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Michigan Legislative Update

Week of November 10, 2016

By Judy Augenstein

Republicans not only retained majority in the state House for the 2017-18 session, but in an election cycle in which they were expected to lose seats, they end up having the same 63 seats they won in the 2014 election. 

Wednesday morning 43 new House members arrived in Lansing for two days of activities as they launch their new political careers.  The new members will be seated in January as the term limited 43 members will vacate office on December 3l.

The "newbies" attended their first caucus meeting where the Republicans voted for the new Speaker of the House and Democrats voted for a new Democratic Leader.  Following that they did a run through on which buttons to push for a "yes" or "no" vote, how to address the chair and what the House rules are, etc.  A class in how to deal or not deal with the capitol press corps was held on Thursday morning.  A guided tour of the Capitol Building was held for the "newbies" then they received a crash course on how to draft a bill. 

As expected, the incoming Republican caucus voted for Rep. Tom Leonard, R- DeWitt Township to serve as Speaker of the House during the 2017-18 term, the current Speaker is term limited.  The caucus also elected Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway as the Majority Floor Leader.  Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering was elected as Speaker Pro-tem.  Rep. Leonard commented that the state has come a long way under Republican leadership and he wants to continue on that path.

The House Democratic caucus voted Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing to be their new leader heading into the 2017-18 term.  Our friend Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet barely lost his bid as leader. Rep. Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills will serve as Minority Floor Leader.  The current Democratic Leader, Rep. Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills stepped down after Democrats had a poor showing in Tuesday's election.  Democrats were shooting for majority but at least expecting to gain seats.  Instead, a Republican wave led by President-elect Donald Trump leaves them with 47 seats, the same number as they have now.  Many political pundits and political pollsters missed the mark in predicting the popularity of Donald Trump and the Republican wave.

The legislature will return for the Lame Duck session on November 29 following deer hunting season and the Thanksgiving legislative recess.


Legislation introduced this week:

HB 6039 - Sponsor, Rep. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City.  The bill requires registration for foresters.  The bill was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.

HB 6040 - Sponsor, Rep. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City.  The bill defines a Registered Forester, creates a Foresters Board and a Foresters Fund within the DNR. The bill was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.

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