State Reps. Donni Steele, Tom Kuhn, and Jamie Thompson introduced a plan this week to keep Legislators in the capital doing their jobs until the end of the year.
The plan comes as the Democrat majority in the House and Senate prepare to stop legislative business and break for the year, instead of adjourning in late December as usual.
“I drive to Lansing swerving potholes and hearing from local residents tired of blackouts and failing schools,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “Those are all issues I’ve been trying to fix since I was elected, but the majority has blocked our plans at every turn. Adjourning nearly two months early instead of working through complex issues and oversight is a complete waste of state resources. We need to stay here and do the people’s work.”
Steele’s plan, House Concurrent Resolution 9,would keep the Legislature in session until Monday, December 28. House Democrats are currently planning to adjourn Thursday afternoon until the new year.
“Less work, less pay. Taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for the extended vacation Democrats have decided to award themselves,” said Thompson, R-Brownstown. “People I represent are struggling. They want their life to be more affordable, and they want their representatives to address the high costs of groceries, health care, and electricity. There’s still work to get done. If legislators aren’t willing to work, they shouldn’t get paid.”
Thompson’s proposal would guarantee that if the Legislature does adjourn early, elected officials would not be paid a full-time salary for the remainder of the year.
“House Democrats apparently want a part-time legislature with full-time pay,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “House Democrats want to ignore important issues facing our communities and take an early Christmas holiday. But state lawmakers earn their wages by doing the people’s work, not sitting at home watching Christmas movies. If anyone else stopped showing up to work, they wouldn’t just stop receiving pay, they would be fired.”
Kuhn’s plan would cut the pay of staff who work on legislative policy if the legislative session ends. Staff continuing to help constituents navigate the state government bureaucracy would not be affected.
Regardless of the adjournment date, House Republicans remain committed to doing the people’s work and will continue to serve in their communities, even if Democrats go on vacation.
“Today, the state continued to embrace a broken budgeting process that leaves the public confused and left behind. We participate in these meetings where leaders glaze over huge issues that sound nice on paper but make little sense when you dig into the details. Our budgeting process needs a complete overhaul so we can start focusing more on the details and less on fancy buzzwords.”
“The most important focus for our community colleges should be student success,” Kuhn said. “Unfortunately, too many students graduate from our high schools with insufficient skills to successfully complete two years of community college. We want to assure that all students who have access to community college, also have access to be successful at the community college level. I don’t see any commitment in the Governor’s State of the State that addresses the need for student success.”
“All of our state government needs to be subject to FOIA requests, plain and simple,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “There are two states in our country that exempt their Legislature and governor from FOIA requests, and we’re one of them. This lack of transparency and accountability is completely unacceptable. Our plan allows for added public oversight of all government and increases penalties for non-compliant public bodies.”
“Families entrust these state-run facilities with the care of their vulnerable loved ones, and they deserve complete transparency if there has been any negligence on the part of the state,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “The OAG audit will unseal any bad practices and allow the Legislature to have a wholistic view of how these facilities operate. Elected officials have a duty to step in and take corrective action if the facility is giving families in our community substandard care. This audit is the first step in that process.”