Michigan GOPers want to punish colleges that offer partner benefits

It is 2011, right?

One would like to think that elected officials would do every thing possible to find the best people to educate students. That should ould be especially true in a state like Michigan, which is beset with serious economic woes and has a double digit unemployment rate. But, no. As is so often the case, homophobia trumps. From Todd Heywood:

The Michigan House approved an amendment to the education budget on Thursday night that will penalize state universities and colleges five percent for offering domestic partner benefits for same-sex or unmarried partners.

Shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday night, State Rep. Dave Agema (R-Greenville) posted the following status update to his Facebook page announcing the amendment:

I had an amendment put into the education budget that takes 5% away from colleges that give same sex/unmarried benefits and places up to $60 million of that into the MPSRS K-12 budget if colleges do not stop skirting the law and the will of the people. Colleges can’t say they are short of money when they skirt the law and give such benefits. The Dems didn’t like this – it passed.

The approved budget cuts millions of dollars in state funds from the state’s K-12 system while shifting some of the funding from the school aid fund into community college funding. State universities and community college were cut 15 percent in the Senate version of the funding, but in the House funding proposal, those entities are cut by 22 percent unless they hold tuition increases to no higher than 7.1 percent.

Both bills now head into a conference committee where they will be combined into a final bill, which will then face up and down votes in both chambers. If approved, it would head to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Michigan is an economic mess. But, Rep. Agema thinks it’s important to engage in legislative gay-bashing. Things like this happen in Congress and State legislatures all the time.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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