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House Republicans block resolutions celebrating Hispanic, Maltese-American and deaf communities

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House Republicans block resolutions celebrating Hispanic, Maltese-American and deaf communities

Sep 22, 2022 | 11:44 am ET
By Allison R. Donahue
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House Republicans block resolutions celebrating Hispanic, Maltese-American and deaf communities
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Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

Three resolutions celebrating the state’s Hispanic, Maltese-American and deaf communities were sent to a House committee Wednesday where they will likely sit and wilt. 

Such nonbinding resolutions are typically considered non-controversial and pass on bipartisan votes. But Wednesday’s session in the GOP-controlled House, the first in months, turned long and contentious as the Nov. 8 election approaches. 

“This is just another attack on marginalized communities that the Republicans are using their power to block the mere celebration of marginalized communities,” State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.) told the Advance

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri
State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.) addresses the House during the budget debate on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 | House Democrats photo

Camilleri, who is the first Maltese-American to serve in the Legislature, said he has sponsored his resolution six times. The five times prior the resolutions were passed. 

Last year, all three resolutions were adopted the same day they were given a first reading. 

“My community has so much pride about this resolution,” Camilleri said. “Communities are thrilled to know they have representatives who represent and acknowledge us.”

The other resolutions sent to the Government Operations Committee were House Resolution 335, introduced by Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), a resolution to declare September 2022 as Deaf Awareness Month in Michigan, and House Resolution 338, introduced by Rep. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp.), a resolution to declare Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 2022, as Hispanic Heritage Month in Michigan.

The Government Operations Committee is known as the place where bills are typically sent to die. 

In June, the GOP-led Michigan Senate declined to take up a resolution recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride Month sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield). In 2021, the Senate had, for the first time, passed that same resolution.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) wanted changes to this year’s measure, which Moss refused to include. Moss said Shirkey wanted to add a disclaimer that would have said: “Though not every citizen in Michigan agrees with the lifestyle of the LGBT community, it is agreed that every life is special, precious, unique and loved by the the creator, and each person is created in God’s image.”

When asked why the House resolutions were sent to committee, a House Republican spokesperson did not respond. 

But Camilleri said that no matter the reasoning, it is “one of the worst versions of Lansing politics.”

“To have them continue to show disrespect to marginalized communities just shows how much the power has gone to their heads,” Camilleri said.