Last week, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley announced his intention to place a Constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot to make Michigan’s Legislature part-time. The Michigan Chamber has begun to evaluate the content of the proposal but has not yet taken a formal position.
Under the proposal, lawmakers could only meet 90 consecutive days per year unless they were called into a special session by the Governor. They would be paid per session day the average salary of a teacher. Michigan teachers earned an average of roughly $62,000 during the 2015-16 school year, according to the Center for Educational Performance and Information, and work 180 days a year. This means, under the proposal, legislators could earn approximately $31,000 per year. The amount would increase if the governor called a special session.
Reaction to the Lieutenant Governor’s proposal has been mixed, with some saying the proposal is a power grab by someone who has his sights set on being elected Governor in 2018 and thus would benefit from a weakened legislative branch. Opponents argue the proposal would limit the amount of time legislators have to address constituent needs and discourage candidates to run for office, either because they cannot take 90 days off of work each year or take a pay cut in order to serve. Others argue that a part-time legislature is successful in other states and that Michigan is one of only 10 states with some form of a full-time legislature. They argue that Michigan lawmakers are overpaid, earning an annual base salary of $71,685, the fourth-highest rate in the country.
The Michigan Chamber will keep members apprised as our position on this ballot proposal develops. Please contact Wendy Block at (517) 371-7678 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.