Lt. Gov. Calley proposes part-time legislature

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley

Likely gubernatorial candidate Brian Calley announced Tuesday that he is leading a ballot drive to make the Michigan Legislature part-time, saying his proposal would let lawmakers conduct the state's business but leave less time for "procrastination, politics and posturing".

Many thought Calley would be announcing his candidacy for governor. They now are in session off and on throughout the year.

But instead, Calley said today he will get heavily involved in the campaign to change Michigan's constitution and make the state's Legislature part-time, rather than the full-time body that it is now.

Calley went on to say that this measure would save tax dollars and give them more time to live and work under the very laws they pass.

"Michigan is one of only nine states with a full time, year around legislature".

The proposal would cut legislators' pay by more than half so it's commensurate with an average teacher's compensation and based on how many days they're in session compared with the number of school days.

Michigan Democratic Party chairman Brandon Dillon, said the issues we have in Michigan are not because we have a part-time or a full-time legislature - it's because the Legislature doesn't reflect the priorities of people in the state.

Calley also said that his proposal would cut lawmakers' pensions and health-care benefits.

To chants of "clean it up" Calley proposed an initiative to amend the MI constitution and institute a part-time legislature. Organizers would need to collect more than 315,000 valid signatures to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot in 2018.

In 2014, a group of citizens pushed a similar ballot initiative, but failed to gather enough signatures.

In addition, Rep. Michael Webber, R-Rochester, introduced a resolution in January to shift Michigan's Legislature to part-time status starting in 2019.

Legislators could meet no more than 90 consecutive days a year under the plan, unless the governor calls a special session. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Government Operations.

The push for a part-time legislature has been gaining steam in conservative circles. Gov. Rick Snyder is term-limited and can not run for re-election. "And we never will again" and had pictures of both Gov. Rick Snyder and Calley.

Matt Grossmann is an associate professor of political science at Michigan State University, where he directs the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

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