With Legislature in Recess, We Look Ahead to Fall
After a flurry of legislative activity and completion of the budget in the first half of the year, the Legislature adjourned for the summer in early July and will return after Labor Day weekend. Governor Whitmer has announced she will deliver a “What’s Next” address on August 30 that will lay out her policy priorities for the fall.
The outcomes of the November mayoral elections in Warren and Westland will have a direct impact on what gets done this year and what the early 2024 legislative agenda will look like. Two Democratic legislators in the House are running for mayor in their respective hometowns of Warren (Rep. Lori Stone) and Westland (Rep. Kevin Coleman). Should both legislators win those mayoral elections, the House would become tied at 54-54. This means any legislation could not move forward without support from both House Democrats and Republicans until Governor Whitmer calls special elections to fill those vacancies. We anticipate the process will take some time, meaning the House may be tied for the first few months of 2024.
We haven’t seen a tied chamber in the Legislature since the early 90s when the House was tied 55-55 for two years. Even if the House does end up tied for a few months, House rules require a majority vote to make a change in leadership. This means House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) will continue as Speaker with the authority to set the agenda and House committee assignments.
It’s also possible that the Legislature could adjourn for the year earlier than December 31. If this happens, the 90-day clock for legislation that did not have immediate effect would begin early. Legislation only takes effect immediately upon signature by the Governor if a ⅔ vote is required in each chamber of the Legislature. A number of bills signed by the Governor this year did not have immediate effect, so those bills take effect 90 days after the end of the session year. Whether or not the Legislature intends adjourn early of course remains to be seen.