Michigan lawmakers denounce hate groups, make 'civility compact' after Charlottesville

 

The Michigan Senate on Wednesday adopted a "civility compact," in which lawmakers promised to unite against hate. The House is expected to follow suit next week.  

"Michigan is a welcoming state and no one should have to live in fear of hate, bigotry and extremism," said Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage, the lead sponsor of the resolution in the Senate.   

"We, the Legislature, must lead by example in uniting against those who spread hate, and we must not allow hate speech or actions to poison our society. It's important that we have a debate on the issues facing our state and nation while also respecting each other as people." 

The compact, Senate Resolution 84, comes after one person was killed during a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia last month.  

It declares Sept. 6, 2017 as Michigan Legislators Compact Day. Lawmakers are to set an example for the rest of the state by resolving "to denounce all forms of hate, bigotry and extremism," according to the wording of the resolution. 

Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, plans to introduce a similar resolution in the House of Representatives next week.  

He represents a predominately African American community, and is himself part of the gay and Jewish communities. All have felt rhetoric directed at them, particularly around the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville.  

 "This hateful rhetoric upsets people across the aisle and across the country," said Moss.  

He and O'Brien worked together on the compact.  

Also on Wednesday, the Senate passed Senate Resolution 82, which denounced hate groups like white nationalists and neo-Nazis.  

It was introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, who said it was a sad statement that the body had to denounce hate groups in 2017.  

"What I say all the time is I wish we didn't have to do common sense things in this body, but there just isn't enough common sense around here," Hertel said. 

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