In November Democrats were successful in obtaining the governorship by electing Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer, the office of the Attorney General (Dana Nessel) and the Office of the Secretary of State with Jacelyn Benson. Democrats re-elected U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and flipped two U.S. House seats.
Democrats narrowed the Republican majorities in the State Legislature where Democrats flipped five seats for the biggest gain of seats by a Senate caucus since 1974. Republicans hung onto majorities in both the House and the Senate. Senate Democrats narrowed the Republican majority to 22-16, House Democrats gained five seats, leaving the GOP with a 58-52 majority.
Governor Rick Snyder has again pushed his call for greater civility in politics. He has pushed the theme several times in the past year or two. In keeping with his past remarks on the subject, he did not name names of those he sees as contributing to the problem. "Let's act like a family," he said. "Let's be the role model for civility"
The comments came at an "exit interview" and it gave Governor Snyder a chance to remark on what he said were his proudest achievements: that young residents can build a career in Michigan, the resurgence of Detroit and Medicaid expansion. Mr. Snyder said he was especially pleased about what he saw as an improved relationship between Detroit and the rest of the state. He commented he wished he had been able to sign legislation addressing auto insurance rates. Snyder suggested that Democratic Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer and the Republican-led Legislature work towards areas of agreement early in 2019 to get some quick wins.
The incoming Senate Republican Majority has elected their new leadership team consisting of Senator Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake as Senate Majority Leader. Senator Jim Stamas, R-Midland will serve as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford will serve as Senate Majority Floor Leader. Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering will be the Speaker of the House next session and Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona will be the House Majority Floor Leader and Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell will become the House Speaker Pro-Tempore.
Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint, will remain the Senate Minority Leader and incoming senator/Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit will serve as Senate Minority Floor Leader. Rep. Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills will be the House Minority Leader and Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor will serve as Minority Floor Leader.
House Republicans have not selected their Appropriations Chair and all other committee assignments in the Senate and the House will be completed sometime in February.
The Legislature returned to Lansing on November 27 for the "Lame Duck" session with only 12 days scheduled for the session. Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba is moving forward with the latest draft of SB 396, legislation designed to create a statewide policy for loggers to follow when dealing with county road agencies during spring thaw. The County Road Association continues to oppose the bill.