Michigan may vote on eliminating the lame duck session


Lame duck ghouls: Former GOP Senate Majority Leader Alan Meekhof and Rick Snyder. - ARLAN MEEKHOF/FACEBOOK
  • Arlan Meekhof/Facebook
  • Lame duck ghouls: Former GOP Senate Majority Leader Alan Meekhof and Rick Snyder.

A bipartisan group of legislators is co-sponsoring a resolution for a constitutional amendment that could lead to the elimination of the state's controversial lame duck session.

HJR-C comes a month after the conclusion of a lame duck session in which the state's Republican-controlled Legislature passed a raft of constitutionally questionable legislation aimed at stripping power from incoming Democrats who won in the November election. The GOP also used the session to tamper with multiple citizen-initiated laws and kill a popular minimum wage increase.
Michigan is one of a handful of states that has a lame duck session. The Legislature ends its two-year terms in December of even-numbered years. The period between Election Day in November and the end of the term in December is referred to as lame duck. That's when the worst of the Legislature's bills — many of which are hastily put together by lobbyists — are rammed through.

Though there are 13 GOP and 12 Dem co-sponsors of HJR-C, its passage is far from certain as recent similar attempts to end lame duck have failed. The proposed constitutional amendment would go before voters in 2020 if the House and Senate approve it.
Co-sponsor Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, notes that Republicans don't control both legislative chambers and the governor's mansion this session, so GOP legislators might be more willing to support the measure.

"I feel like there's renewed interest and a different legislative set up. Now that [Republicans] don't control the governor's mansion, there's no use for lame duck, so I think it has a much better chance of passing," Rabhi says.

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