News Story

This Lame Duck Was Busy

Facing an end of their trifecta, Republicans vote on hundreds of bills

Michigan legislators voted on bills at a dizzying pace during the post-election lame-duck legislative session that concluded in the early hours of Friday morning.

Members of the Lansing press corps believed it to be the most intense lame-duck session in Michigan history, with more session days, more late-night sessions, and more bills passed than ever.

A total of 883 roll-call votes were taken in the Senate and House in November and December this year, far outpacing the number of votes taken in recent lame-duck sessions, according to an analysis of votes tallied by Michigan Votes, which, since 2001, has described every bill voted on and vote taken by every Michigan legislator.

The flurry of bills being voted on can be attributed to the the election of Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer, breaking a Republican “trifecta” — control of both chambers of the Legislature and the governorship — which was the situation for eight years. When Whitmer takes office next month, in other words, it will mark the end of a period when Republicans could enact the public policies they prefer with Democrats unable to prevent it.

The state Senate held 463 roll-call votes and the House held 420 during the lame-duck session this year, for a total of 883 votes. That’s far more than the total number of roll call votes taken in the post-election sessions of 2016 (501), 2014 (545), 2012 (675) and 2010 (381).

Lame-duck legislation refers to bills voted on after the November election but before the final adjournment of the Legislature at year-end.