Lawmakers have a chance to complete agenda items they began last year but failed to complete in the new year. Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, a Democrat from Grand Rapids, anticipated prompt action on several issues.
On Wednesday at noon, the Michigan Legislature’s two chambers convened for the first time in 2024. On the first day back, things moved slowly in both chambers.
The Senate passed two resolutions: one honoring the late state senator Doug Cruce and the other recognizing Ducks Unlimited, Inc. for their conservation efforts during Wetland Conservation Week. A resolution honoring Cruce, who passed away a year ago, was also discussed in the House.
On the other hand, the coming year offers legislators an opportunity to complete agenda items they began last year but failed to complete. Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) spoke on the Senate floor following the session and forecast quick action on many issues.
“We continue to work through some difficulties like prescription medicine cost, auto-no fault regulations, and economic development policies. All of these topics are still hot topics in the discourse. And we anticipate seeing some progress on those kinds of things very soon,” Brinks stated.
House leadership, meanwhile, stated comparable objectives.
“I believe there are significant prospects for cost reduction when considering prescription medications; this is why we passed the drug immunity bill. Of course, there are some actual opportunities within the budget. as well as economic and communal development,” Detroit Democratic Speaker Joe Tate told reporters.
However, things may become a little messy on the House side. A 54-54 split with Republicans has replaced the 56-54 Democratic majority that existed at the beginning of the year.
Last year, two Democrats who had won local mayoral campaigns resigned. April is when special elections will be held to fill those empty seats.
The Democratic caucus is under increased pressure to remain cohesive in light of the temporary tie. Tate stated that everyone has the same objective, despite some internal strife that was evident the previous year.
Each of us was chosen on our own, and we all have unique backgrounds. Thus, I believe it is beneficial to have differences of opinion regarding the details of legislation. Tate remarked, “I mean, I think that’s part of this process that we have.”
According to House rules that were adopted at the start of the previous year, Democrats will continue to hold the gavel until the special elections in April.
Republicans in the House are urging a resolution to share power. Matt Hall, the minority leader in the house (R-Richland Township), is represented by Jeremiah Ward.
Whether or whether there is a formal agreement, power is shared. Because bipartisanship is necessary for anything to be done. Thus, we are aware that cooperation is required from both sides for any task to be completed, Ward added.
However, Democrats have rejected that. Tate stated that he would prefer to concentrate on policy discussions.
“I’ve already outlined those opportunities, but it would be good to have a list of what (the) minority leader wants to accomplish,” Tate remarked.
However, there has been some overlap in the priorities that the two sides have in common. The budget and economic development were noted by both Ward and Tate as areas they would want to see addressed.
Ward cited the Growing Michigan Together Council’s most recent recommendations, which sought to end decades of slow population growth.
“We need a well-coordinated plan to support population growth, economic expansion, and the improvement of people’s access to and affordability of life. roadways that are passable and in need of repair, not just the state’s highways but also nearby city streets, county roads, and city roads, according to Ward.
The next full meeting of the House is set for January 16.
On Thursday, when the Senate reconvenes in Lansing, several proposals about kid protection and human trafficking are expected to be advanced toward a final vote.