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Michigan State Legislature begins fall session

House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) speaking into a microphone
Rick Pluta
House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) has said there's a lot of work to be done as the Legislature convenes for fall 2023 session.

Updated September 9, 2023 at 2:36 p.m. ET

The Michigan Legislature ends its summer recess Wednesday and returns to Lansing to begin its fall session.

Democrats used their new House and Senate majorities to push through pent-up priorities during the first part of the session. There are still some agenda items Democrats would like to tick off their list, including repealing some abortion restrictions that remain on the books and passing laws to address climate change.

“These are things that so many Michiganders recognize are needed, badly needed and are going to make a huge difference for people,” Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) told Michigan Public Radio. “So, we’ve got an opportunity. I think that we’re all really committed. We’re going to work extremely hard to get as much done as we can.”

The Senate agenda is light this week, but the House has some bills to wrap up and send to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Those include setting the minimum age to get married to 18 years old and restoring local school districts’ ability to set their own calendars without seeking state permission to start classes before Labor Day.

House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) said there’s a lot on the to-do list before the Legislature wraps up for the year. He says some things may have to wait for 2024.

“We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We also know that we have to understand what the timeline is and what our capabilities and our limitations are.”

There’s no word yet on exactly how long the Legislature will meet before recessing until after the new year. There are some issues that could be affected by when the Legislature adjourns, including the timing of Michigan’s presidential primary.

Corrected: September 6, 2023 at 2:37 PM EDT
A previous version of this story had a grammatical error in the headline. This has been corrected.
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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