The Michigan Legislature is the legislature of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is organized as a bicameral body composed of an upper chamber, the Senate, and a lower chamber, the House of Representatives. Article IV of the Michigan Constitution, adopted in 1963, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted. The chief purposes of the Legislature are to enact new laws and amend or repeal existing laws. The Legislature meets in the Capitol building in Lansing.
Michigan Public Radio, – October 18, 2021
Democratic State Representative Julie Brixie says there are enough votes in the state House to fix the worst aspect of Michigan’s new auto insurance law – which applies it retroactively to people who suffered catastrophic injuries prior to 2019.
The law allows insurance companies to cut the fees they pay long term care providers for auto accident patients by nearly half. Many of the providers are going out of business, or discharging their auto accident patients because they can’t afford to care for them anymore.
Brixie said House members were falsely assured by Republican bill sponsors that the law would not be applied retroactively to take care away from people who were already receiving care for their injuries.
She said members weren’t given enough time to read the bill before the vote to discover that was false. Now, many auto accident survivors are getting less care, going without care altogether or landing in hospitals after losing their care.
She said Republican leaders need to allow a vote on bill that would remove the retroactive clause in the law before more people are hurt.
“You have enough votes to pass it,” said Brixie. “That is a huge indicators of the buyers remorse that is going on.”
There are other bills being held up in committees that would address the 45% cut in fees to long-term care providers for future auto accident survivors as well. Without that fix, motorists who pay for lifetime medical on the PIP portion of their insurance premiums will likely find it no longer includes home care, because the agencies will have all closed or stopped accepting auto accident patients.
Michigan Advance, – October 14, 2021
The Michigan House of Representatives voted Thursday to concur with Senate versions of three election bills tightening requirements for absentee ballots and voter ID.
Senate Bill 303, introduced by Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), will require in-person voters and absentee voters to present their state IDs when going to cast a ballot. Currently, you can sign an affidavit of identity if you do not have an ID. The bill will also deny election officials the ability to send unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters. SB 303 was concurred in with a vote along party lines, 56-51.
Rep. Matt Hall (R-Battle Creek) was the first to speak on the House floor about the bills, saying they will ensure that voter confidence in elections is restored.
“The practice of many people throughout our state getting unsolicited applications could entice people to commit fraud,” Hall said. “And for that reason, these bills will prohibit that today and will restore people’s confidence in our election.”
While Hall was the House Oversight Committee chair last year, he hosted Rudy Giuliani at a post-2020 election committee meeting where Giuliani took charge of the meeting to push election conspiracies that former President Donald Trump won.
President Joe Biden beat Trump in Michigan by more than 154,000 votes. More than 250 state and local audits did not find evidence of widespread voting problems or fraud.
Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.) later lambasted the Oversight Committee hearing featuring Giuliani, calling it a “sham hearing” that gave Giuliani and colleagues a “platform to spread Donald Trump’s lies to the American people.” He said these bills further perpetuate lies regarding the 2020 general election and that these bills will mostly harm communities of color.
“These bills are creating more issues for voters,” Camilleri said. “[The bills are] solving problems that don’t exist and ruining faith in our democracy. And we know that the negative effects of these bills would be felt most severely by communities that already struggle with representation.”
Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw) also spoke out against the bills, citing the U.S. history of suppressing the right to vote. He said people’s votes “shouldn’t depend on the whims of one or several untrained poll workers.”
Michigan Advance, – September 24, 2021
Forty-five Michigan Democratic lawmakers signed onto an amicus brief demanding that the U.S. Supreme Court uphold Roe v. Wade.
“Abortion is health care. We will not sit quietly while a certain small faction attempts to dismantle a person’s right to their own reproductive freedom,” Sens. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) and Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) said in a statement Monday. “While the current activist majority on the Supreme Court may be signaling their intent to undo or undermine protections promised to us under Roe v. Wade, this brief is a clear and urgent message that justices’ personal beliefs should not interfere with the medical care of residents in this country.”
In May, the Supreme Court, which is considered to have its most right-wing tilt in decades, agreed to hear arguments Dec. 1 on a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, poses a significant challenge to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that declared abortion to be a constitutional right.
Since that announcement, the Supreme Court also issued a 5-4 opinion against preventing a strict abortion ban in Texas from taking effect. The law bans abortions once cardiac activity can be detected and allows private citizens to file lawsuits against abortion providers and anyone who aids an abortion. It provides no exceptions for incest or rape.
The 45 Michigan lawmakers who signed the amicus brief include Sens. Ananich, Chang, Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills), Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing), Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia), Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit), Paul Wojno (D-Warren) and Reps. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield), Kelly Breen (D-Novi), Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Twp.), Darrin Camilleri (D-Dearborn), Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit), Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp.), Kevin Coleman (D-Westland), Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak), Alex Garza (D-Taylor), Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek), Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids), Kara Hope (D-Holt), Cynthia Johnson (D-Detroit), Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), Padma Kuppa (D-Troy), Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.), Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham), Christine Morse (D-Portage), Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw), Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton Twp), Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor), Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), Helena Scott (D-Detroit), Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Twp.), Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills), Lori Stone (D-Warren), Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit), and Regina Weiss (D-Oak Park).
Michigan Advance, – September 22, 2021
Shortly after the GOP-controlled Michigan Legislature finished passing the remainder of the $53 billion budget plan Wednesday afternoon, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took the stage at the Mackinac Policy Conference and shared her own perspective on the budget bills that she plans to sign.
Budget leaders from her office, the House and the Senate last week agreed to a budget deal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 beginning Oct. 1. Both chambers this week approved both the General Government and the Higher Education budgets on a bipartisan basis, wrapping their part of the process Wednesday.
“As we speak, the Legislature is passing a bipartisan budget that we negotiated together in good faith and I look forward to signing it next week,” Whitmer said during her keynote speech.
“The budget will put $500 million into our rainy day fund — the largest one-time deposit ever. It will also fully fund the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners, expand childcare to 105,000 more kids at low or no-cost, repair 100 bridges, replace lead service lines, and so much more,” she said.
Whitmer called the budget “a testament to what we can do when we work together,” before asking business leaders to work with her and the Legislature to make sure the federal dollars go to work.
Associated Press, – September 1, 2021
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature want to limit Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ability to send statewide emergency alerts to wireless devices and broadcast stations except for “immediate” threats.
Under legislation approved 20-16 by the Senate on Wednesday, the system could not be activated to announce new laws or executive orders unless it is necessary to “respond to an immediate or nearly immediate loss of life or property.” The bill also would specify that threats can include natural disasters, industrial explosions, train derailments and announcements of endangered missing people.
Michigan Advance, – May 12, 2021
After nearly nine hours of session between both chambers of the GOP-led Michigan Legislature on Tuesday, lawmakers wrapped up the day having passed about half of the 17 Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget bills on their agendas.
In February, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her state budget recommendation worth $67.1 billion for the next fiscal year starting Oct. 1, an increase from the state’s current $62.8 billion budget.
The state House passed eight budget bills Tuesday, including budgets for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Department of Education.
Members of the Senate are referred to as Senators and members of the House of Representatives are referred to as Representatives. Because this shadows the terminology used to describe members of Congress, constituents and the news media, using The Associated Press Stylebook, often refer to legislators as state senators or state representatives to avoid confusion with their federal counterparts.
The Senate is the upper house of the Legislature. Its members are elected on a partisan basis for four-year terms, concurrent with the election of the Governor of Michigan. The Senate consists of 38 members elected from single-member election districts ranging from 212,400 to 263,500 residents according to the most recent creation of districts (2002). Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures through the federal decennial census. Senators’ terms begin at noon on January 1 following their election. The Senate Chamber is located in the south wing of the State Capitol building. As of 2018, Republicans hold the majority in the Senate with 22 seats; Democrats hold the minority with 16 seats. Under the Michigan Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor of Michigan serves as President of the Senate, but may only cast a vote in the instance of a tie. The Senate selects its other officers and adopts its own rules of procedure at the start of a new Legislative Session.
Michigan House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is the lower house of the Legislature. Its members are elected on a partisan basis for two-year terms, at the same time at which Representatives in U.S. Congress are chosen. The House of Representatives consists of 110 members who are elected from single-member election districts ranging from 77,000 to 91,000 according to the most recent creation of districts (2012). Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures through the federal decennial census. Representatives’ terms begin at noon on January 1 following their election. The House of Representatives Chamber in the State Capitol is located in the north wing of the State Capitol building. As of 2018, Republicans hold a majority of seats in the House of Representatives with 58, and Democrats hold 52 seats. The House of Representatives selects its own Speaker of the House and other officers and adopts its rules of procedure at the start of a new legislative session.
On November 3, 1992, almost 59 percent of Michigan voters backed Proposal B, the Michigan Term Limits Amendment, which amended the State Constitution, to enact term limits on federal and state officials. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not enact congressional term limits, but ruled that the state-level term limits remain. Under the amendment, a person could be elected to the office of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state two times each. It also limited the number of times a person could be elected to the House of Representatives to three times, and to the Senate two times. A provision governing partial terms was also included. These provisions became Article IV, section 54 and Article V, section 30 of the Michigan Constitution.
Each Senator and Representative must be a citizen of the United States, at least 21 years of age, and an elector of the district he or she represents. Under state law, moving out of the district shall be deemed a vacation of the office. No person who has been convicted of subversion or who has within the preceding 20 years been convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust shall be eligible for either house of the legislature.
For reckoning periods of time during which the Legislature operates, each two-year period coinciding with the election of new members of the House of Representatives is numbered consecutively as a legislature, dating to the first legislature following adoption of Michigan’s first constitution. The current two-year term of the legislature (January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2022) is the 101st Legislature.
Each year during which the Legislature meets constitutes a new legislative session. According to Article IV Section 13 of the State Constitution, a new session of the Legislature begins when the members of each house convene, on the second Wednesday of January every year at noon. A regular session of the Legislature typically lasts throughout the entire year with several periods of recess and adjourns sine die in late December.
The Michigan Legislature is one of ten full-time state legislative bodies in the United States. Members receive a base salary of $71,685 per year, which makes them the fourth-highest paid legislators in the country, after California, Pennsylvania and New York. While legislators in many states receive per diems that make up for lower salaries, Michigan legislators receive $10,800 per year for session and interim expenses. Salaries and expense allowances are determined by the State Officers Compensation Commission.
Any legislation pending in either house at the end of a session that is not the end of a legislative term of office continues and carries over to the next Legislative Session.
Powers and process
The Michigan Legislature is authorized by the Michigan Constitution to create and amend the laws of the U.S. state of Michigan, subject to the Governor’s power to veto legislation. To do so, legislators propose legislation in the forms of bills drafted by a nonpartisan, professional staff. Successful legislation must undergo committee review, three readings on the floor of each house, with appropriate voting majorities, as required, and either be signed into law by the Governor or enacted through a veto override approved by two-thirds of the membership of each legislative house.
The House of Representatives is headed by the Speaker, while the Senate is headed by the Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, who serves as President of the Senate but may only cast a vote in the instance of a tie.
The Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader control the assignment of committees and leadership positions, along with control of the agenda in their chambers. The two leaders, along with the Governor of Michigan, control most of the agenda of state business in Michigan.
- President of the Michigan Senate (Lieutenant Governor): Garlin Gilchrist (D)
- President Pro Tempore of the Michigan Senate: Aric Nesbitt (R)
- Majority Leader of the Michigan Senate: Mike Shirkey (R)
- Minority Leader of the Michigan Senate: Jim Ananich (D)
- Speaker of the House: Jason Wentworth (R)
- Speaker Pro Tempore of the Michigan House: Pamela Hornberger (R)
- Majority Leader of the Michigan House: Ben Frederick (R)
- Minority Leader of the Michigan House: Donna Lasinski (D)
- Gibbons, Lauren (November 7, 2018). “What the passage of Proposal 2 means for Michigan”. MLive.com. Retrieved April 30,2019.
- “State Constitution of Michigan Article IV Section I”. Michigan Legislature.
- “Chapter 2: About State Government” (PDF). Michigan in Brief: 1998–99. Public Sector Consultants. 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 26, 2007.
- “Michigan State Legislature”. Ballotpedia.
- “Citizen’s Guide”. Michigan House of Representatives
- “Constitutional Amendments” (PDF). Michigan Legislature
- National Conference of State Legislatures
- “Citizens Guide”. Michigan House of Representatives.
- “Michigan State Constitution – Article V, Section 25”. Michigan Legislature.
- “Senate Leadership”. Michigan Senate.
- “House Leadership”. Michigan House of Representatives.