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Thu March 29, 2012
Political Roundup: Republican agenda moving forward?
Every Thursday we speak with political analysts Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas to get a better understanding of what's happening in state politics.
Last week we focused on Detroit's financial situation. This week it's all about what's going on in Lansing.
The repeal of the helmet law is on Gov. Snyder’s desk. Republican lawmakers recently created a measure that allowed Oakland County to redraw district lines, it was challenged in court, but the Republican Majority Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Republican lawmakers.
So, it this politics as usual? Susan says "It's certainly has had a political tinge to it that I think perhaps we might have expected from a Republican-led legislature." Demas adds, "There hasn't been a lot of day light between Gov. Snyder and the legislature. One exception is on domestic partner benefits for universities, but that's one of the rare few."
Sikkema agrees, "The governor has pretty much stuck with his Republican colleagues and hasn't had much controversy."
Okay, so right now Republicans can do pretty much whatever they want, right? Demas says, "I would say taking up legislation like the Oakland County redistricting bill, which is clearly a very partisan issue - that is something you can do when you control all three legs of the stool, the House, the Senate and governor’s office. But that doesn’t’ mean that that makes for good policy, and you know in that instance it’s kind of hard to find many people who are going to defend the policy itself."
Is there a "third rail" issue for Gov. Snyder? Sikkema isn't convinced, although he says the helmet law repeal has been interesting. "This is something he's [Snyder] wanted to put off and not deal with, and yet the legislature has finally said 'look we've been waiting long enough,' and I think that's going to present an interesting situation for him. So no I don't really think there's anything that causes an irreparable divide between the governor and his legislative colleagues," explains Sikkema.
In the interview Susan says, "I do think that if the legislature tries to meddle with embryonic stem cell research and our universities, which are constitutionally autonomous, that you will see a conflict."
Any legislation we should keep an eye on? Sikkema says, "It’s really primarily about getting a budget done, and the legislature has the benefit of having some increased revenue, unemployment rate has dropped again in Michigan, they are getting increased revenue so it ought to be smooth sailing."
Ken Sikkema is former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas is Political Analyst with Michigan Information and Research Service.
--Mercedes Mejia, Michigan Radio News