Clock Ticking for Lawmakers in "Lame Duck" Session

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Time's ticking for democrats looking to pass legislation this year.

"We have things on the plate less likely to pass in a Republican controlled house or senate," said Assistant House Leader Mark Meadows, a democrat.

And come January first that's exactly what they'll face. Republicans take control of the House and strengthen their majority in the Senate. Until then the legislature's in a "lame duck" session. And Senate leadership says that session ends Thursday.

"I don't know whether they've all decided they want to go home and not work any more," Meadows said. "There are 30 of them, or 29 of them, who won't be coming back."

The Senate's deadline gives legislators just a few days to pass any bills they've been working on. Some say the fact that deadline has come up so early suggests there's little left to agree on.

"If people thought there would be something to be accomplished that they agreed with maybe they'd be willing to stay in session longer," said MSU Assistant Political Science Professor Matt Grossmann.

Grossmann says anything that hasn't passed yet likely won't.

"We just have leftover controversial issues and they're still just as controversial as they were before the election," he said.

Not to mention soon enough democrats will have fewer votes.

"They don't have much incentive to come to the table now when they'll actually have a lot more people on their side come January," he said.

Grossmann says non-partisan bills stand a better chance of passing this session but those are few and far between.

Before the session ends, lawmakers may finalize a plan to distribute more than $300 million in federal money to Michigan schools.


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