Michigan should make legislators work part-time as other states do
To the Editor,
I support the petition initiative that would place on the November 2014 ballot, the opportunity for Michigan voters to amend the Michigan Constitution which would change our state from a full-time Legislature to a part-time Legislature.
The proposed Amendment would repeal five sections of Article IV of the Michigan Constitution and replace two of them. The replacement sections of the Article would do the following;
1. Impose a $35,000 ceiling on compensation for legislators beginning in 2017.
2. Require the State to post on the internet all compensations and reimbursements paid to legislators.
3. Limit the Legislature to one 60-day regular session per calendar year.
4. Require any bill to be posted on the internet for at least 5 days before the Legislature can adopt it.
5. Require that the Legislature provide by law for its operation and organization both in and out of session.
6. Limit the Legislature to no more than a 250-person staff for assisting legislators.
Why would this change be good for Michigan? The legislators would be spending more time in their districts with the people who elected them rather than with full-time lobbyists who are promoting their organizations’ agendas in Lansing. It would make it easier for the interested constituents to know the pending bills and hold the legislators accountable for how they vote.
Full-time legislators tend to believe that for them to be useful they must pass laws such as in 2013: What will be the Michigan State fruit:
Blueberry(SB259) or Cherry, or what type of cherry will it be, tart or sweet (SB515) (HR4007); or what should be the new state amphibian(HR4747); or new state insect (HR4646). Lawmakers who are being paid, by the state’s tax payers, over $70,000 per year with additional expense accounts and benefits should be working on more important issues.
More laws generally restrict freedom and complicate the process for positive accomplishment. High taxes, high unemployment, overregulation, and depressed economy are characteristics shared with Michigan by the other three states (California, New York, and Pennsylvania) with full-time Legislatures. Other large, diversified states such as Florida and Texas are experiencing growth with part-time Legislatures.
To view the language of the amendment and the current law go to http://parttimemi.com and click on amendment, or click on FAQ for more information.
Michigan deserves better.