Many Lawmakers Disinterested in Part-Time Legislature

Jun 1, 2017

Lawmakers show a bipartisan lack of enthusiasm toward part-time legislature. 

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is getting pushback for his big announcement earlier this week. Calley says he’ll push for a ballot proposal that would make Michigan’s legislature part-time.

Calley and other advocates say it’ll help clean up Michigan’s government. They argue it would cut down on taxpayer expenses and lawmakers should have to live and work at home under the laws they pass.

But even term-limited lawmakers, with no dog in the fight are arguing against the proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof is on the tail end of his term. He’s concerned it would increase the governor’s power and weaken the legislature.

 

“I think people understand that there are three legs and they work together,” he said. “And lessening the people’s voice is probably not a good idea.”

Meekhof has spoken out against term limits in the past. He said if combined with a part-time legislature, Lansing would be full of inexperienced legislators.  

“Are we spending the taxpayer monies the most efficient way possible? That takes experience,” he said. “And there’s not a whole lot of other jobs where you actually want to look for the least amount of experience.”

Meekhof said if there is a move to a part-time legislature, he would recommend getting rid of limits.

Lawmakers on the other side of the aisle are also skeptical.

Minority House Leader Sam Singh says he’s open to a thoughtful discussion about revamping the legislature. But he sees Calley’s announcement as political posturing as he considers a run for governor.

Singh said, “Very clear to me that with his poll numbers and the governor’s poll numbers so low, that he really had to resort to a gimmick to try to regain some recognition in the state.”