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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.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

This Ain't Fiddler on the Roof

     The Michigan legislature is a tradition-laden institution and if lawmakers were smart, which they aren't, they would scrap many of the traditions, which they won't.
      High on the "to-eliminate" list should be the month of January.
      While most working slugs around the state will head back to the grindstone this week, the state's lawmakers will not.
      Oh sure, some of them may move into their new offices, others will take phone calls at home and do some constituent work but basically there will be no legislating during this entire month.
      Both the house and senate do return next week, but tradition dictates that when a new session begins, no one is in a hurry for a variety of excuses:  There are 44 new members of the house who have to settle in.  The House Speaker has to re- configureate all the committees with new and old members. And all this takes time.
      Years ago nothing got started until the governor delivered the State of the State which set the agenda for the New Year.  The tradition was that a few days after lawmakers reconvened, the governor spoke.  That traditional under this governor has changed---for the worse.
      Instead of the SOS in mid-January, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has waited until the end of the month and sometimes even into early February to set the legislative stage which will likely be the case this year.
      Hey what's the rush?  There are no pressing issues.
      The state's economy is on life support along with its major industry.
       The jobless rate is inching toward 10-11%.
        There's another pool of red ink surrounding the budget.
       And the battle cry to reform state government now, is heard everywhere, except in this town.
       There is no reason in the world why committees could not be established during December so everyone could hit the ground running in January. 
       There is no reason why the governor could not get it in gear to deliver her speech next week, and there is no reason why state taxpayers should have to wait a month to get a full return on their investment in 148 legislators.
       Oh yeah, forgot, there is a reason…tradition.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ray said...

Is the governor too busy helping Obama with the transition to write a speech? Or maybe she is filling out the questionnaire for Commerce Secretary? Either way the tradition should be changed and the lawmakers should begin working on the massive budget deficit!

January 5, 2009 at 7:23 AM 
Anonymous rongohot said...

Our "SHAM-WOW" Govenor sets the tone for all of the Lansing Buffoons!

January 5, 2009 at 9:36 AM 
Anonymous john stewart said...

Dear Tim,

I have just discovered your Blog.During the month of January and the first part of February, 7 years ago, all visitors including school children were denied the opportunity to walk on the floor of the House of Representatives in our State Capitol.
As a State Representative, I was called into the Speaker's office with Rick Johnson, Bruce Patterson, Larry Julian and Randy Richardville and was told that "Because of the wear and tear on the carpet, we have to stop allowing everyone from walking on the floor of the House."

You went on WWJ and said that, "State Rep. John Stewart has organized a carpet fund, and now the public will be allowed their once in a lifetime opportunity to be on the floor of the House of Representatives."

It is my position that this was done by those aforementioned gentlemen solely for political purposes.That year, I set the record by hosting 44 school groups on the floor.Bruce Patterson was concerned that I might run against him for State Senate.

Denying school children and the general public access to our State House for political purposes(the same carpet is still there)is about as low as one can go.

I have a lot more stories...
Sincerely,
John C. Stewart State Rep.2000-06

January 5, 2009 at 1:33 PM 

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