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For big ticket issues in state legislature, "there's just not enough time"

Dec 1, 2015

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

As of today, our state legislators have nine session days left before heading home for the holidays on December 17.

So it’s a good time to review who’s been most effective in getting bills passed and what we might see come out of the final few sessions before we bid farewell to 2015.

When we think of the main issues before our legislators in these final few days, it’s not hard to imagine Governor Snyder would like to move forward on his plans to deal with Detroit Public Schools debt.

But according to Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau reporter Kathy Gray, it doesn’t look like the governor will get his wish.

“I just ended up talking with Sen. Geoff Hansen, who’s kind of leading the charge in the Senate, and he said that there’s not going to be action taken this year,” she says.

She tells us that bills regarding DPS may be introduced within the next couple of weeks, but with only three weeks until the holiday break, “there’s just not enough time to finish it up.”

Energy reform is another big ticket issue making its way through the legislature, but Gray says that won’t get finished before the holiday break either. She tells us the House will likely vote on the package of bills before year’s end, but it won’t have enough time to get through the Senate.

In her piece for the Free Press, Gray notes that 2015 has seen 202 bills passed and signed into law, adding that that number will rise slightly before the year is out.

She tells us that State Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, is responsible for more of those than anyone else in the legislature, having introduced 51 bills and getting 14 passed.

Most successful on the democratic side, according to Gray, is Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit. She says Santana has a good working relationship with House Republicans, which has “worked towards his benefit in getting bills passed, but it has certainly put him at odds with his Democratic caucus.”

Of the more than 200 bills  passed in Michigan this year, Gray says fewer than 25 were sponsored by Democrats.