Compromise on reorganization order could come soon

LANSING, MI – State House Democrats want to avoid a confrontation with Governor Granholm on her plan to take over naming the director of the state Department of Agriculture. The appointment is currently made by the independent Michigan Agricultural Commission.

The current system is popular with farmers who think it ensures agriculture policy is set by someone who understands their needs.

The Republican-led state Senate has voted to reject the governor's plan, and farming leaders are pressuring the state House to do the same.

"On an anger level of one to 10 - 10. (laughs) They're not happy about it at all," says Representative Mike Huckleberry.

Huckleberry is one of the lawmakers trying to broker a compromise and avoid a floor fight that would pit many Democrats against the governor.

"We understand her thinking - a little more accountability to the CEO, but this has worked and we want the people involved in farming to be involved," Huckleberry says.

One possible compromise would let the governor name the Agriculture Department director, but the choice would have to be ratified by the agriculture commission.