Early this morning, Michigan’s 2014 legislative session concluded dramatically. The state legislature will be sending a proposal to Governor Rick Snyder for a one-cent increase in the Michigan sales tax. The additional revenue would generate about $1.2-billion a year for road and bridge repair. Michigan voters will decide whether to implement the measure, possibly next May.
One of the hot button issues of this year’s lame duck session was the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill. The bill would exempt people from state and local laws if they can prove those laws violate deeply held religious beliefs. Opponents of the legislation say it amounts to a “license to discriminate”, and they are worried about its implications after a companion bill that would have expanded LGBT protections died in committee.
The Michigan legislature is in the middle of an eventful lame duck session. Efforts are in high gear to hammer out a road and bridge funding measure before the session wraps next Thursday, but many other important issues are also being debated.
How many times have you heard the words “lame duck” in the last few weeks? You have a little while longer to be tired of the term. The Michigan Legislature’s lame duck session lasts for just over two more weeks.
The 2014 election is in the rear view mirror, but its effects will certainly echo for years to come. After the last ballot was cast, some 600 Michigan voters were asked for their opinion on a number of statewide issues.
A mid-term election with a challenging post-mortem for state Democrats, a highly anticipated lame duck legislative session, and a new direction for Detroit and many of Michigan’s undocumented immigrants. All of those developments made news in November here in Michigan.
Sunday, November 30 - 12:30pm WKAR-HD | This week senior capitol correspondent Tim Skubick welcomes the senior U.S. Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin. WATCH IT HERE NOW
This week senior capitol correspondent Tim Skubick welcomes the senior U.S. Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin. On the eve of his retirement, Sen. Levin discusses what sparked his interest in politics, lessons learned from nearly four decades in the Senate, his post-Senate plans and much, much more.
Eaton County voters have chosen a different state Representative in four straight elections. Rick Jones won his last House term in 2008; fellow Republican Deb Shaughnessy won in 2010; she lost her re-election bid in 2012 to Democrat Theresa Abed; and a few weeks ago, Abed lost her shot at another term to Republican Tom Barrett of Potterville.
The Michigan legislative session beginning in January will include new leadership in the Senate and the House for both parties. Republican Arlan Meekhof will succeed Randy Richardville as Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader.
Discussions continue at the State Capitol over whether to expand protections offered by Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen anti-discrimination law. That’s the landmark 1976 measure which legally bans discrimination in the state based on religion, race, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial and marital status. Several factions have emerged. Democrats and some Republicans appear to be united behind an expansion that would protect lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender persons. Other Republicans favor a measure that would not include trans persons, but include the others.
Tuesday evening, Lansing and East Lansing residents learned who their next U.S. Congressman would be. Former Republican State Senator Mike Bishop will become part of a GOP majority Congress in January.
With some exceptions, Michigan Republicans have reason to celebrate the 2014 mid-term election. Several major statewide offices, as polls ususally suggested, went to GOP incumbents including Governor Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. But Democrats are celebrating the election of Congressman Gary Peters to the U.S. Senate and a victory on Michigan’s conservative leaning Supreme Court.
The end of the month is here. Many of us in the media put Michigan’s mid-term election front and center during October. In four days, voters will finally decide who will be Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State as well as who will succeed Michigan’s Carl Levin in the U.S. Senate and dozens of elected representatives at the state capitol.
Five days before a mid-term election, the media is full of political news involving candidates, Democratic and Republican. In reality of course, the political landscape is more diverse. On Tuesday, Michigan voters will, for example, face at least five choices for Governor, including little known candidates from the Libertarian, Green and U.S. Taxpayers parties.
Next Tuesday, Ingham county voters will help determine who will represent them in the U.S. Congress. Today and tomorrow, Current State visits with both of the major party candidates. Many observers favor Republican Mike Bishop to win in the 8th district, which comprises Ingham, Livingston and northern Oakland counties.
In eleven days, Michigan voters will decide who will hold a handful of statewide offices, one of them, Attorney General. The race pits incumbent Republican Bill Schuette against Democratic challenger Mark Totten, who was a guest on Current State last week.
Election Day is now just two weeks off. Democrats and Republicans in Michigan and across the country are rallying their bases in a final push to get out the vote. Some voters, though, lean towards other political persuasions. There are a handful of smaller parties out there, like the Green Party and the Libertarians. One such party is blowing the dust off an old 19th century name and re-booting for a 21st century world.
Much of the interest in next month’s mid-term election involves our national politics. There’s interest in whether the GOP will regain a majority in the U.S. Senate and in the hundreds of millions of dollars of outside spending across the country, often by anonymous groups. It may be good to remember the dictum often attributed to former Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O’Neill: "All politics is local." So, do voters pay enough attention to local issues? How important are local and regional matters?
"Monday Morning Quarterbacking" around the state involves more than football today. Michigan’s main Gubernatorial candidates squared off in a town hall style debate last night. Republican incumbent Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer appeared before a TV studio audience of undecided voters in Detroit. Viewers in mid-Michigan saw the town hall on WKAR-TV.
Tonight, candidates for three state House and two state Senate districts will meet in Lansing for a candidates’ forum. These public events are fairly routine in the weeks leading up to a big election, but this one puts a twist on the usual format. Current State’s Kevin Lavery reports that the candidates who’ll face this group of questioners will not be getting their vote on November 4. This forum will be run by middle and high school students from grades 7 through 12.
Where in Michigan is Terri Lynn Land? With the November election fast approaching for Michigan’s first open Senate seat in 20 years, many are wondering where the GOP candidate has been. She’s taken heat for not publicizing her campaign schedule, for avoiding the media, and for refusing to debate her Democratic challenger, Congressman Gary Peters.