When Bill Rogers was running for state rep from Michigan's 66th District during the 2008 campaign, he was a man of few words. In a debate sponsored by the Livingston Press and Argus, for example, he answered one question by saying, "Taxes, deregulation. Fix it and they will come."
Turns out, Rogers is also a man of few ideas. When WHMI radio station asked him about his bill to make sure winners of Republican Party primaries don't have any extra competition in the general election, he responded that he had a chance to introduce only 10 bills and he introduced nine others and that one was the 10th.
So he had nine ideas to improve Michigan and this was the best he could do for the 10th -- a power-grab by local Republicans that Rogers now says was intended to help Democrats, too.
For the record, Democrats didn't ask for this bill and want nothing to do with it. Livingston County Democrats adopted a resolution against it at their Feb. 7 county convention and the resolution was unanimously adopted by the state party at its convention Saturday (Feb. 21, 2009) in Detroit.
So if Bill Rogers can't think of another idea for the state, I guess we'd better help him out by suggesting things he could have introduced.
How about a bill to ban smoking in bars and restaurants? It will save millions in health care costs by eliminating second-hand smoke from work places.
How about a measure restoring the right of Michigan citizens to sue to protect the environment, a right taken away by the Michigan Supreme Court and former Supreme Court Justice Cliff Taylor and the rest of the Gang of Four?
How about a measure supporting WALLY, the commuter train between Howell and Ann Arbor, to cut down on congestion on U.S. 23?
Or maybe a bill to tighten restrictions on using public property for political advertising?
Expanding Michigan's bottle bill to cover non-carbonated beverages such as water, juice, and energy drinks would reduce trash and encourage recycling.
Rogers could have proposed a measure to impose a moratorium on home foreclosures to keep people in their homes and try to stabilize home prices and neighborhoods. States did this during the Great Depression with farm foreclosures.
He could have suggested a ban on new coal-fired power plants. Electrical power demand is flat in the state right now so there is no need to be building more fossil-burning plants.
Rogers might have banned utility shutoffs in the winter time to keep elderly people from freezing to death in their homes.
He could have suggested a bill requiring lawmakers to make personal financial disclosures while in office.
Why not a measure cracking down on steroid abuse, or one giving Michigan workers preference on state-funded projects?
None of these made the grade with Rogers. Only the bill that says Republicans get to veto anybody running as an independent.