Saturday, April 07, 2018 1:00 am
Temporary setback in Michigan push for lawmaker limits
As Indiana lawmakers prepare for a special session to complete unfinished business, some Michigan residents are lamenting the defeat of an effort to convert their own legislature from full time to part time.
Their effort died for lack of enough valid signatures to be placed on the November ballot.
“We came so close,” Norman Kammeraad, one of the organizers of the Clean Michigan Committee, told the Detroit Free Press.
The committee sought a constitutional amendment that, if approved, would have ended Michigan's legislative sessions by April 15 each year and reduced lawmakers' pay roughly by half.
The group collected about 325,000 signatures, but 40,000 of those had to be thrown out because they were collected before the ballot-language proposal was changed. Supporters had a 180-day window to collect the necessary 315,654 valid signatures from registered Michigan voters.
Kammeraad said inclement weather killed efforts to collect signatures. He said they will restart the effort later this year.
Michigan is one of 10 states with a full-time legislature. Its lawmakers earn a $71,685 salary, with a $10,800 expense allowance. That's not much more than Indiana legislators are paid for part-time work. Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, a Democrat, earned $65,883 in the last calendar year; Republican Rep. Bob Morris earned $64,566 – and that's without special-session pay.