The 10 Worst GOP Governors: What Horrors Did They Unleash in 2012?
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5. Rick Perry, Texas
Everyone knows where Rick Perry was for most of the last year, right? Failing in his attempt to capture the GOP presidential nomination. At least he provided us with some much-needed comic relief.
But a few things he got up to– when he wasn't making headlines with ridiculous statements – flew somewhat under the national media's radar.
While Virginia, and the pro-choice movement, exploded in outrage over a law that would have required women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before they could get an abortion, Texas' similar law, passed months earlier attracted almost no national attention.
That wasn't enough for Perry, though—he had to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood from the state's Medicaid Women's Health program. In response, his Facebook page was inundated with women asking Governor “Goodhair” for the medical advice they would no longer be able to receive at Planned Parenthood.
Not satisfied with cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, Perry demanded 10 percent budget cuts from state agencies—even though tax revenues are up $1.6 billion because of high energy prices and some economic improvement.
Last year, Perry slashed $4 billion from schools, and protests against continued education cuts are ongoing. A Texas schoolteacher told AlterNet that after budget cuts, more kids are being squeezed into classrooms: “Pre-K is up to 26 now that they can have in a classroom, it went up from 22. It's a different ratio for different grade levels. It's 30-something for high school, it's approaching 30 at the elementary level, which is ridiculous. It's ridiculous to be expected to teach that many little people.”
4. John Kasich, Ohio
Governor Kasich took a big hit when voters decisively overturned his signature piece of legislation, an anti-public-union bill even nastier than Scott Walker's, by 313,000 more votes than the governor himself had gotten the year before. And now there are investigations underway into whether he's misused his power to consolidate control over his state's Republican party.
But what else has Kasich been up to?
He also backed down on a contentious voter suppression law that would have narrowed early voting and made it harder for voters to get absentee ballots, signing a repeal of the law in an attempt to prevent it becoming a ballot measure that could drive progressive voters in November.
But Kasich's managed to sign several restrictive anti-abortion laws, including one that would ban abortion coverage by state healthcare plans that Obama's healthcare reform law requires. The insurance plans don't exist yet, but it was apparently very important to make sure they don't cover abortion—and the ACLU calls the move unconstitutional. Kasich also, last summer, signed a late-term abortion ban into law.
And he's looking forward to a new law that would allow fracking in Ohio—one that might be the nation's worst. EcoWatch said of the law, “SB 315 will allow health and safety loopholes. It requires the gas industry to pay less than almost any other state in the country, exposing our communities to the worst excesses of the fracking industry. Doctors will be prevented from talking openly about the sickness they see in their patients, and the gas industry will keep profits flowing out of our communities.”
3. Rick Snyder, Michigan
Rick Snyder may be facing his own recall election—or at least, a group of determined voters who'd like to challenge the Michigan governor. Perhaps that's why he's allowed a tiny increase in the state's education budget this year. But there's a catch: those budget increases are tied to performance.
Snyder is best known for his state's “emergency manager” law, which grants him the power to appoint a manager over towns he deems in need of an overhaul. Revamped under Snyder, the law gives the managers unilateral authority to fire officials, close schools, void union contracts (an apparent violation of the Constitution's Contracts Clause), and hand schools over to private charter companies.