Let’s hope that for once, the voters remember.
> Email Jack Lessenberry