Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

July 5, 2012

Governor Snyder signs over 600 laws

Changes include tax structure, motorcycle helmets

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — From taxes to motorcycle helmets, Gov. Rick Snyder and his lieutenant governor have signed 603 laws since taking office in 2011, a pace not seen in years.

The 2010 election ended divided government in Michigan and put Republicans in control of the Legislature, the governor's office and the state Supreme Court. While Snyder has vetoed some bills, most proposals that win consensus from the GOP sail to his desk and into law.

The governor focuses on quality, not quantity, spokeswoman Sara Wurfel told Mlive.com.

"It's never about a number of bills for him," she said.

Besides approving annual state budgets, Republicans have changed Michigan's tax structure, made motorcycle helmets voluntary and passed laws that haven't been friendly to unions.

Some laws have been challenged in court. A federal judge in Detroit recently stopped a law that would end payroll deduction as a way for school employees to pay union dues.

The 603 new laws roughly match the number signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, at the same point during the 2005-06 legislative seasons.

"We have had a tremendous 18 months in terms of making meaningful, long-lasting reforms that are turning Michigan around," said Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.

He said the changes "are always done with Michigan's hardworking taxpayers in mind and are focused on making government more accountable, more effective and more efficient."

Democrats in the minority in the House and Senate have a different view. They believe Republicans have favored big business over the middle class.

"Governor Snyder has been true to his promise of relentless action, but I don't see how it has been positive for Michigan families," said Rep. Richard Hammel, a Democrat from Genesee County.

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