house resolution no.204

Reps. Carra, Friske, Maddock, DeSana and Schriver offered the following resolution:

A resolution to censure Speaker of the House Joe Tate, Representative of the Tenth House District, State of Michigan.

Whereas, Article IV, Section 16 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides, in relevant part: “Each house, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall choose its own officers and determine the rules of its proceedings”; and

Whereas, Article XI, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides:

All officers, legislative, executive and judicial, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of .......... according to the best of my ability.

; and

Whereas, Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides: “No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of his civil or political rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof because of religion, race, color or national origin”; and

Whereas, House Rule 74(6) provides: “A Member shall conduct himself or herself to justify the confidence placed in him or her by the people and shall, by personal example and admonition to colleagues, maintain the integrity and responsibility of his or her office”; and

Whereas, House Rule 74(7) provides: “A Member shall not engage in any conduct that materially impairs the ability of the Member to perform the duties of his or her office or substantially impair the public confidence in the House”; and

Whereas, House Rule 74(8) provides: “A Member shall adhere to these rules and all applicable laws. Any violation of law or these rules by a Member is subject to the House’s plenary authority to reprimand, censure, or expel its Members”; and

Whereas, Speaker of the House Joe Tate was elected to lead the Michigan House of Representatives and, as presiding officer, is directly culpable for allowing House Bill 4437 of 2023, a budget bill which awarded state funding to small business owners as provided in Article 9, Part 2, Section 1017, to reach the floor and be considered for passage by this body. Section 1017(1) of House Bill 4437 provided that the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity was to “award grants to minority-owned businesses or nonprofit business organizations to implement small business development initiatives for minority-owned businesses in this state.” Legislators both privately and publicly called for the removal of this racial discrimination from the budget, yet Speaker Tate exercised his authority to bring House Bill 4437 to the floor without eradicating its blatant racism, ultimately leading to it becoming law as Public Act 119 of 2023; and

Whereas, Some months later, in February 2024, a unjust firestorm of disparagement rained down upon Representative Josh Schriver for sharing a controversial tweet. Speaker Tate sanctimoniously stoked these flames with a complicit media eager to amplify the dishonesty. Any level-headed review of the surrounding facts would reveal the entire episode as shameful and beyond hypocritical. Representative Schriver is not a racist and did not deserve public ridicule. Corporate media continued to chastise Representative Schriver as Speaker Tate materially impaired him by stripping the Representative of his only committee assignment, depriving him of a personal staff, and suppressing his office allotment. The House also hypocritically made show of denouncing racism by adopting House Resolution 191 of 2024, which was clearly intended as an unjust criticism of Representative Schriver’s conduct; and

Whereas, House Resolution 191 was adopted on Valentine’s Day, February 14 2024, which spewed ironic and hollow words masquerading as noble and loving, nearly 61 years after Martin Luther King Jr. communicated his transcendent dream. For the current year’s fiscal budget, 61 legislators entrusted to be the voice for over 90,000 Michiganders in their respective districts, voted in support of this racially discriminatory budget; and

Whereas, In the days following Resolution 191’s adoption, Representative Steve Carra was repeatedly snubbed by the Speaker’s office. When they declined to respond to his meeting request on five days’ notice, Representative Carra made himself available to meet with the Speaker by waiting outside Speaker Tate’s office for 24 hours a day for two entire days and into the afternoon of a third, aside from attending session and bathroom breaks. Representative Carra gave Speaker Tate ample opportunity to apologize to the people of Michigan for spearheading the effort that brought forward a racially discriminatory budget; and

Whereas, Representative Carra magnanimously suggested that Speaker Tate simply review Section 1017 of Public Act 119 and communicate publicly that he overlooked the section, which would indeed be understandable given that it was an appropriations act allocating over 80 billion dollars and is nearly 400 pages long. Speaker Tate rejected every opportunity given to him to clarify his stance and assure the people of the state of Michigan that he will never again pick winners and losers based on their race in a subsequent budget; and

Whereas, Had Section 1017 said that from the 10 million dollars appropriated “for white owned business support, the department shall award grants to white-owned businesses or nonprofit business organizations to implement small business development initiatives for white-owned businesses in this state,” it would undeniably and rightfully be met with the most severe consequences this body could conceivably deliver for each and every proponent of such heinous discrimination. The only difference between Section 1017 of the actual budget and what is depicted in this clause is that instead of saying “white” owned businesses, it says “minority” owned businesses. Racism is wrong no matter what and has no place in our state government; and

Whereas, Speaker Tate inappropriately disparaged Representative Schriver, then brought forward House Resolution 191 to denounce racism after the Speaker formally supported racism in the budget, and has subsequently dismissed every possible opportunity to set the record straight as to where he stands regarding racial discrimination; and

Whereas, After examining the facts presented herein and Speaker Tate’s actions, this House has no other option but to conclude that Speaker Tate himself condones racism. His support for racially discriminatory budgetary provisions and disregard for the importance of this matter are inexcusable and unethical. His effort to impugn Representative Schriver as a racist is beyond hypocrisy, when his formal actions of allowing House Bill 4437 to be passed by this body, was incalculably destructive to 10 million Michigan citizens affected. The people of Michigan deserve an apology for this uncivil distortion of truth and reprehensible mischaracterization of a colleague for simply retweeting a controversial statistical analysis; and

Whereas, Speaker Tate, as Representative of the Tenth House District, has performed acts inconsistent with the trust vested in and duties expected of a state representative. He has championed unambiguous discrimination constituting blatant racism and has done considerable harm to public confidence in state government. He has failed to maintain the integrity and responsibility of his office, and failed to meet his solemn obligations to the people of his district and the state of Michigan; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That Speaker Joe Tate, Representative of the Tenth House District, is hereby censured; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to Speaker Joe Tate.