Of all the stereotypes about government, one holds universally: the wheels of government turn slowly, especially when it comes to making policy.
It’s a bucking trend this week as Democrats try to make a statement about how they intend to rein in Lansing. Welcome to Michigan Politics.
As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took to the House podium at the Michigan State Capitol Wednesday night for the first time since 2020, there was already an idea of what she would ask the legislature After her colleagues congratulated the Democrats, she was forthright.
In her fifth state, the main policies Whitmer is calling for include:
- End taxation of retirement income.
- Expand the earned income tax credit.
- Policies on gun violence, including universal background checks, red flag laws, and safe storage requirements. There’s still more public safety funding to boot.
- Expand eligibility for free preschool to all four-year-olds.
- Lower the age for free local community college from 25 to 21.
- Repeal the now-defunct 1931 abortion ban and expand discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender.
- More money to fight climate change and fix Michigan’s infrastructure.
So far, Democrats are in lockstep on their agenda, with the Legislature passing the first two items about 24 hours later. That’s quite a lot of choreography by state standards, even though a bill to make it happen was introduced on the first day of the Legislature’s session. For Whitmer, who had been the Senate minority leader with a strong Republican majority when the retirement income tax was first passed, repeal of the tax law had been 12 years in the making. The expansion of the EITC in the House of Representatives even had the support of a majority of Republican representatives with 100 votes in favor and 8 votes against.
But despite relatively unanimous support, Republicans were quick to express displeasure with other parts of the Democratic agenda, namely that retirement tax cuts were too small, too slow, and, for both, as Alyssa As reported by Alyssa Burr.
It remains an open question if Republicans can support more of the Democratic agenda. If not, Tuesday’s scenario, in which House Democrats were stuck waiting for a colleague — whose wife just gave birth — to commute from hours away to bring them a majority could will become more common. The Legislature is working to finalize a $1.1 billion supplemental spending bill to complete the current budget year. It will also provide $200 million in tax breaks for a paper mill in the Escanaba region, among a host of other items.
Outside of the Democratic love fest, Benona has been closely monitoring the race for the next leadership of the Michigan Republican Party, with two reports from that race this week. First, Ben examines how 11 candidates managed to reinvigorate a shattered and underfunded party without a major election victory between them.
His follow-up then examines whether activist presidential candidates — and the party itself — still shackled by long-discredited election conspiracy theories can move forward and set their sights on winning the next election, rather than re-indicting Congress. an election.
All the political fests aside, I spent a good part of the week digging through the data trying to answer a simple question: Are lawmakers funding their campaigns by soliciting money from voters they seek to represent?
It turns out that the answer is no in almost all cases, for various reasons. You can find out why in the article, and see how much of your own legislators’ money comes from their district.
As I sifted through all the campaign finance data, I found a striking contrast: In this past election, Democratic candidates for state legislatures received 104,000 donations of $200 or less from outside Michigan. Their Republican counterparts? 345.
I worked through the weekend to explore why there was such a divide between the two sides, and to provide another breakdown of lawmakers on that data for you to watch.
Democrats are looking to move up the date of the presidential primary to fifth in the nation, as the Democratic National Committee puts it, and time is ticking. The Senate approved the bill along party lines on Thursday, but they need a two-thirds majority for the changes to take effect immediately, in time for the 2024 election.
Between now and Wednesday, the Feb. 1 deadline set by the DNC, Democrats will have to cobble together six Republican senators out of their slim 20-vote majority. clear.
Finally, if you’re the kind of person who will giggle at all the ways people have tried to sneak “ass” and other more inappropriate words to Michigan license plates over the years – boy, do we have this story for you. Fair warning, though: there are thousands of them, and if you scroll long enough, you might be reminded how half-baked your sense of humor is.