Skubick: Move begins (again) to eliminate Michigan Senate

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Look for a proposal to be introduced soon to eliminate the Michigan Senate. Sounds unusual? This unicameral legislature is not exactly a new idea.

State Representative Martin Howrylak spells out the plan. “We’d have a non-partisan legislature and it would be unicameral,” Rep. Howrylak claims. To which State Representative Tom Cochran responds “I just totally disagree with that.”

A unicameral or one house legislature would eliminate the Michigan senate and the voters would pick 110 members without party affiliation to fill the one house that was left over.

“My intent really is to make the legislature more like a large city council with more free flow of ideas and so good ideas are not blocked by partisan politics,” said State Rep. Martin Howrylak (R), Troy.

Dating back to the 1970’s this concept has been subject to several petitions drives and some legislative debate but each effort has failed miserably.

Opponents contend you can get better legislation when one house can check on the other and correct its mistakes.

“It’s a check and balance. The system was set up that was set up a long, long time ago by people a lot smarter than I am and it’s a check and balance. It’s a system that’s worked well,” said State Rep. Tom Cochran (D), Lansing.

But the sponsor argues the partisan system has not solved the road problem and his plan also extends term limits to 16 years. Yet he is realistic.

“Realistically it’s probably pretty slim today in this cycle but my intent is to keep that conversation going because I think that as the public, you know, a lot of things take time to sink in and get that critical mass,” said State Rep. Martin Howrylak (R), Troy.

If two thirds of the lawmakers put this on the ballot and if the voters say yes, the two house system would be abolished. Those are two big ifs.

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