Five Democrat lawmakers who voted in favor of red flag laws and legislation aiming to expand Michigan’s hate crime law have been targeted for recalls.

Another recall petition was filed against Republican lawmaker Rep. Cam Cavitt, Cheboygan, for his vote supporting the election of Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, to Speaker of the House.

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It isn’t clear whether the recall petitions are a collaborative effort among Republicans or reflect independently dissatisfied voters. What’s also not clear is whether the petition will do more to benefit the campaign contributions to the recalled politicians than hurt them due to Michigan campaign finance law, which lifts campaign limits for candidates fighting recall efforts.

Democrats facing recalls for their support of House Bill 4474 include:

  • Rep. Jennifer Conlin, Ann Arbor.
  • Rep. Reggie Miller, Belleville.
  • Rep. Jaime Churches, Wyandotte.

“On June 20th,2023 State Representative Reggie Miller voted yes on Michigan House Bill 4474,” reads the petition filed by Holli Vallade, a former Republican candidate for the seat Miller currently occupies. Vallade was defeated in the 2022 primary.

“Recalls were designed to ensure elected officials act in the interests of their constituents rather than the interests of their political parties,” Vallade told The Midwesterner. “Since she took office, Rep. Miller (D-31) has never once voted in opposition to the radical agenda of her Democratic comrades, in spite of the fact that she represents a large number of right-leaning and independent voters in her district. The ‘Hate Crime’ bill, which Miller co-sponsored, is not only vague and unconstitutional, it also threatens concerned citizens with potential felony charges for exercising their First Amendment rights. Rep. Miller’s unyielding support for the tyrannical Democrat agenda being pushed through Lansing, and specifically for House Bill 4474, should be a concern for everyone, regardless of political affiliation.”

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The bill Vallade opposes passed the Michigan House last month expands provisions of the state’s hate crime laws to include “actual or perceived race or color,religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability, age, ethnicity, or national origin, or their association or affiliation with an individual or group in who or in part based on one or more of those characteristics.”

  • Use force or violence on the other individual.
  • Cause bodily injury to the other individual.
  • Intimidate the other individual.
  • Damage, destroy, or deface any real, personal, digital, or online property of the other individual without that individual’s consent.
  • Threaten, by word or act, to do any of the above.

The bill defines “intimidate” as “a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened. However, the term intimidate would not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.”

Barbara Willing of Traverse City and Michael Ross of Troy,respectively, submitted petitions to recall Betsy Coffia, D-Traverse City, who,along with Rep. Sharon MacDonell, D-Troy, voted in favor of the House’s red flag gun legislation.

In a phone conversation with The Midwesterner, Willing said her recall petition was prompted by Coffia’s support of an “unconstitutional law.”

David Forsmark, president of the political consulting group Winning Strategies, warned that such recall efforts might result in unlimited contributions to the recalled politician’s campaign coffers.

“Even if the recall efforts fall short, freshman representatives will have access to unlimited contributions to bolster their reelection efforts,” Forsmark said, noting that a campaign finance law loophole allowed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to raise more than $3 million from less than 120 donors during a mostly dormant recall effort. Michigan’s Campaign Finance law limits individual donations to $7,150.

Factual/Clarity hearings are scheduled for August 1.