State Rep. Jay DeBoyer has introduced a measure embracing a model of government that respects reality while still being able to meet the needs of the people it serves.
DeBoyer’s House Joint Resolution K calls for an amendment to the state constitution that makes the state Legislature part-time. Under the plan, the Legislature would be prescribed to meet for no more than 150 total days beginning in the 2025-26 legislative session. The change would be submitted to the people to vote on during the next general election, as required by law.
“The statistics show that in many ways, the Legislature operates in Lansing on a part-time basis already with the number of times they actually meet,” said DeBoyer, of Clay Township. “We may also soon be set to enter a stretch with very little, if any, legislative activity at the Capitol. People can see this for what it is. They should have the opportunity to vote on if this is the right path forward for state government. A part-time Legislature would also give elected leaders more time in their districts where they can listen to priorities and concerns from residents and then come to Lansing and act on them.”
DeBoyer laid out several key trends illustrated in reporting done by Capitol news publication MIRS that support his decision to offer the proposal. Of the 86 total sessions in the House in 2022, only 54 saw members present for attendance and voting. The last time the Legislature met so infrequently was in 1950, according to the report.
Since 1971, which saw 154 total House session days, the number of days consistently declined on average throughout the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s. The Senate also had its least active year in terms of session days since 1950 in 2022, logging 78 total days with only 62 voting days.
The plan includes the ability for the Legislature to meet in extraordinary circumstances, such as during a wide-scale emergency.
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