News Story

Michigan Democrats will lose House majority but hold speakership

As 54-54 House tie looms, Democrat Joe Tate keeps gavel

Correction: An earlier version of this story cited an incorrect roll call vote.

The Nov. 7 election cost Michigan Democrats their House majority. Reps. Kevin Coleman, D-Westland, and Lori Stone, D-Warren, won their mayoral races and will resign their seats in the House.

This will drop the Democrats from a 56-54 majority to a 54-54 tie. The total number of House members will drop from 110 to 108. By Michigan law, House votes require a majority of lawmakers, not just a majority of those present. A 108-member House requires 55 votes to pass a bill. Without at least one House Republican voting with Democrats, a bill will not pass.

In times past, a deadlocked House has led to a shared speakership.

But thanks to House Rule 77, House Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit, will hold the gavel alone when the House splits 54-54.

Rule 77 was the final House rule of the 102nd Legislature. Pictured below, Rule 77 sets the terms for an equally divided House.

Only in the event of a 55-55 tie is a new vote held for the Speaker. In a 54-54 tie it defaults to the current speaker, Tate.

Rule 77 was passed Jan. 11, in House Resolution 1 of 2023. The resolution passed in a voice vote, where no tally was taken.

The soon-to-be vacated House seats will now be subject to special runoff elections, which will likely take months.

This will not be the first time the Michigan House has been evenly divided. Thirty years ago there was a shared speakership in Michigan.

On Jan. 13, 1993, Reps. Curtis Hertel Sr., D-Detroit, and Paul Hillegonds, R-Holland, were unanimously elected co-speakers of the Michigan House.

As of Wednesday, Coleman and Stone still hold their seats and Democrats still hold a majority. Coleman is expected to take his new office Nov. 17, The Detroit News reports. Stone will assume her new office within weeks.

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.