Michigan’s Part-time Legislature Proposal Stalled Until 2016

From MIRS, June 11, 2014

The drive to make Michigan’s legislature part-time is being suspended with the goal of coming back in 2016 and trying again, said Norm KAMMERAAD, the head of the Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature (CRMPTL).

Kammeraad said the CRMPTL board will be meeting within the next couple weeks to formally dissolve, but it’s not because the group didn’t sense enthusiasm from the public. The cold winter lasted too long, which shortened the time frame the group needed to collect the 322,609 signatures by July 7 needed to put the constitutional amendment before voters in November, he said.

“We had too much ground to cover with too few volunteers in too short of a timeframe,” Kammeraad said.

CRMPTL attempted to gather more than 400,000 signatures to give them the cushion needed to make the ballot, but in hindsight, he said the group needed to be out in the field in January with petition language and that didn’t happen until late March.

Kammeraad declined to say how many signatures the group did get, other than to say the volunteers were well received by the public. The proposal would have limited legislative salaries to $35,000 a year, forced lawmakers to leave town after 60 days, and cut legislative staff to 250 persons (See “PTL Proposal To Begin Collecting Signatures Next Week,” 1/24/14).  

Also all bills would come attached with a five-day waiting period. If legislation were altered in any way, it would need to be available on a public web site for five days before being allowed to pass a chamber. 

Legislators currently make roughly $71,000 a year after lawmakers approved a 10 percent pay cut suggested by the State Officers Compensation Commission in 2009. 

Last month, Kammeraad said the signatures for the petition were coming in “in droves” despite having only raised $18,000 for the effort (See “PTL Drive: Sigs “Coming In In Droves,” 5/5/14). 

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