Lawmakers take sides on part-time legislature proposal

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The proposal to create a part-time legislature is attracting plenty of political buzz on Mackinac Island this week as folks are taking sides.

Gov. Rick Snyder came close to endorsing the idea, even though opponents argue its bad government.

"I don't think its bad government," he said. "When you look at the majority of states that do it."

Michigan is one of nine states with a full time legislature. And Lt. Gov. Brian Calley wants lawmakers to stay in town for 90 days and then get out of town.

His critics say because he plans to run for governor he is using the issue to pander for votes.

"It is because this stuff polls well," said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Michigan). "Because you beat up the institution and people say yeah, go get them. But it does not solve the problems that we face. It is a cynical, unbecoming ploy."

The Senate Democratic leader Jim Ananich and Senate GOP leader Arlan Meekhof ranked the proposal on a scale of one to 10.

"A negative two," Meekhof said.

"We agree on that," Ananich said.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow fears that under a part time legislature, businesses will let their employees serve and then they will serve on behalf of their employers. She says that leads to a conflict of interest.

"Someone comes in and spends their time in a part-time legislature and they advocate for their full-time employer," Stabenow said. "So I think their full-time employer should be the people of Michigan."

Calley counters the opponents are not representative of typical citizens.

"Go out there to the streets door to door and you will find enormous support," Calley said. "The people at this conference are not representative in the entire state of Michigan."

Calley needs 300,000 petition signatures to place this on the 2018 statewide ballot.