Michigan's full-time legislature rarely meets in summer, especially in an election year, but that hasn't stopped political games from being played over whether lawmakers should be in session.
House Republicans held a news conference last week to ask Democrats who control the chamber to immediately return to session and address the state's high unemployment and home foreclosure rates _ issues that have been around for far longer than this summer.
The GOP props included a picture of the Capitol with a "gone fishing" sign slapped across it. Later, the Michigan Republican Party sent out news releases complaining that a handful of House Democrats in districts the GOP hopes to win this fall have "worked only one day this summer" while costing taxpayers $13,000 each.
The fact that the same is true of GOP House members wasn't mentioned. Neither was the fact that the Republican-led state Senate hasn't met much this summer.
Didn't meet much last summer either (remember?) and they were facing a massive budget crisis at the time. This is nothing new to the Legislature - even when they were led by the now complaining DeRoche, summer was always a time to take off.
A check of 2005-06 records, when DeRoche was House speaker, shows the House's summer session schedule wasn't much busier then. The House met with enough members to hold a quorum just twice during July and August 2005 and three times during those two months in 2006.
Democratic Floor Leader Steve Tobocman of Detroit dismissed the recent GOP criticism as political posturing in an election year. Tobocman said he'd stack up Democratic session schedules against the GOP's anytime.
"They'd rather do political stunts than be at the negotiating table," Tobocman said of House Republican leaders. The House held 14 session days in June, although it has met only once since then.
Go read the whole article - very well done, with comparisons made to other states and how they operate. There is a companion piece as well.
Thank you AP. Keep up the good work.