Michigan Legislature: Wikis

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Michigan Legislature
Coat of arms or logo.
Type
Type Bicameral
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
Leadership
President of the Senate John D. Cherry, (D)
since January 1, 2003
Senate Majority Leader Michael Bishop, (R)
since 2006
Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, (D)
since 2006
Structure
Members 148
Political groups Democratic Party
Republican Party
Election
Last election November 4, 2008
Meeting place
Michigan state capitol.jpg
Michigan State Capitol, Lansing, Michigan
Website
Michigan Legislature

The Michigan Legislature is the legislative assembly of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is organized as a bicameral body consisting of the Senate, the upper house, and the House of Representatives, the lower house. Article IV of the state's Constitution, adopted in 1963, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted. The Legislature meets in the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan.

Contents

Titles

Members of the Senate are commonly referred to as senators and members of the House of Representative are commonly referred to as representatives. Because this shadows the terminology used to describe members of Congress, constituents and news media, using the Associated Press guidelines for journalist, often refer to legislators as state senators or state representatives to avoid confusion with their federal counterparts. Technically, members are neither senators or representatives and should be referred to as a member of the Legislature (abbreviated to ML). This is the same with members of the United States House of Representatives, who increasingly use member of Congress (abbreviated to MC) as a post-nominal title.

As elected officials, members of the Legislature also receive the courtesy title of the Honorable (abbreviated to Hon. or Hon'ble) for life.

Michigan Senate

The Senate is the upper house of the Legislature. Its members are elected on a partisan basis for four-year terms concurrent with the election of the Governor of Michigan. The Senate consists of 38 elected from single-member election districts ranging from 212,400 to 263,500 residents according to the most recent creation of districts (2002). Senators' terms begin at noon on January 1 following their election. The Senate chamber in the State Capitol is located in the south wing of the building. As of November 2009, Republicans hold a majority of seats in the Senate with 22; Democrats hold 16 seats. Under the Michigan Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor of Michigan serves as President of the Senate but may only cast a vote in the instance of a tie. The Senate selects its other officers and adopts its own rules of procedure at the start of a new legislative session.

Michigan House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the Legislature. Its members are elected on a partisan basis for two-year terms at the same time at which Representatives in U.S. Congress are chosen. The House of Representatives consists of 110 members who are elected from single-member election districts ranging from 77,000 to 91,000 according to the most recent creation of districts (2002). Representatives' terms begin at noon on January 1 following their election. The House of Representatives chamber in the State Capitol is located in the north wing of the building. As of 2009, Democrats hold a majority of seats in the House of Representatives with 67, and Republicans hold the remaining 43 seats. The House of Representatives selects its own Speaker of the House and other officers and adopts its rules of procedure at the start of a new legislative session.

Terms and sessions

Every two years the entire House of Representatives stands for election, whereas the Senate does so at four-year intervals concurrently with elections for governor. For reckoning periods of time during which the legislature operates, each two-year period coinciding with the election of new members of the House of Representatives is numbered consecutively as a Legislature dating to the first legislature following Michigan's admission as a state. The current two-year term of the legislature, serving from 2007 until 2009, is the 94th Legislature.

Each year during which the Legislature meets constitutes a new session. According to Article IV Section 13 of the state Constitution, a new session of the Legislature begins when the members of each house convene on the second Wednesday of January every year at noon. A regular session of the Legislature typically lasts throughout the entire year with several periods of recess and adjourns sine die in late December.

There is no minimum or maximum number of days for which a session of the Legislature must meet each year. Although there is no universal definition as to what constitutes a full-time legislature, the Michigan Legislature is one of only eleven full-time legislative bodies in the United States.[1]Michigan's legislators receive a base salary of $79,650 per year which makes them the second-highest paid legislators in the country, after California. Legislators also receive a $1,000 per month per diem in addition to their base salary. [2] Unlike those states which are considered to have a part-time legislature and whose members are paid only for actual days in session, Michigan's legislators are paid an annual salary regardless of the number of meeting days and are considered to be full-time.

Any legislation pending in either house at the end of a session that is not the end of a legislative term of office continues and carries over to the next legislative session.

Term limits

The electors of the State of Michigan adopted an amendment to the Constitution in 1992, Section 54 of Article IV, which became effective in 1993. This amendment limits the length of time any individual may serve as a member of the Legislature.

Pursuant to this amendment, one may not be elected to the Senate more than two times or to the House of Representatives more than three times. The result of this is that there is now considerable turnover in membership in both houses of the Legislature.

Formerly, many seats were held by the same office holder for sometimes decades. Although measures to repeal the term limits amendment have been introduced in both houses since it took effect, none of them have yet reached a vote on the floor of either house or received serious deliberation in the Legislature.

Unicameral petition drive

An unsuccessful effort to collect petition signatures was launched in January 2006 by Unicameral Michigan, a ballot question committee registered with the State of Michigan, to provide for an amendment to the state's Constitution to change from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature. It failed to qualify for the November 2006 ballot. If the amendment had succeeded, Michigan would have become only the second U.S. state, after Nebraska, to have a single-chambered legislature.

Push for a part-time Legislature

After the Legislature failed to pass a budget by the start of fiscal year 2008 on October 1, 2007, a movement was started to turn Michigan's full-time Legislature into a part-time legislature. The campaign ended when organizers were unable to collect enough signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2008 general election ballot.

Notes

  1. ^ Full- and Part-Time Legislatures, National Conference of State Legislatures, Updated January 2007, Accessed 2007-05-26
  2. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures

External links

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