Time to target lawmakers’ hunting break

There’s a lot of important work that won’t be accomplished in Lansing for the next couple of weeks.

And you can thank the Legislature’s annual November hunting/Thanksgiving break for that.

As Laura Berman so puckishly points out in her Detroit News column, the break doesn’t have very much to do with legislators heading for the woods and bringing home the venison. Very few have even acquired a hunting license. Some of the non-hunters justify the break as an opportunity for some grassroots work with constituents, or to spend time with families.

Well and good, but this year in particular, the lawmakers’ extended break from sessions in the Capitol should give us all plenty to be steamed about.

Unfinished business on an important business tax remains unfinished.

There will be no work on a legislative remedy for the much-battered Jan. 15 primary election. The battle instead moves to the Michigan Court of Appeals in the wake of an Ingham County Circuit Court ruling that declared the primary law unconstitutional in its current form.

The Kreiner fix bill will continue to bob around in the backwaters of the Senate Judiciary Committee. A measure to repeal Michigan’s drug immunity law will languish on the Republican side of the aisle.

Some would say these two measures would continue to be ignored even if the lawmakers were actually earning their keep between now and the end of the month. Those who say this would be right. Those who say it’s high time to get going on this legislation would be especially right.

In the meantime, a citizens’ group is planning organizational meetings in Clarkston this week to push for a petition drive to make official what seems to be the current state of affairs – a part-time Legislature. They need 300,000 signatures to put a proposal on the November 2008 ballot. Plans call for a 90-day limit on session days, dropping the number of lawmakers from 148 to 100, no life-time health benefits, frozen salaries and an extension of term limits for some elected officials.

Throw in a ban on the hunting break and I’ll be the first to sign.


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