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Legislature wraps up for ’23 as House heads to 54-54 split

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
(Photo: Lester Graham/Michigan Radio)

The Legislature is all but officially done for 2023. That’s as House Democrats are about to at least temporarily lose their majority.

Among the final actions of the 2023 session, the Legislature sent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer bills to boost the requirements for reporting assets and potential conflicts of interest by state elected officials and to enact new felony charges for desecrating churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship.

The financial disclosure bills are needed to enforce requirements under an amendment to the Michigan Constitution adopted last year by voters.

The House and the Senate will return to the Capitol one more time on Tuesday for the sparsely attended formality of adjourning “sine die” with no plans to return until mid-January. But GOP lawmakers still cried foul as an adjournment resolution was adopted, saying there was no reason to wrap up business this early.

Adjournment starts the clock ticking on laws that cannot take effect before 90 days have passed. That includes new gun rules, lifting some abortion restrictions and clearing the way for a February presidential primary.

State Reps. Lori Stone (D-Warren) and Kevin Coleman (D-Westland) are resigning to assume new positions as their hometown mayors. Once that happens, the House Democratic majority will evaporate and the chamber will be tied 54-54.

Democrats will still officially remain in control since Republicans don’t have enough votes to change the rules or unseat the House leadership.

At that point, it will be up to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to set up a schedule for special elections.

The seats in the Detroit suburbs of western Wayne County and Macomb County are considered safe Democratic districts.

Copyright 2023 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

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.