Skubick: Is linking part-time legislature and term limits on the table?

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Michigan voters may get a chance to vote on two proposals dealing with a part-time legislature and an expansion of term limits.

But linking the two issues is getting mixed reviews from local lawmakers.

Lt. Gov Brian Calley’s petition drive to create a part-time legislature has spawned another possible competing ballot question to expand the term limit law and link that to a part-time House and Senate.

Senate Republican leader Arlan Meekhof is looking at that.

Locally two senators have different opinions.

“I think term limits ought to be a little longer and not forever,” said Sen. Rick Jones.

He agrees with linking term limits and a part-time legislature.

Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr has a different view. “Clearly term limits should be lengthened but I don’t like the part-time legislature.”

Sen. Mike Kowall opposes term limits, Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker backs them and Senator Margaret O’Brien has concerns with the Calley proposal and is grappling with whether lawmakers should put the two issues on the ballot.

“Experience here in the legislature does have its value and there are concerns about it,” explains Se. Kowall. “It’s what the people want to do, not necessarily what the legislators necessarily want.”

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker supports linking the two. “I think it’s important that the people get a right to vote on it.”

Sen. Margaret O’Brien adds her thoughts, “my concern is because it was a petition that got it on the ballot, should it be petition signatures that would revise it?”

Meanwhile, a survey of 100 political insiders predict voters would approve a part-time legislature but 67 percent don’t believe Mr. Calley will get it on the ballot.

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