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Michigan Legislature heads into post-election 'lame duck' session

Maxim Jenkins

The Michigan Legislature is heading into its “lame duck” session with a lot of questions on how much can get accomplished in the next couple of weeks before next year’s dramatic shakeup in partisan power.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday she still hopes to make some deals with Republican leaders before the session’s over. The possibilities include some type of tax rollback, she said, as well as some budget decisions.

“I think there are some things we could find some common ground around, whether it’s giving Michiganders some relief while we’re all coping with inflation and going into the holidays or around moving up the Michigan primary,” she said.

Whitmer said moving the primary date ahead of the traditional early states would make Michigan a bigger player in choosing the presidential candidates. That was just a few hours before the Michigan Senate voted for a bill to do exactly that.

But House Speaker Jason Wentworth said he expects the lame duck session will be brief with a short to-do list. The House Republican leader said that’s because Governor Gretchen Whitmer won’t negotiate on a list of potential items that already have bipartisan support that could still get done this year.

“We have an opportunity here to work together … and, unfortunately, I don’t necessarily see that being reciprocated on the governor’s side,” he said.

Whitmer said there’s still time.

“These are things that I know have bipartisan support and if the Legislative leadership wants to address them, they will always find an eager and willing partner in me,” she said following an event in Lansing.

But maybe even more so next year after control of the House and the Senate shifts from Republicans to Democrats for the first time in nearly four decades.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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