I was reading an article in the Detroit Free Press about newly proposed bills in the state legislature to use $25 million of federal COVID-19 relief funds to staff up at the Secretary of State offices. Lengthy closings because of the pandemic created a backlog of Michiganders needing to update licenses, register vehicles, and so on.
So the idea is to use one-time money that doesn't come out of our budget to solve a problem that affects nearly all of us. If ever there was something we can all agree on, thought I, this was it. But then I read on.
It seems it was a couple of Democrats (Rep. Stephanie Young, D-Detroit, Rep. Julie Brixie, D-Meridian Township) behind the bills. I would not have been surprised if it had been two Republicans, but apparently it matters.
The bills are written with the forward-looking objective of improving service. The SOS offices would expand on the current appointment system, aiming to build flexibility and efficiency into the system as a hedge against future disruptions. Republicans would prefer to simply open offices back up with the pre-pandemic take-a-number system. You know, the one that pretty much everyone (including the workers) loathe. Why? I don't know. It could be that they are still not totally onboard with preventing sickness and death. It could be that it simply wasn't their idea.
See? This is why we can't have nice (or even simple) things.
John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.