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Politics & Government

It's Just Politics Round-Up

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It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta
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Political news continues to surface even though lawmakers at the state Capitol have begun their two week spring break.

On Friday, an investigative report, by the Associated Press, about a controversial pardon made by Governor Rick Snyder came out.

“Here’s basically what we know, what happened: Governor Snyder made 11 pardons last year, at the very end of the year back in December,” Zoe Clark, co-host of It’s Just Politics on Michigan Radio said. “Eleven pardons – governors of course can do this. Well it turns out, what we found out on Friday, is that one of the pardons was for a drunk driving offense and it just so turns out that this gentleman that was pardoned by the governor happens to be the lawyer for the owner of Five Hour Energy Drink, that you’ve probably heard of, and this gentleman who owns Five Hour Energy Drink? Big doner to republican governors.”

Other co-host of It’s Just Politics Rick Pluta joined in on the conversation.

“Well the Chamber of Commerce said that it was money that went to republican gubernatorial campaigns and a lot of it went to back the gubernatorial candidacy, in 2010, of Governor Rick Snyder,” he said.

This man, the owner of Five Hour Energy Drink, contributed $3 million to the campaign, though the governor says something a bit different.

“What he told the Associated Press was that there was no financial link with his campaign, was that there was no financial link at all, and that’s a little bit of a stretch because, in fact, there was,” Pluta said.

Another bit of news comes from just south of us, in Indiana. Republican Governor Mike Pence signed legislation known as the “religious freedom restoration act.” Opponents say this measure basically makes discrimination legal. Like Indiana, Michigan lawmakers are looking at a similar version of this legislation, known as “RFRA.”

Pluta explained that this legislation has a historical component. At the federal level, it’s existed for 20 years, when Bill Clinton signed it into law hoping to protect prison inmates’ rights to practice religion.

“And what’s happened over time is the U.S. Supreme Court said, ‘However, federal law doesn’t apply to state laws and state policies, and so if states want similar protections on their law books, they have to pass their own,'” he said.

This has led states with upcoming same-sex marriage decisions to attempt to quickly pass state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, or RFRAs.

“Well, the blow back on what happened in Indiana with Mike Pence is such that I think you could argue that Mike Pence has done more to stall RFRA in Michigan than anything the American Civil Liberties Union could have done,” he said.