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Michigan Senate Kicks Off Last Week Of 'Lame Duck' A Day Early To Reach Roads Deal

Dec 15, 2014

The state Senate will meet for a rare Monday session to kick off the final week of the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.

The goal is to get a head start on finding a compromise plan to boost road funding. 

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he also wants to hold votes this week on easing legislative term limits.

“If we can get that kind of support, then I would like to take it up,” said Richardville. “That and the roads were the two things I thought that were important to me before we ended this session, so I’m going to give it one shot, at least.”

Richardville himself is term-limited after this year. He has introduced a plan that would let lawmakers run for additional terms if they collect enough petition signatures. That proposal would have to be approved by Michigan voters.

The Senate could also vote this week on a bill meant to protect religious practices from government interference.

The Senate leader says he’s still gauging Republicans’ interest in the measure.

“It’s not a passionate fervor,” he said. “But I think, in general, if it were put in front of them, a lot of them would be supportive.”

“Right now we’ve got a lot of other things that are lined up and have been waiting for a long time. That’s a relatively new thing to our caucus. So, I’m not going to let things leapfrog to the front of the prioritized agenda unless I get a clamoring for it.”

A number of high-profile bills died in the Legislature last week because they failed to meet a constitutional deadline. Those include a bill that would change the way Michigan awards its Electoral College votes for president and a bill to ban local community benefits agreements. 

But although those specific bills are dead, lawmakers could still take up those issues if they find “vehicle bills,” which are bills that have already satisfied the deadline that can be substituted with language containing those measures.