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Michigan House Republicans try again at shared leadership

Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan.
Rick Brewer
Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan.

Michigan House Republicans are again trying their hand at gaining more say in day-to-day operations in the chamber while it’s at a temporary even split.

The latest proposal involves coming up with a new bipartisan rules committee to set the agenda for which bills come up for House votes. Normally the majority party sets the agenda on its own.

Jeremiah Ward is spokesperson for Republican Minority Leader Matt Hall (R-Richland Twp).

Ward said the rules committee would prevent a recent pattern of bills going up for a vote but not receiving enough support to pass.

“It would review any legislation before it comes to the floor, would make sure that the House is focused on issues that have gone through a collaborative process, have bipartisan support and the rules committee can also help make changes necessary to the bill’s consensus and get legislators on both sides of the aisle on board,” Ward said.

House Democratic leadership is unlikely to take Republicans up on their offer.

“The Speaker has made an honest effort to work with the minority leader. I don’t know that the same can be said of Rep. Hall,” Amber McCann, a spokesperson for Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) said in a text.

Under Hall’s proposal, the rules committee would be evenly split, with he and Tate each appointing three members. The co-chairs of the committee would take turns serving as presiding officer of the House.

Ward said voters want more collaboration from their lawmakers.

“The people of Michigan want their legislators, their representatives to focus on tackling big issues in the state, whether that’s education, kids who can’t read, roads -- our local roads are crumbling -- or the economy, you see personal incomes declining,” Ward said.

Democrats have been maintaining control of the gavel in the House under the current House rules for this session, despite the even split. They’re expected to regain their slim majority in special elections scheduled for next month in Democratic-leaning districts.

Colin Jackson is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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