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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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting Out of Dodge

   Brace yourself.  Here we go with another round of chatter over legislative time off from Lansing.
   By the end of this week, the state's 148 lawmakers will have wrapped a very productive first five months in office.  They got the budget done four months ahead of time; they slapped a very unpopular tax on some pensions and the business community got a windfall $1.7 billion tax break that may or may not create any new jobs.
   It was impressive and they worked hard with the governor to get there, so why not leave town for two months?
   Two months?  Don't most working slugs get two weeks?
 There are no slugs in Lansing boys and girls.  July and August are set aside by the GOP leadership as time to get back to the district to see how the other half lives.
   "It would be unfair to call this a recess," observes the former GOP Speaker of the Michigan House Rick Johnson who presided over time off when he was in office.
     He thinks legislators are busier when they are home than up here.  He may be right, but how in the heck do you prove it?
     You don't.
     There are not enough correspondents to go around the state to keep tabs on what is actually being done during these two months.  So the "honor system" will have to apply.
     Yeah, that is a little scary.
      Certainly Gov. Rick Snyder must have concerns given his self-described work-a-holic drive to get things done.  You can't do much reinventing if there's nobody in town to reinvent.
      Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm once complained about all the time off and she was escorted to the legislative woodshed where leaders from her own party told her to knock it off pronto.
     Hence, Mr. Snyder is not about to take the same pratfall.
     "They are back in the district.  So they're not really taking time off," he lectured the capitol press corps the other day.
      "This is part of the normal tradition," he reflected.
      Ah.  Traditions.  Aren't they grand.


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