Nov 26, 2008

Michigan Senate promulgates 2009 Senate session schedule

The Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader has promulgated the 2009 Senate session through the summer, and it does not look very ambitious.

The Republican-controlled Senate will not meet until Jan. 14. Following that one session day, there is a tentative session set for Jan. 20 that follows the normal routine of meeting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The first solid session day is not until Jan. 27.

The schedule follows the normal routine until it takes the week of Feb. 24 off, and session continues again until the two-week spring break on April 7. Then it's back to work until the session breaks for the summer on June 25.

The Democratically-controlled House has not yet promulgated its schedule for the next session, but the first order of business will be to swear in the 44 new House members shortly after the New Year. The Senate has traditionally been the place where bills go to die, and that will most likely continue. It remains to be seen if the Senate will practice any bipartisanship this time around with the House Democrats picking up nine additional seats.

Meanwhile, there are only three session days left in the current Lame Duck session that begins next Tuesday, and it appears it will not be enough for the ambitious Lame Duck agenda. Among the things Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and other legislative leaders say they want to address in Lame Duck is the expansion of Cobo Hall in Detroit, getting an agreement for development of a light rail system along the Woodward Corridor in metro Detroit, completing action on promise zone legislation that will help communities allow residents to attend colleges free of tuition costs, addressing the surcharge on the Michigan Business Tax (MBT), foreclosure problems in the state and the workplace smoking ban.

In addition, the fiscal crisis is having a negative effect on the budget, and budget cuts may be addressed in Lame Duck. There are tentative session days set for the week of Dec. 9 and Dec. 16, and indications are they will needed and used. It's unclear if there will be marathon session days like the Legislature experienced last October and November when the budget was approved, but it's possible.

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