Nov 10, 2008
Time running short on Michigan Legislative session
Time is running short for the Michigan Legislature to act on a number of bills before they die when the Legislature adjourns for the year on December 27.
All bills not signed into law before December 27 will die, and they must be reintroduced when the new Legislature goes into session on January 6. There are only five scheduled session days in the Lame Duck session before the legislature adjourns, with six tentative session days. This week the Legislature will meet on Wednesday and Thursday before it takes a two-week fall, or deer hunting, break before it comes back on December 2.
Among the Lame Duck priorities are reaching an agreement on expanding 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) and the workplace smoking ban.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm also wants action on proposals to try and reduce home foreclosures in the state, such a proposal that would allow for a 90-day freeze on foreclosures. In addition, action on the complex Blue Cross/Blue Shield individual market bills could be in the works.
Hundreds of hours of man-hours have been put into the package that was first passed out of the House way back in October 2007. The Senate approved its own version, and a conference committee to iron out the differences between the two bodies was just appointed in September. If the bills are not approved before the 27th the process begins anew. With 46 new members taking the oath of office in the House in January, there may be some incentive to get the bills done in Lame Duck.
The financial crisis could also have an effect on the situation. BC/BS has warned that it is facing a potential financial disaster if changes are not made to the state's individual coverage market.