Skubick: Key House vote calls for extraordinary decision

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The Michigan House last week, by the narrowest of margins, passed a measure to revamp the teacher retirement system.

But the measure almost failed because one key vote was in the hospital with pneumonia.

The state’s education lobby, including teachers unions, was feverishly battling outside the Michigan House to kill the Republican-backed teacher pension bill last week.

Inside the House Republican Speaker Tom Leonard and his team were feverishly battling to find 55 votes to pass the measure.

Despite hours of behind the scenes maneuvering, Mr. Leonard was still one vote short.

Meanwhile second-term Republican lawmaker Rep. Larry Inman was feverishly battling a bad case of pneumonia at a nearby Lansing hospital when the phone rang in his room.

Rep. Inman picks up the narrative there. “Yes and they say get out of that hospital and get over here to vote. We don’t have 55 votes.”

He describes what he was dealing with. “They had me all wired-up and oxygen on me and the antibiotics and breathing treatments going.”

The doctors were not enthusiastic about unplugging everything.

“I was at the point when I could easily get out of the hospital,” explained Rep. Inman. “Probably wasn’t overly recommended.”

The Republican leadership kept the voting board open while they waited for Mr. Inman and his 55th vote to show up.

He left the hospital, took a shower, put on a suit and headed for his seat on the House floor.

“It gave me a new perspective on government. No matter where you are at or what’s happening in your life, if you are able to walk and talk, you better get down here and vote.”

And he did vote providing a badly needed win for the Republican Speaker.

So did anybody say thank him for forsaking his own health to do this? Nope.

“They said welcome to the House,” said Rep. Inman.

As for the teachers, they wish he had stayed in that hospital bed.

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