Whitmer might sign fewer laws with Democratic majority

With a Republican legislature, Whitmer signed 278 laws last year. She’s below 200 in 2023.

As of Oct. 20, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had signed 169 bills into law, per the Public Acts Table for 2023. Democrats hold the majority in both houses of the legislature. 

By this point in 2022, when Republicans held the majority in both houses, Whitmer had signed 227 bills into law, en route to signing 278 laws.

On their way out of power last year, the majority Republicans were kind enough to give Whitmer a train set. They agreed to divert $5 million per year of hotel taxes to Detroit’s QLine through 2039.

The Democrats could have done it themselves a month later. But there was no need.

Be wary when you read headlines touting bipartisanship. People make concessions for adversaries that they don’t make for friends. This bargaining and bonding is done with taxpayer money. 

Then Democrats got power and hardly knew what to do with it, after an initial checklist that included right-to-work repeal. There were too many mouths to be fed. Too many factions to placate. What passes for an idea these days is a second Michigan department of education and a second MichiganWorks office. 

Two Democratic state reps are running for mayor in their cities: Kevin Coleman of Westland and Lori Stone in Warren. If either one wins, Democrats would fall below the 56-vote threshold needed to pass a House bill.

Right now Democrats control the House 56-54. An outright majority is needed in the Michigan House, not just a majority of members present.

With a 55-54 or 54-54 split, Democrats couldn’t pass anything without Republican help.

Watch what happens in Lansing after Nov. 7, if Coleman or Stone wins. With the power to save 10 million people from taxation and regulation, will the minority party use it?

James David Dickson is managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email him at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.