lame duck

user Tqycolumbia / Wikimedia Commons

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss a long-awaited plan to fix Michigan’s roads, job cuts to one of the state’s largest agencies, and some holiday cheer from Rep. John Dingell.

Roads deal

After weeks of hemming and hawing over how to fix the state’s roads, Michigan lawmakers have OK'd plans for a sales tax hike.

There’s just one catch.

The state Legislature decided to give Michigan voters the final call on the 1% increase in a special election this May.

Lessenberry said he can see why the state’s politicians like the plan, but he’s got one question.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A proposed tax hike aimed at improving Michigan's transportation infrastructure and schools is heading to voters.

  The Michigan Legislature has put a sales tax increase on the May statewide ballot as part of a road funding plan.

user Kcdtsg / wikimedia commons

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the final days of lame duck, including the hold up on a plan to fix the roads, a pair of Senate-approved abortion coercion bills, and a bill that would impact online purchases made in Michigan.


Inside the Michigan Senate.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Republican-led Michigan Senate has voted to make it a crime to coerce a woman to have an abortion against her will.

The legislation would prohibit stalking or assaulting a pregnant woman or anyone else with the intent to force an abortion against her wishes. After learning that a woman does not want an abortion, a person also could not threaten to cut off legally required financial support or withdraw from a contract with her.

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

The state Senate has approved legislation that would require internet retailers such as Amazon.com to collect a six-percent tax on all sales to people in Michigan.

Supporters say it is unfair to businesses that choose to open brick-and-mortar locations in Michigan that people can avoid paying the tax by shopping online.

State Senator Randy Richardville
Photo courtesy of www.senate.michigan.gov

The state Legislature is taking steps to hammer out a road funding compromise in the final days of its 2014 session.

The House and Senate passed plans that are drastically different. The Senate approved legislation that would essentially double the state’s gas tax to pay for road improvements. The House plan would divert revenues from schools and local governments and would not raise any taxes.

Michigan Legislature
Matthileo / Flickr

Each Thursday, we talk Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

This week we talked about the bills heading to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk this lame-duck session and whether he'll sign them.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

School officials are worried about the Legislature’s latest plan to help financially troubled school districts.

The state House Financial Liability Reform committee is expected to take up seven bills on Thursday that would create an early warning system to identify financially troubled schools. The bills would require enhanced deficit elimination plans and increase the cap on emergency loans to school districts.

via gophouse.org

A new House bill would prevent local governments from setting their own minimum wage laws, putting other additional conditions on employers, or attaching community benefits agreements to development projects.

State Representative Earl Poleski, a Jackson Republican, is the bill’s sponsor. He says it aims to combat the “fragmentation” that results from letting municipalities set their own standards.  

“Those different rules make it complex—and when I say complex, read ‘expensive’—to comply, and frankly impairs businesses abilities to expand and hire people,” Poleski says.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Yesterday the choice of whether to add LGBT rights to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was stalled in the House Commerce Committee, and it looks like it will likely stay there.

Pothole in a road.
Wikimedia Commons

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss a plan to help Michigan roads by cutting truck weight limits, whether any road fix plans will survive the lame duck session, and a possible end to federal oversight of the state’s foster care system.


net_efekt / Flickr

Michigan lawmakers are back this week, after a two-week break. And Governor Snyder is pushing hard for a deal to boost road funding as the Legislature's "lame duck" session winds down. 

Gov. Snyder took his case on the road today, with stops in southeast Michigan to highlight the need for better roads.

One bill would effectively double the state’s gasoline tax to raise up to $1.5 billion a year for roads.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss what to expect from the Legislature’s lame duck session, repercussions from Ferguson, and a fund to help Detroit pensioners.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers are acting quickly on legislation to legalize riding-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

The app-based taxi-like service links people who need a ride with willing motorists.

The services appear to be in violation of state law. Some cities, like Ann Arbor, have tried to prevent them from operating. Others, like Lansing, have been more welcoming.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

State lawmakers will be back in Lansing tomorrow, beginning their lame-duck legislative session.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta from It's Just Politics join us on Stateside to discuss their list of lame-duck issues.

Here are five issues they believe might come up:

1. Roads: Governor Snyder wants more money to fix the roads, but the Legislature has not been able to agree. 

2. Adding protections for gay or lesbian individuals to the state's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act: Debates over inclusion of transgendered individuals or religious faith opt-outs may complicate the decision making process. 

3. Education: Education issues like teacher evaluations, third grade reading standards, and changes to how Detroit school board members are designated are all on the docket for the lame-duck legislative session.

4. No-fault auto insurance: Republicans have been trying to end unlimited medical coverage for accident victims, according to Rick Pluta.

5. Allocation of electoral college votes: Michigan is a winner-take-all system, meaning that whichever candidate for president gets the most votes, they win all of the state's 16 electoral college votes. There is a push by some Republicans to have the votes be allocated by congressional districts instead.

*You can listen to the full segment above. 

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Michigan’s anti-gay marriage law being upheld, the Detroit bankruptcy trial ruling, and what to expect during this term’s lame-duck session.


Flag at half-staff near the Capitol in Lansing.
Matt Katzenberger / Flickr

Michigan voters re-elected Republican Governor Rick Snyder for another term in office. Democrat Gary Peters also won his bid for U.S. Senate beating out Republican Terri Lynn Land.

Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, joined me to talk about Michigan's election results. Here's our conversation:

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

Six weeks from today, we'll be going through November's election results. Michigan will have a new U.S. Senator and voters will have either given Gov. Rick Snyder another term or elected Democrat Mark Schauer to take over the job.

Six weeks from today will also mean the beginning of the state's lame duck legislative session. Lame duck – the period of time time after the November election but before a new year, begins with many new lawmakers. 

The last lame duck session of the Michigan Legislature brought the passage of Right to Work. What are we going to see this year?

Rick Pluta is bureau chief of the Michigan Public Radio Network and co-host of Michigan Radio's "It's Just Politics." He says there are suspicions that something will come out of the blue. 

Ifmuth / Flickr

This week and review Michigan Radio’s Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss proposed bills to end lame duck sessions and make it easier to file freedom of information act requests. They also chat about the controversial right to work Pure Michigan ad that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Ad claims "right to work" is Pure Michigan

"Michigan’s Economic Development Corporation will continue to use the Pure Michigan brand to promote business growth, including the fact that Michigan is now a so-called right to work state. The MEDC faced criticism for buying a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal this week touting the state's new right-to-work law as "Pure Michigan." It cost $144,000," Lindsey Smith reports.

Flint public safety administrator resigns

"Barnett Jones was Ann Arbor’s police chief before being picked to oversee Flint’s police and fire departments last April. But Jones has also been working as the head of security for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department since May. When news media outlets raised questions this week about Jones’ ability to do both jobs, Jones submitted his resignation in Flint," Steve Carmody reports.

Democrats want to ban "lame duck" sessions

"Some Democratic state lawmakers want to end so-called “lame duck” sessions. If lawmakers pass the measure and voters approve it, the Legislature would be barred from meeting between November elections and the end of December on even-numbered years," Jake Neher reports.

Ifmuth / Flickr

One day into their new session, state lawmakers already have an influx of bills to consider.

One resolution in the state Senate seeks to effectively end so-called “lame duck” sessions. On even-numbered years, Lawmakers would be barred from holding regular sessions between November elections and the end of the year.  

Democratic state Senator Glenn Anderson said lawmakers would only be able to act if there’s an emergency.

Jake Neher / MPRN

More than 200 people showed up at the state Capitol Wednesday to protest on the first day of the new legislative session.

The union-backed group criticized state lawmakers for making Michigan a “right-to-work” state, and quickly passing a number of other contentious bills during their “lame duck” session.     

Kim Dennison is a unionized nurse in Lansing.

“It’s important that legislators know that we did recognize what they did in December as a wrong move, and that we haven’t gone away, and that we expect better from them in the coming year,” Dennison said.

Calling their protest a “walk of shame,” demonstrators lined walkways leading to entrances to the Capitol. They booed Republicans and cheered Democrats as they entered the building.

The protests were organized by the same group behind the “right to work” protests last month that drew thousands of people.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley
Brian Calley / Facebook.com

It will soon be illegal in Michigan to discover a dead body and not report it.

It’s one of more than 50 bills signed this week by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

Failing to report a corpse will be a misdemeanor, which can come with up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. It will be a felony to fail to report the body if the intention is to hide the death or its cause.

Republican state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker sponsored the bill.

cncphotos / flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the end of the lame duck session.

Lessenberry says “this probably has been the most productive and momentous and game changing lame duck session doing back to the 1960s.”

Lessenberry says making Michigan a right to work state was probably the biggest moment in Michigan politics this year.

Stateside: Lame duck concludes, 2013 comes into focus

Dec 18, 2012
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s lame duck session has ended, allowing politicians to focus on their 2013 agendas.

To better understand what both parties will discuss, we heard from Saul Anuzis and Debbie Dingell.

Anuzis is the former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and Dingell is a Democratic National Committeewoman.

Dingell expressed concern over the speed with which right-to-work legislation passed.

“People in Michigan were stunned by many of the bills that passed so quickly without discussion,” said Dingell.

“The lame duck session every two years is something where a lot of bills move very quickly. I don’t think anybody was surprised…” said Anuzis.

screenshot / LiveStream

The polling firm Public Policy Polling found Gov. Snyder's positive poll numbers dropping precipitously.

PPP is described as a "Democratic-leaning" survey firm, so it's no surprise they wanted to see how Gov. Snyder is faring after passing the controversial 'right-to-work' legislation in the state.

The firm is comparing their results from data gathered on Gov. Snyder prior to the hullabaloo around the legislature's prolific lame-duck session.

JMR Photography / Flickr

Clergy from across the state are expected to rally in Lansing today, and to call on Gov. Snyder to veto legislation that could allow concealed weapons in schools and churches.

On Stateside yesterday, MPRN's Rick Pluta said Snyder is getting an earful from those opposed to the legislation. The Governor says he's looking carefully at the legislation.

Elisha Anderson and Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press report the bill is unclear on how schools and other public facilities could keep people from carrying concealed weapons if they wanted to, and that's what is giving the Gov. pause.

Joel Dinda / flickr

The state’s tax on industrial and business equipment is a step closer to being phased out. State lawmakers Thursday sent the measure to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk. 

The personal property tax repeal was one of Governor Snyder and Republican state leaders’ top priorities for the lame duck session.

They say it discourages investment in the state and kills jobs.

Supporters of the plan say it will reimburse local communities for most or all of the revenue they would lose for services like schools, police, and fire.

Ari Adler is a spokesperson for state House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall).

“Many communities rely on the revenue that comes from this tax, and we did not want to leave them in a lurch,” Adler said.

Opponents like state Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) say the bills do not do enough to make up for those losses.

“It’s clear locals are going to lose money. Schools are going to lose money. The question is, just how much? And it could be anywhere from $250 million to – what I believe, when fully implemented – closer to $800 million, if there’s no replacement,” Barnett said.

Michigan voters will be asked to approve the reimbursement plan in August of 2014. If it’s rejected, the state will stop phasing out the tax.

Legislature stays up late, passes flood of lame-duck bills

Dec 14, 2012
user Steve & Christine from USA / Wikipedia

More than a few Michigan legislators are probably feeling a little fuzzy today, asking themselves the all-important question, “What happened last night?”

That’s because lawmakers were up until 4:30 a.m. this morning as part of an all-night legislative binge that saw the passage of a bundle of bills.

And as MLive reports, not everyone is happy about the way it happened:

Stateside: An unusually active lame duck session

Dec 13, 2012
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There is an abundance of political action in this year’s lame duck session.

Bill Ballenger of “Inside Michigan Politics” and Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry spoke with Cyndy about the recent legislature coming out of the Capitol.

According to Lessenberry there were several reasons for right-to-work being passed.

“The legislature will be marginally more Democratic next time. Some of the people who were voting are people who aren’t coming back. It was a campaign year and some of the stuff that might have gotten done earlier didn’t get done,” said Lessenberry.

“Legislators have been working on a lot of these bills for a year and a half,” said Ballenger.

Ballenger noted the role of partisan politics in the lame duck session.

Pages