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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time Off For What?

   When is a hunting vacation, not a hunting vacation?  Apparently when the leader of the Michigan Senate says it is not.
   A couple of blogs ago, the lament was that the grand legislative tradition of taking two weeks off for deer hunting has outlived its usefulness.  And in fact it's a waste of taxpayer dollars.
   Turns out Oakland County Senator Mike Bishop couldn't disagree more.  Get a load of this:  "I don't look at this as a hunting break for legislators.  Most members have used the opportunity to go back to the district" and meet with citizens.
   He's right that many house and senate members don't wander off into the woods, and some probably do consult with folks back home but there's no way to confirm that. Fact is we have no idea what the non-hunter s are doing.  We do know that they are drawing a state paycheck.
     And it's not that they have nothing to do at the Capitol. The state is facing a whooping budget deficit approaching $1.2 billion next year. But given a choice of staying in town and working on that and other job creating legislation, the leadership succumbed to the notion of "this is the way it's always been" mantra and gave everyone the time off to do as they pleased.
    Bishop points out that when everyone returns next Tuesday, they will work on these issues but now they have two less weeks to do it.  And, of course, they are bumping up against another break around December 25th…unless, of course, Mr. Bishop doesn't believe that is a vacation either.


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