The weather outside may indeed be frightful, but the new year also gives us a chance to look back and appreciate our biggest policy wins of last year. These victories were plentiful and wide-ranging.
Speaking of bad weather, it makes us appreciate the reliable and affordable energy we use to heat our homes and take part in many indoor and outdoor activities. Unfortunately, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel came into office with promises to shut down reliable energy sources, including the Line 5 pipeline. So far, they’ve repeatedly lost in court. Last fall, the Biden administration also discussed shutting down the pipeline. The Mackinac Center published a report about the likely costs of that action: Households will have to pay hundreds of dollars extra per month to heat their homes. An onslaught of new trucks will have to cross the Mackinac Bridge to transport propane. Happily, the Biden administration backed away from this action and Attorney General Nessel withdrew from a federal lawsuit against the pipeline.
We weren’t just on defense in 2021. Michigan saw its greatest movement on school choice in decades. In the fall, we launched a lawsuit on behalf of five parents and their children, arguing that Michigan’s constitutional prohibition on school choice violated their First Amendment rights. For their part, legislators passed several bills to give students opportunity scholarships, which would let hundreds of thousands of students use designated state funds for education at public schools, private schools, trade schools, and for tutoring and other services. Gov. Whitmer vetoed the bill, but there’s now a citizens initiative that, if it gets enough signatures, would give the Legislature the chance to override her veto with a second vote.
Our work to keep an eye on Lansing continued when we found out through our transparency work and a lawsuit that the state cannot determine how many COVID-19 deaths happened at nursing homes. We published a report that the state was indeed undercounting these deaths and were invited to testify in the Legislature on this matter. This resulted in lawmakers calling for an investigation which was launched by Michigan’s Auditor General. The auditor’s report came out, largely agreeing with our previous results, and said that Michigan was undercounting deaths at long-term care facilities.
2021 was a productive year. Let’s hope 2022 brings even better policy wins expanding liberty and opportunity for all people.