TitleBytes News & Happenings

New Year, New Government Leadership

Dec 6, 2018

Cami Pendell, Michigan Legislative Consultants

By now enough time has passed that you are aware of the results from the November 6th election. Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer already has her transition team in place and they are working hard so she can hit the ground running in 2019. But, you may not be aware that the incoming legislative caucuses have held their leadership elections and their future leaders are also working to set up their offices while navigating Lame Duck challenges.

In the Senate, the Republican party was able to hold on to their majority. Instead of their current 27-11 super majority, they will come back with a narrower 22-16 majority. Since they are the party in power, they get to determine who the Senate Majority Leader will be for their 2019-2022 term. The incoming caucus chose Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) to be their Senate Majority Leader-elect. Sen. Pete MacGregor (R-Rockford), who was MLTA’s Legislator of the Year several years ago, was selected to be the next Senate Majority Floor Leader. On the other side of the aisle, current Senate Democratic Leader, Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) was re-elected to his leadership post. Senator-elect Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) was selected by her colleagues to be the next Democratic Floor Leader. Although future Senate committees won’t likely be named until January, Sen. Shirkey already announced that Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) will serve as the Senate Appropriations Chairman in the new term.

In the People’s Chamber (editor’s note: that’s the Michigan House of Representatives for us politically less savvy ?), Republicans also held on to their majority status but by a smaller 58-52 margin. The incoming Republican caucus selected Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) to be their next Speaker, Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) to be the Majority Floor Leader-elect and Rep. Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) to be Speaker Pro Temp-elect. This leadership team gives northern Michigan a very strong position in the legislature. The incoming Democratic caucus selected Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) to be their Democratic Leader and Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) to be the Democratic Floor Leader for the 2019-2020 legislative cycle. Speaker-elect Chatfield also made several announcements about committees and chairmanships for next year. He stated that he will appointed Rep. Shane Hernandez (R- Port Huron) to chair the House Appropriations Committee. He also plans to create a new committee, called the Ways and Means Committee, which will be chaired by Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Twp.). While not much information has been released about the jurisdiction of the new committee yet, it is expected to handle high priority legislation and not be restricted to a certain subject matter. Additional committee announcements are expected to be made in early January.

Prior to the New Year, the legislature still needs to complete its Lame Duck session. That is scheduled to take place from November 27th through December 20th. Assuming the schedule doesn’t change, that means there are only 12 Session days left before the end of the year. After the legislature adjourns sine die, they will reconvene on the second Wednesday in January at noon to start a new legislative cycle.

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