Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fire the Michigan Senate?

A ballot question committee from Hastings called Unicameral Michigan has a new website out calling for us to fire the senate - for good.


Goal: To create a unicameral -- single-chamber--legislature for the State of Michigan.

How: By eliminating the 38-member state senate through a statewide vote.

When: A total of 317,000 valid signatures must be collected by petition during a 180-day period for the proposal to appear on the November, 2006 ballot. The petition drive is expected to begin February 1, 2006. The petition deadline is July 4, 2006.

History: Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature. The single-chamber body went into session in 1937, three years after being approved by Nebraska voters.

I'm undecided on this. I see some positives and some negatives to this.

1. Less conference committees.
2. Reduces government.
3. Prevents duplication as the state senate and house districts are both population based.
4. Makes it easier to repeal bad laws.

Negatives -
1. Sometimes gridlock is good, and I think there are too many laws out there. A bicamerial state legislature reduces the number of laws passed, including the bad ones.
2. Eliminating the senate makes it easier for tax/fee increases to pass.
3. Eliminates an extra check and balance on the government.


Randy said...

This proposal, if passed, may increase the power of lobbiests. With fewer legislators there would be a less experience and knowledge, particularly with term limits. as it is now, many representatives move on to Senate seats, adn vice-versa. Having a unicameral legislature would reduce the total years these people could serve thus reducing the total knowledge and experience of those serving and increasing the power of the various lobbies.

Anonymous said...

I admit as a Senate staffer (but hopefully soon-to-be-former one), I'm incredibly biased on this one.

But as people consider this, remember that the GOP has held the Michigan Senate after the 1983 recall of two Democratic Macomb County senators because they voted to hike the income tax.

It shouldn't surprise anyone then that some Dems (but not by any means all or even most) would prefer to abolish the Senate as they apparently don't expect to control it any time soon. During the same period, the state House has changed hands a few times.

Dan said...

Thanks for the link. The group behind the ballot proposal is from Hastings which is in Barry County. They must be the ones behind this. Barry's 60% GOP, and their senator's from Allegan County. That has to factor in their view there.

I think Valde's done a good job overall for us here in Livingston County. That factors in my decision as well.

On the other hand also from a partisan standpoint, the redistricting from 2001 helps us in the state house, and the democrats on the state senate. Districts 6 (R), 7 (R), 10 (D), 13 (R, open), 17 (R, open), 19 (D), 20 (R), 26 (D), 29 (R), 31 (D), 32 (R, open), 36 (R) and 38 (D) are either very close, or won by the president of the other party. Most of those aren't as close (Barcia, Prusi, Toy) as they are on paper due to local favortism or incumbency, but most of those open in 2010.

There are parts of both sides that appeal to my libertarian streak. Overall, I'm slightly leaning against this proposal because it reduces the chances of bad laws passing. On the fed level, if we didn't have a US House, we would have gun shows today.

BCS said...

I too like the idea of two houses - it causes more gridlock - sometimes a good thing.
I would rather see a part-time legislature as some states have. I think about six weeks would take care of business. The rest of the time they could be out earning a living like the rest of us!

Keith Richards said...

I will vote against this proposal, as I believe that it is good to have 2 chambers.

Our governnment works too hard to take our hard earned money and interfere in the lives of our citizens. Anything that makes it harder for the government to increase interference in citizens lives is good for this country.

Anonymous said...

Zandstra takes a huge lead over challengers when the topic is MCRI/affirmative action.

Anonymous said...

I am a Democrat and I hate the idea of doing away with the Senate. I persoally think Valde Garcia is worthless and has done nothing for Livingston County, so he has nothing to do with my opinion.

Lights Out Michigan said...

Okay, I think this abolish the Senate thing is silly but...

Wow. You people need to wake up and see what this government is doing to you.

First, does the Senate GOP employee remember that the GOP LOST one seat the last time they were up for a vote (2002). This would be the same year when the House GOP went UP SIX seats????

The senate GOP basically owns two Democrat seats right now (Hammerstrom and Goschka), and both of those become open due to term limits. At a present advantage of 22-16, putting those seats in jeopardy means their margin for error becomes very tight. Then, with other very vulnerable seats like VanWoerkom, Stamas and Toy being ... vulnerable, There is a betting chance that Democrats could take the Senate.

That's the first problem.

Second... Valde Garcia has done a "good job overall" ???????


Maybe if you work for the Michigan Dept of Treasury. Do you own a house? Worse, do you own a business dealing with real estate?

I first became familiar with the many sins of Valde Garcia when he voted IN FAVOR of the property tax shift in 2004 (read: property TAX INCREASE). I noted then that no fewer than NINE -- almost half the GOP senators -- voted with the taxpayers and cast a "NO" vote. Not Valde -- he voted with the pigs of government. No clearer statement of his intentions could be there than this. Here's the vote:

Additionally, he voted for an unprecedented and probably unconstitutional tax on internet purchases, even though SEVEN other GOP senators saw fit to stay strong and cast a NO vote in favor of the taxpayers:

This year, he introduced a bill to do what the governor wanted and borrow a billion bucks from -- again -- the taxpayers to loan to private companies (kind of like socialism -- ya know, like the French?). Again, seven REAL Republican senators voted NO:

Etc... I could go on. Trust me. There is more.

If there are principled Republicans bucking their leadership and standing up for the taxpayers, Garcia is generally NOT one of them. He is clearly a part of what is WRONG with the GOP senate.

If you also live in Livingston County, then STOP believing the self serving newsletters Garcia is sending to your house!!!!!

For doing a better job of keeping tabs on these crooks, sign up at this website for notifications of bills that move on your issues. If you care at all about what is happening in Michigan, then you will be glad you did:

Lights Out Michigan said...

And one other thing.

Screw the debate about abolishing the Senate. That's minor stuff.

Check out these guys:

They want to cap the growth of government and taxes FOR REAL. If they get their way, it won't matter how much Valde Garcia and the rest of the crooks want to steal from us -- the state constitution will be there to stop them.

CWB said...

This may be the European in me but I personally would like to see a proportional assembly. Republicans and Democrats would actually have to take a stand and stop pandering to the 'middle' if they had to worry about the Greens of USTP and Libertarians. There are too many elections in this state where you are forced to vote for the lesser of two evils knowing that no other candidate has a chance.

Keith Richards said...

CW burgers -

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this issue, and your point of view certainly has valid points.

In fact, the European model of democracy is used in almost every other democracy around the world so it must be taken seriously.

But in the end, I have to look at how badly Europe and many other Democracies are screwed up. While their form of Democracy is better in theory, in actual practice it leads to governments that are paralyzed by fear of public opinion. Look at how many "leaders" in Europe are afraid to take a stand on issues because they are terrified that it might cause the fall of their government.

Unfortunately, public opinion changes rapidly, often due to ignorance and inaccurate information. This can cause a government to limp from one crisis to the next, led by the leash of public opinion.

While the U.S. form of democracy is imperfect, judging from results I have to say that it has been the most successful by far.

AuH2ORepublican said...

Don't eliminate the Senate. If you think the legislature passes stupid laws now, imagine if there wasn't a second body that had to agree with what the other house approved. When Thomas Jefferson told George Washington over breakfast that he preferred a unicameral legislature, Washington asked him "why do you pour the tea into that saucer before drinking it?" When Jefferson answered "why, to cool it, of course," Washington replied "in the same manner, we need a second house of the legislature to cool the passions of the other house." (I'm paraphrasing.)