Traverse City Record-Eagle

Other Views

January 9, 2013

Another View: State should have part-time legislature

We're sure it was unintentional, but the speed in which the lame-duck Michigan Legislature passed hundreds of bills last month has proved what many have been saying for years: Michigan should have a part-time Legislature.

In the last few days of 2012, state lawmakers sent 282 bills to Gov. Rick Snyder. And while Snyder rejected a few — most notably the proposal to allow concealed weapons in schools and at many public functions — it was obvious that prolonged debate is not always necessary.

Of course, in this case, Republicans rushed to judgment mostly because the votes needed to pass many of the bills might not be there at the start of 2013 when the November-elected lawmakers take office.

That, we think, is beside the point when giving consideration to a part-time Legislature.

In comparison to many other states, Michigan's Legislature is grossly overpaid.

Our Legislature is in session for about 90 to 110 days, and lawmakers are paid $82,450, which includes $10,800 for expenses but does not include the cost of a complete package of fringe benefits.

In comparison, Florida pays its lawmakers, who are scheduled to work 60 days, only $35,556.

And in Texas, which has a population more than twice that of Michigan, state lawmakers earn only $16,930 for 70 days of work.

Past initiative efforts, which were supported by only a handful of lawmakers from Oakland and Macomb counties, have not made it on the ballot.

It's time to renew that effort.

If anything, the recent actions of the lame-duck Legislature show Michigan does not need full-time lawmakers making more than $80,000 for what is less than full-time work.

The Oakland Press,

Pontiac

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