Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Privatization Can Be Fiscally Responsible in Michigan

Privatization Can Be Fiscally Responsible

The Detroit News

This was published 10/31/07 06:09 PM

The Governor should embrace with joy the championing of privatization of foster care and adoption services by Senator Hardiman. This is what we all have been awaiting.

Privatizing foster care and adoption services releases the constraints of enforcement within the executive branch. The Attorney General is now able to flick the switch of the oversight machine and provide accountability for the state and its families. This is what is to happen:

The responsibility of contract monitoring and compliance is transferred from DHS back into the hands of the Attorney General. For example, families whose children have been removed where privatized agencies do not believe in family reunification, can now file complaints with the Attorney General regarding protection of consumer rights. The Bureau of Children and Family Services Fraud Division may now protect, not just vulnerable adults, but vulnerable children and families.

When the Attorney General conducts investigations and finds material violations of law and policy by the privatized child placing agencies, he is now allowed to follow through with full prosecution of the agencies and their workers.

In turn, families are provided proactive services, there are no longer phantom programs funded by DHS, tens of millions of dollars in improper payments of improper, unnecessary services and placements of children in foster care are ameliorated.

The number of children entering foster care are reduced because privatized child placing agencies must promote and advocate for placement of children within the family which is more cost effective than having a child prescribed psychiatric medication to "calm" from the trauma of being ripped from his/her home and placed in a strangers home, further reducing medicaid waste and fraud.

Privatized child placing agencies, under the theory of punishment by deterrence, will produce accurate and transparent audit reports, simply from the fear of prosecution.

Practices of targeting minority and impoverished children, due to the fact that child abuse and neglect is an entitlement program, will cease in the face of civil rights penalties.

Michigan will become a model state for accountability and transparency by reducing dependency of federal funding streams in Social Security. The money saved by privatized child placing agencies can be invested in education, thus, replacing the state's number one industry (Human Services) with higher education.

Michigan is no longer liable for litigation. The Executive Office is no longer a demagogue to privatized child placing agencies who also lobby (many without proper IRS status), but becomes the fiscal savior of our families.

Everyone wins...except the privatized child placing agencies that violate federal and state laws and policies, under color of state law.

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Owen's Law: Anoter Step To End Child Welfare Fraud

In a series of recent nation initiatives to "reform" child welfare, there is notice movement to begin addressing child welfare fraud.

Michigan is moving to privatize child welfare, again.  By doing so, it is shifting blame of malfeasance to the individual workers, exculpating the state from any liability by stripping immunity.

The problem is, this is administrative law which is devoid of any and all constitutionalities, or at least that is what I was told by a sobbing, administrative law judge.

The purpose of the direction in policy shit is to keep the state cleared of being busted for federal fraud.

The question now begged is, "Will a State have to pay back federally reimbursed costs for a child welfare case that should never have existed?"

The answer evidently presented is, "Hell no."

All child welfare case files are sealed.

Owen's Law seeks to provide due process to finally oversee the overseers to end child welfare fraud.

Owen's Law
Owen's Law

In the Boldest Move in U.S. History to bring awareness to Child Welfare Fraud...
Arin Marcus
Owen's Law For A Safer Oregon Director Arin Marcus uploaded this tag to the Facebook Profiles of numerous State Agencies...
including every State Of Oregon Department of Human Services pages, Hillsboro Child Welfare, Oregon State Police, Casa Organizations, Washington and Multmomah County Juvenile Departments, Courthouses and Jails...


along with the attorneys and psychologists who are related to his case.

Owen's Law For A  Safer Oregon is a citizen's initiative that will Reaffirm a Parent's Constitutional Right To A Jury and Due Process in all Child Welfare Proceedings.

State Representative Wayne Krieger has asked Mr. Marcu to draft a Owen's Law as a house bill after receiving a copy of Owen's Law Executive Summary...
after Arin Marcus served it upon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, Vice President Joe Biden...

and Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum who still refuses to investigate the provable allegations that Deputy Attorney General Marcia Lance-Bumb, Caseworkers And Guardian Ad Litem acted in conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud, perjury and extortion against witnesses in the case of AOM v. DHS- the longest case in Oregon History with NO ALLEGATIONS of neglect, abuse or endangerment against Mr. Marcus.

The Oregon Supreme Court refuses to review the case, effectively covering it up.  A scathiing Petition For Reconsideration was filed with the Oregon Supreme Court outlining the serious criminal activity within Washington County's Court System.

Owen's Law sent out a nationwide Press Release to all of the major news outlets on December 21st.
 Not surprisingly,  Baby LK is the first to report."

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Report Puppy Abuse - Baby LK Report For December 28th 2014

Baby LK recaps the week in news for the child protective industry. Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Will AG Eric Holder Stop Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare?

Just think if the U.S. DOJ actually went after Medicaid fraud in child welfare.

Actually, Attorney General Eric Holder did, in New York, when he was just a lowly U.S. Attorney.

Second Mecklenburg County Social Worker Charged With Medicaid Fraud

For the second time in two months, a U.S. Attorney on Thursday charged a Mecklenburg County social worker with taking at least $10,000 in Medicaid kickbacks.

County workers Ryce Hatchett Jr. and Ieshia Watkins both participated in Medicaid fraud schemes with a mental health provider named Ronnie Robinson, according to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Anne Tompkins. The alleged crimes took place from 2009 to 2012.

While working for the county, Hatchett Jr. and Watkins gave Robinson the identities of some county Department of Social Services clients, Robinson gave them cash, and then he filed fraudulent reimbursement claims with Medicaid, according to the U.S. Attorney.

Robinson and Watkins have pleaded guilty, and the U.S. Attorney expects Hatchett Jr. to formally accept a plea deal soon.

A spokesman for the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services says neither Watkins nor Hatchett Jr. still works for the county.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Michigan to Partner Schools with CPS on Medicaid Programs

Whether or not this is a productive concept for children is left open for future discussion, after the program is launched.

What troubles me the most is the fast-track of privitization for child welfare service agencies when there is no oversight.

Here in Detroit, including the two municipal enclaves, the child poverty rate is hovering around 50%, with concentrations centered around some schools at 70%.

Michigan has cut its social safety net to the bare bones, kicking many off assistance, even those who work full-time.

If a child is chronically truant, there is a strong possibility that there are cognitive and psychological unmet needs.  Many parents cannot access proper assistance as most services are 9 to 5 and difficult to even schedule an appointment.

I can only hope there are provisions in these Bills which would allow advocacy groups to work with families navigating the child welfare system.

Any "intervention" will be a Medicaid cost reimbursement.

Bills aim to keep Michigan kids in school, out of trouble

Legislation aimed at keeping kids in school — and away from trouble that could lead them to prison — is designed to establish consistent guidelines for labeling a child truant and require schools to intervene before missing school becomes a serious problem.

"We have a number of kids who are just truant and nothing gets done as a safety net to save them," said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. "If they're not going to school and they're not getting educated, more than likely they're falling into a life of crime."

The legislation includes four bills — two of which were sponsored by Schuitmaker. As part of the bills, truancy would be defined as missing 10 unexcused days in a school year, while chronic absenteeism would be defined as missing 10% of the number of days scheduled for the school year, excused or unexcused. School districts would have to report data on both.

Data already shows many schools and districts are struggling to ensure all kids are in school every day.

Statewide, more than 25% of students are chronically absent, which is now defined as missing more than 10 days in a school year. Exactly how many are truant is unclear.

Part of the problem, some say, is the lack of reliable data on truancy. Districts must submit data annually to the state, but there is little consistency in how districts derive that data. The state no longer even reports it.

Gov. Rick Snyder called for truancy reform during his last State of the State address in January. "If we don't know what the truancy numbers are, how do you solve the problem, and we're not doing our data appropriately in the state," he said at the time.

Midland County Judge Dorene Allen, who handles juvenile and probate cases, said kids who miss a ton of school aren't the stereotypical "teen hanging out on the corner."

"We have truancy starting in elementary school because of things happening out of that child's control, in the home," said Allen, who chairs the Michigan School-Justice Partnership, a statewide effort to keep kids in school and out of the school-to-prison pipeline.

In many cases, she said, truancy happens because of neglect and abuse in the home, a single parent who can't afford the gas money to both drive to work and drop kids off at school, kids who have to babysit their siblings or a lack of basic resources such as water, electricity, shoes or coats.

There is clear evidence chronic absenteeism and truancy must be addressed, said Carolyn Claerhout, manager of pupil, corporate and district services for Oakland Schools, Oakland County's intermediate school district. But she's not sure the legislation in its current form will do it.

She said she believes the legislation improperly lumps the two problems together.

"Chronic absenteeism is a good alarm system, but it shouldn't be part of truancy enforcement," said Claerhout, whose ISD has worked with the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office to create a truancy protocol for the 28 local school districts in the county.

The bill does treat the two somewhat separately. While one of the bills would require that truant students younger than 17 be referred to family court, the same wouldn't happen to students who are chronically absent.

In both cases, school districts would be required to intervene with students who are missing a lot of school days.

"It will require every district to take a close look at this issue. That's important in and of itself," said Chris Wigent, superintendent of the Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency, the ISD for Wayne County. It will be crucial, though, that the legislation create additional reporting requirements for schools, Wigent said.

As part of the statewide partnership, 81 of the state's 83 counties have created county-level partnerships, bringing together education, human service agencies, courts, law enforcement and the community.

The Wayne County group recently held a summit that drew representatives from more than 20 school districts and charter schools in the county.

"There are districts who are dealing with this issue in a very effective manner and then there are districts that probably could use some guidance and support," Wigent said.

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Michigan Dissent Denying Grandmother Adoption Over Possible Audit

Lori Scribner was denied adoption of her grandchildren because the former Superintendent of Michigan Children's Institute did not read the court files granting her custody and guardianship.  So to Court corrected the mistake and rendered its final determination, but not without a beautifully written dissent:
The rationale for this decision and that in the earlier placement case is readily distilled: Leave the children where the system first hastily placed and left them the longest, then justify it all by simply completing the illogical circle by righteously declaring that they’re best off where they’ve now been the longest! This contrived, bootstrapping “analysis” by the Supreme Court, which reversed this panel’s original decision and which now essentially compels the instant decision of this Court to justify the resolution of these cases, is at best embarrassing, and at worst a sad, shameful example of a process and a system that failed this family.
 Michigan Appeals Judge Jane Markey
December 4, 2014

In order to access funding, there must be a judicial determination.  If the Court ruled in favor of the grandmother, the state would be found culpable of fraud.  That would not be a good thing as the state is about to be let off the hook in court monitoring and up for it regular HHS audit.

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Michigan Prepares to Launch God's Economic Model to End Child Poverty

Yes, Bill Johnson has slithered into another secret division of DHS. Johnson has abdicated to his trusty side-kick, Bruce Hoffman, who has taken over the throne of omnipotence.

I am guessing, as I really do not feel like finding out where he went at this particular moment, that he is doing something with child welfare contracts.

Now, how did I come to this conclusion?

Well, the Madame Maura Corrigan has stepped down as DHS Director after successfully running a game on the federal court monitor that "all is well" in Michigan child welfare.

All is not well, not even close because it seems the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has picked Michigan, under the Madame's leadership, to launch a pilot model for privatizing the entire system of child welfare, or more specifically, foster care. The pilot city is Grand Rapids and it has a long, nasty, sordid history of snatching kids via bible thumping.

When I say "bible-thumping" I specifically mean the christian child placing agencies which are all Michigan non-profit corporations.

Michigan Legislature just seriously attempted to slam a Bill down the throats of the people under the guise of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  This Bill, mirrored from its namesake federal Act, was originally used as the backbone for the Michigan Parental Rights Resolution which was introduced for an Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  I worked on the construction of the Bill.
The RFRA federal case was centered on a Child Protective Service case of parents using certain plants with hallucinogenic properties in their traditional, indigenous religious ceremonies.  Parenting was transmogrified into a religious belief overnight. 

The Tea Party began to take roots as a family economic movement and I was there to witness.  It was built off the desperation of parents who had their children legally kidnapped.  These families became powerful catalysts for the extreme right wing to, predatorially, push through their "christian" subversive agendas.  Look who launched the Tea Party on "God's economy" (Michele Bachmann's reference to children @ 4:30):

As few may not know, it takes 3/4ths of the States 7 years to have a referendum to amend the Constitution.  The Parental Rights Amendment did not survive but RFRA did.

RFRA will take the same course as the Parental Rights Amendment, mark my word.  Also mark my words when I say that it just might steam roll the national level and become an Amendment as there are a series of states which have already signed on.

RFRA is not alone in its ride to becoming an Amendment.  The Hobby Lobby decision opened the flood gates for legal challenges to "religious freedom" as corporations, legal persons, now have recognized religious beliefs.

Michigan has introduced, sine die, major changes to its Non-Profit Corporation Law.  From a quick overview, I see it is now easier for a not-for-profit to set up and transfer to a for-profit.

This got me thinking that timing of the shift in Michigan child welfare leadership is not a coincidence. 

Michigan spends $1B on charter schools but fails to hold them accountable

Medicaid Expansion + RFRA + Non-Profit Corporation changes +Privatization = Corporate $$$

Charter schools do not provide special needs education but child welfare does and the money comes from Medicaid.  The federal A+PLUS Act would give direct access to CPS in viewing school records, with no oversight, to generate more child welfare cases by providing special needs services.
Every corporation is about to hire a child and no one will stop this from being a nationally diffusable model.

As of this writing, the Michigan Bureau of Adult and Children Licensing no longer has oversight of Grand Rapid child placing agencies.  Actually, no one has oversight as the pilot program of privatization has been launched.  The only way to file a complaint/grievance is through the state court because, remember, a corporation is a person, too, but soon with protected religious beliefs and the ability to dissolve at the drop of a hat to a for-profit.

Children under the auspices of the state (ie. foster care, residential institutions, juvenile justice, court child welfare cases) are not calculated in the national child poverty numbers.

This is God's economic model to reduce child poverty.


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America Must Stand Up To Cyberattacks

By Bob Goodlatte and John Conyers, Jr.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
As a steady flow of information about the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures has been revealed, we have watched with shock and increasing concern as American lives and our values have been threatened by a narcissistic dictator.

As the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, we don’t agree on every issue—but we are in complete agreement that our national response to this chilling threat must be clear and unequivocal, so that we continue to zealously protect our freedoms and principles, most notably the freedom of speech.

The F.B.I. has confirmed our suspicions that a group known as “The Guardians of Peace”—a front group for the North Korean government and its dictator, Kim Jong Un—hacked into Sony’s internal emails, released a trove of embarrassing and salacious communications, and divulged sensitive information about Sony employees because the North Korean government did not approve of its movie, The Interview.  On December 16, the hackers escalated their cyber-war by threatening physical harm to those who intended to see the movie itself, which led to Sony initially canceling the release of the movie.  However, Sony has now decided to release it to a limited number of theaters.

This is not the first time terrorist groups and foreign governments have used intimidation to attempt to destroy our freedoms and way of life. On the eve of World War II, the German government issued various threats to prevent Charlie Chaplin from directing and producing The Great Dictator, a thinly veiled satire of the antics and excesses of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.  Paramount Pictures ultimately released the movie to great popular and critical acclaim, both in the U.S. and abroad.

The 9/11 attacks were aimed at New York and Washington because the terrorists wanted to shut down our nation’s centers of finance and government. However, Americans stood unified and sent a clear and resolute signal that we would not be intimidated.  Our nation’s airports quickly reopened, as did Wall Street and the Pentagon, and Congress continued to represent the will of the American people without pause.

The cyber-attacks and terror threats associated with The Interview represent the latest twist on earlier efforts at intimidation - the combination of the threat of physical violence with the use of the modern tools of cyber warfare and social media. A tyrant who severely oppresses his own people has used technology to both infiltrate a company and threaten physical harm to Americans who choose to watch a film that doesn’t meet his approval.  Whether or not we like the plot, production, or tone of a creative product, each and every one of us has a stake in ensuring that our freedom of speech is not abridged by either our own government or by a foreign government.

The United States must stand firm against this type of aggressive attack on our freedom of speech. Otherwise these actions will have a chilling effect on the availability of information and creative works in the future and will embolden North Korea and other copycats to act again. We must not allow terrorists and foreign governments to dictate what Americans can or cannot say, watch, produce, or distribute.

Ultimately, this and other cyber-attacks point to the need for a robust national security apparatus, including strong cybersecurity, to protect Americans not just from bodily harm, but from threats aimed at restricting our freedoms.  Congress and the Administration should work to ensure that we have in place the appropriate sanctions against North Korea and that we are using all available tools to combat attacks like this. The more we can do to detect and intercept threats from our enemies, the more we will be able to protect our cherished liberties.

The threat to Americans who wish to see this film is not the last time that thugs and tyrants will seek to challenge our character and our creativity.  But we are united in our resolve to defend our freedoms against all threats, foreign and domestic.  In the past, we have stood together—ignoring the petty and partisan differences that too often divide us.  Again, we must stand together to send the strong message that the United States will never yield to those wishing to silence our freedoms.

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Saturday, December 20, 2014


John Conyers

DETROIT - Today, Congressman John Conyers Jr. (MI-13) and 76 Members of Congress sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, urging UN authorities to ensure that victims of the cholera epidemic in Haiti have access to a fair and impartial procedure for adjudication of their claims.
Scientific evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that the UN introduced cholera to Haiti in October 2010 through improper waste disposal on a base located on the banks of a tributary to the Artibonite River.  To date, more than 8,500 Haitians have died from the disease and over 700,000 people have been infected, becoming the largest single-country cholera epidemic in the world.
In July, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti and acknowledged the UN’s “moral responsibility” to respond, but no major actions have been taken with regard to the cholera crisis since that time.   
“Haiti’s cholera crisis has been a stain on the world’s conscience,” said Rep. Conyers.  “We are united in working to ensure that the United Nations upholds its obligations to provide a fair process to adjudicate claims by individuals harmed in the course of its operations.”
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John Conyers, Jr.
WASHINGTON – Today,  House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Chairman Bob Goodlatte ( R-Va.) released the following joint statement after the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that North Korea is responsible for the Sony cyber-attack:

“We are deeply concerned that our suspicions were confirmed today by the FBI that North Korea is behind the attack on Sony Pictures and the associated threats of physical harm against U.S. citizens.  We will not allow terrorists or a narcissistic dictator to dictate what products can or cannot be created and distributed in America.  Whether or not we like the plot, production, or tone of The Interview, every American has a stake in ensuring that our collective freedom of speech is not abridged by either our own government or a foreign government.

“The United States must stand firm against this type of aggression against our freedom of speech.  Otherwise, these actions will have a chilling effect on creative works in the future and will embolden North Korea and other copycats to act again to further curtail books, television and cable shows, newspapers, blogs, and web sites.  Our national response to this threat must be clear and unequivocal.  As the committee with jurisdiction over the Justice Department and FBI, we will continue to monitor this investigation and support efforts by the U.S. to thwart these intrusive attacks.”

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DETROIT – Today, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) issued the following statement after President Obama announced the release of an American prisoner, Alan Gross, from Cuba and that the United States will pursue diplomatic relations with the country:

John Conyers, Jr.
“President Obama has demonstrated real leadership in securing the release of American Alan Gross and initiating the reestablishment of normal diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba.  

“For more than half a century, our country’s policy of isolation toward Cuba has failed to promote democracy or prosperity for the Cuban people.  The policy has separated families, obstructed trade, and undermined US influence in the Western Hemisphere. 

“Today’s announcement from President Obama is a historic step in the right direction.  In moving toward normal diplomatic relations, empowering the Cuban people economically through greater access to remittances and exports, authorizing additional travel, and initiating other steps to reintegrate Cuba into the community of nations, President Obama is laying the groundwork for substantial economic development and progress on human rights.    

“This announcement is also good news for the US economy.  Cuba sits just 90 miles off our coast and has an economy of more than $68 billion.  Yet, up to this point, American firms have been forced to cede business to foreign competitors.  Of particular interest to my hometown of Detroit, the people of Cuba—who must famously rely on American cars made before 1959—may soon be able to buy American cars and automotive parts once again. 
“As a longtime advocate of normalized relations with Cuba, I look forward to working with President Obama to fully implement the policy initiatives announced today.  I commend the President for heeding the wise advice of Pope Francis and other human rights leaders in making today’s compassionate, commonsense decision.  After more than 50 years of failed policy, it’s time that we changed course.”
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John Conyers Jr.: How Congress can address our racial outrage

 By John Conyers, Jr.

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.

Nearly 50 years ago, the Kerner Commission, which was created in the aftermath of the country’s 1967 riots, warned that “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.”  And now, six years after the election of our first African American president, we still find ourselves riven by racial distrust and fear. The string of deaths of unarmed blacks by police officers in Cleveland, Phoenix, New York and Ferguson, Mo., challenge not only the strength of our criminal and social justice systems but also the credibility and legitimacy of our political system.

In 1965, when I came to Congress, I joined a legislative body that was still able to work together at times of national crisis. The first major bill I voted on, the Voting Rights Act, was a response to widespread outrage over the police reaction to the “Bloody Sunday” protests, including the beatings in Selma, Ala. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-Mont.) and his Republican counterpart, Everett Dirksen (Ill.), introduced the bill, and the final legislation enjoyed more support from Republican than Democratic members, an almost unthinkable dynamic today.

Even after the divisive impact of the so-called “Gingrich Revolution” when Congress was truly tested, we were able to rise to the occasion. In 1996, in the midst of a wave of arsons targeting African American houses of worship, then-Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde, a stalwart Republican from Illinois, asked me to work with him on a legislative response. We disagreed on most of the major social issues of the day, from abortion to affirmative action. However, during this crisis we found a way to introduce and pass the Church Arson Prevention Act, which not only gave law enforcement needed prosecutorial tools but also sent a loud and clear signal to the minority community that Congress was willing and able to act.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014


WASHINGTON -  Today, Rep. John Conyers, Jr.  (MI-13) issued the following the statement concerning the City of Detroit emerging from bankruptcy:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“I believe all stakeholders – citizens, elected officials, organized labor, clergy, and the private sector – need to continue to work collaboratively to help Detroit grow and prosper in the 21st Century.  We know that Detroit’s potential is unlimited, and I look forward to working every day to improve our great City.

“It is disturbing that the bankruptcy court established a very dangerous precedent last year by holding that pensions and retiree benefits can be diminished in bankruptcy, notwithstanding the clear statement in the Michigan constitution.  We should not subvert the very principle that made Detroit great – respect for workers’ rights.  Putting the pensions of our police officers, firefighters, and other municipal workers on the chopping block repudiated not only the State law, but our City’s working class history and heritage.  Although in the end a compromise was achieved to resolve this case, I fear that the precedent could be used in other cases to the disadvantage of hard working public employees.  That is why I have introduced legislation, the “Protecting Employees and Retirees in Municipal Bankruptcies Act of 2014” (H.R. 5133), to respond to this problem.

“With the resignation of emergency manager Kevin Orr, Detroit will be returning day-to-day control to its duly elected leaders, although subject to continued state oversight.  Non-elected emergency managers should not run Detroit, nor any other city or political subdivision as it is anti-democratic and inconsistent with our principles as a city, state, nation.

“Now that the City has emerged from bankruptcy, Congress and the Judiciary Committee should hold hearings concerning the largest municipal bankruptcy in history and consider the ramifications for other financially troubled cities in the future.”
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WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement in advance of the vote on the temporary government funding spending bill – also known as the “CRomnibus” - a combined Continuing Resolution and Omnibus spending package:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“America urgently needs investments in job-creation, rising wages, infrastructure upgrades, education, healthcare, and environmental protection.  Sadly, the government funding bill—known as the ‘CRomnibus’ —disinvests from these priorities while rolling back essential financial protections, weakening campaign finance laws, and flouting the will of voters. If this bill stands as it is now, I have no alternative but to oppose it.  

“The ‘CRomnibus’ includes a provision that allows Wall Street banks to engage in some of the same high-risk conduct that caused the 2008 financial crisis.  The Republicans’ refusal, under the bill, to fund the Department of Homeland Security will set the stage for another government shutdown while undermining the President’s efforts to set priorities for immigration enforcement.  Another last-minute provision added by the GOP would intensify the corrupting influence of big money in politics by increasing tenfold the limit on an individual’s maximum contribution to a national political party. 

“The ‘CRomnibus’ is about enriching Wall Street cronies, not prudently funding the government.  It is simply unbelievable that six years after taxpayers were forced to bailout Wall Street, this measure makes F.D.I.C. bailouts automatic.

“If Congressional Republicans wish to pass legislation to undo financial reform and flood politics with big money, they should have the courage to debate these measures in the light of day.  Instead, they have opted to surreptitiously insert them in the annual spending bill just as the nation approaches a government shutdown deadline.  I urge my colleagues to defeat the ‘CRomnibus’ and pass a funding measure that upholds Americans’ real priorities and respects the democratic process.”  
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WASHINGTON - Today, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a redacted summary of its 6,000-page report on the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency.  The report concludes that the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques in the years following the attacks of September 11, 2001 did not effectively assist the agency in acquiring intelligence or in gaining cooperation from detainees.  The report also shows that the CIA worked to undermine oversight of its Detention and Interrogation Program, actively misleading the Congress, the Department of Justice, and the White House.  In reaction to the report, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) released the following joint statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“We are outraged by the actions described in this report.  In the name of the United States, the CIA directed the torture of detainees in our custody, twisted the law to justify its torture program, and engaged in a prolonged campaign to frustrate congressional oversight and accountability of any sort. 

“This report clears up any remaining ambiguity about the differences between torture and so-called ‘enhanced interrogation.’  As federal law defines the term, and as the Office of Legal Counsel within the Department of Justice have interpreted that statute since January 22, 2009, the CIA engaged in ‘torture.’

“Torture is ineffective.  Torture does not yield actionable intelligence.  Torture is a crime under federal law and international convention.  Torture is an affront to American values that date back to George Washington’s command of the Continental Army.  Torture is wrong.  In their zeal to protect the country, the officials responsible for the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program betrayed the principles at our country’s core.

“There has already been some suggestion that it is wrong to release this report at this time, given our exposure in the world.  There will never be a convenient moment for the government to confront the sins of its past.  We are fortunate, indeed, to be citizens of a democracy that is able and willing to engage in the hard work of acknowledging these actions, and to take the steps necessary to ensure that it never happens again.

“But let us be clear: if there is backlash over this report, at home or overseas, the fault lies, not with the decision to discuss torture, but with the decision to torture in the first place.

“Because this report outlines government policy that violates both criminal law and constitutional values, we urge Chairman Goodlatte to hold hearings in the Judiciary Committee on the CIA’s torture program as soon as the new Congress convenes.  These hearings should be held in public, to the extent possible.  An open discussion of these policies is long past due.

“We continue to be reflect on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who in 1963 reminded us:

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.”
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Saturday, December 6, 2014


WASHINGTON – Today, during debate on the House Floor of H.R. 5759, an anti-immigrant and symbolic bill proposed by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. urged his colleagues to vote against the measure.  Rep. Conyers delivered the following remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

“Mr. Speaker, in one week, the 113th Congress will come to a close without the House having considered a single piece of legislation to fix our Nation's broken immigration system.  It has been 525 days since the Senate passed bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would have made meaningful and long overdue reforms.  But this chamber still has steadfastly refused to allow an up or down vote on that measure.

“There is absolutely no question that our immigration system is broken.  It is failing our businesses, our economy, and, most importantly, millions of families.  Yet, rather than deal with these critical issues, we are here today to vote on yet another symbolic, anti-immigrant measure that has absolutely no chance of being considered in the Senate. 
“I want to be clear; H.R. 5759 is a politically motivated and hastily drafted attempt to once again attack the President, as well as the immigrant families who contribute to our communities and our economy.  I say this for several reasons. 

“First, by blocking the protections offered by the President's actions, this legislation would deprive nearly 5 million immigrants and their families of the hope that they might finally live without the constant fear of separation and deportation.  It would undermine the Administration's efforts to devote greater resources towards securing our borders and deporting felons not families.  And, this would mean that millions of undocumented immigrants will not be asked to pass national security and criminal background checks and pay their fair share of taxes in order to register for temporary protection from deportation.   

“Second, this legislation ignores the well-established legal principle that the Executive Branch must have the authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion to determine how best to use limited immigration enforcement resources.  

“In fact, every President -- for more than half a century, both Democratic and Republican -- has taken executive action on immigration.  For instance, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush established the Family Fairness Program, which was estimated to protect in excess of 1 million undocumented immigrants.  Yet their actions generated little opposition and, in fact, were substantively codified by Congress within a matter of months. 

“In stark contrast, H.R. 5759 falsely claims that President Obama's assertion of that same authority is unlawful.

“The constitutionality of President Obama's executive order is recognized by both liberal and conservative legal experts.  In a letter written last month, 11 prominent legal scholars explained that the President's actions ‘are within the power of the Executive Branch and that they represent a lawful exercise of the President's authority.’

“This letter was signed by such recognized constitutional authorities as Walter Dellinger, who led the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel from 1993-1996, and David Strauss, who formerly worked in the Office of Legal Counsel and the Solicitor General's office.  It was also signed by liberal professors like Laurence Tribe and conservative professors like Eric Posner.  And five days later, 135 immigration law professors echoed that conclusion and provided substantial constitutional, statutory, and regulatory authority for these actions. 

“Third, H.R. 5759 goes well beyond preventing the President from expanding deferred action for childhood arrivals or creating a program to protect the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents from deportation.  It would not only prevent this President- but any future President-- from protecting discrete categories of individuals facing unique dangers and challenges.  This means that no future administration will be able to:

·         Parole-in-place the undocumented parents, spouses, and children of military personnel and veterans;

·         Facilitate enlistment in our Armed Forces by U.S. citizens who have undocumented family members;
·         Grant deferred action to victims of crime or serious forms of human trafficking; or grant deferred action and employment authorization to victims of domestic violence and their children seeking visas pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act.

“It is for these reasons that this legislation is opposed by numerous organizations that care about making our immigration system work and protecting the most vulnerable among us.  This includes the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; the AFL-CIO; The Service Workers International Union, and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women.

“I urge my colleagues to oppose this dangerous, anti-immigrant measure and I reserve the balance of my time.”

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The Congressman Urges Michigan Businesses To Learn More

DETROIT- The U.S. Department of Labor has granted the state of Michigan $2,840,535 in federal funding to support implementation and promotion of the new short-time compensation (STC) program.

The STC program, commonly known as "work-sharing," prevents layoffs by allowing employers to reduce employees’ hours as an alternative to layoffs during an economic downturn.  Under the STC program, workers affected by reduced hours have their wages supplemented by a percentage of the weekly unemployment compensation that they would have received had they been laid off.  The program gives businesses the crucial ability to retain skilled employees at reduced hours during tough economic times, allowing them to simply restore employee hours when demand improves which significantly reduces the high cost to employers of conducting layoffs and re-hiring.

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“As an early supporter of work-sharing here in the United States, I am very pleased that Michigan has received federal resources to bolster this important program,” said Rep. John Conyers, who is a founder and chair of the Congressional Full Employment Caucus.  “Work-sharing is win for all invested parties: workers remain employed and get to keep their health and retirement benefits, while employers can retain skilled workers that are integral to the success of their businesses. Entire communities benefit when lives are not disrupted unnecessarily by the scourge of unemployment.”

The federal funding resources were made available through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which included language taken directly from the Layoff Prevention Act (H.R. 2421) that was co-sponsored by Rep. Conyers and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) in July 2011.

States have until the end of this year to apply for federal resources to implement the STC program.  To address this looming deadline, Reps. Conyers and DeLauro again joined forces to co-sponsor H.R. 5583, the Layoff Prevention Extension Act of 2014, which will give states an additional year to make their STC programs eligible for federal support.  Both members plan to reintroduce the Layoff Prevention Extension Act in the 114th Congress.

Several U.S. states and countries with STC programs have seen significant economic results.  In Rhode Island, work-sharing prevented more than 13,000 layoffs between 2007 and 2010 – the height of the Great Recession.  Countries such as Germany and Japan have reduced levels of unemployment by as much as 1% through work-sharing programs.

“Short-time compensation is something that all states should have an opportunity to have in place long before any future economic downturns occur,” added Rep. Conyers.  “It is critical that Congress pass the Layoff Prevention Extension Act immediately to ensure that all states have adequate time to complete their state-level deliberation and decision-making processes and ultimately reap the benefits of work-sharing.”

Visit the Department of Labor’s website for more information on Short-Time Compensation.
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Monday, December 1, 2014


WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5421, the Financial Institution Bankruptcy Act of 2014 (FIBA), by a voice vote.  FIBA is the product of the Judiciary Committee’s multi-year examination of the ability of the bankruptcy laws to resolve a failing financial institution.

FIBA incorporates the recommendations of hearing witnesses, regulators and other experts in addition to the record of three Committee hearings on the Bankruptcy Code. Specifically, the bill adds a new subchapter to Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code that improves the bankruptcy process for financial firms of varying sizes, including large, multinational firms whose resolution could have far-reaching implications for domestic and global economies.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Regulatory Reform Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) praised the House passage of FIBA:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“As leaders of the Judiciary Committee with oversight of our nation’s bankruptcy laws, we have worked across the aisle to answer the question of how to improve the existing bankruptcy process for the resolution of failing financial institutions.  Our answer is FIBA.
FIBA removes potential obstacles to an efficient bankruptcy of a financial institution.  This legislation enhances the Bankruptcy Code and its ability to resolve financial firms for the benefit of stability in the U.S. and global economies and does so with minimal financial burdens or cost.  We applaud the House’s passage of FIBA as an important first step towards enactment into law.”

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