Friday, January 23, 2009

Just For The Record

Seems there is a little mistake in today's column from a respected Lansing journalist.

Well, more than a little. Big, actually. And easily corrected by anyone with a library card.

Last year the House and Senate spent around 100 days in Lansing. While they are technically back in session this month, they are not exactly getting off to an urgent start.

You can thank the governor for that, in part.

Lawmakers need to see her blueprint for action, but they'll have to wait until Feb. 3 to hear her State of the State Address.

It was not always thus.

Previous governors spoke within the first two weeks of January.

Under this governor, it's always late January or early February.

Um, no. Dates of the State of the State Addresses of John Engler, 1998-2002, are as follows:

January 29th, 1998
January 28th, 1999
January 19th, 2000
January 31st, 2001
January 23rd, 2002

And one Peter Luke column from 1/20/2002 indicates that Big John's first address in 1991 didn't come until February 11th. It's hard to find records online beyond that; last year Dome Magazine indicated that it was Blanchard who turned it into the really big show that it is today. Previous governors simply wrote a message to the legislature that "frequently went unnoticed".

So, I'm not trying to pick on Engler here, just pointing out a factual error that is easily corrected with a simple search. Hard to tell when the date started getting pushed deeper into January because most of this stuff is located in deep archives that you have to go to the library to see, but my guess would be that it started with Blanchard.

One other thing. I've certainly been one to skewer the legislature for their long vacations, did it just recently as a matter of fact, so I don't have a lot of room to talk, but, the statement indicating that they have to wait for a "blueprint for action" gets totally blown out of the water by the House activity that occurred yesterday.

Legislation significantly altering how property taxes are assessed, banning certain write-in candidates from the ballot and instituting state contract and economic development incentive preferences for Michigan workers were among the some 119 bills and five constitutional amendments introduced in the House on Thursday.

The House did not introduce bills during its first session day last week, unlike the Senate. But the number of House bills introduced Thursday significantly dwarfs the Senate's own 18 bills and one constitutional amendment introduced thus far this term.

Mea culpa to the House, looks like you have been busy after all. I'm willing to eat some crow on that one.

How about you, Tim?