Longtime Capitol wonk Tim Skubick says that although 56 votes in the House or 20 in the Senate will let you do as you wish, there’s two more important numbers in Lansing: 44 & 30:
The â€œ44â€ represents the number of newbie lawmakers in the House. They are a force to reckon with….the Bipartisan Freshman Caucus has been formed with 26 Democrats and 18 Republicans. They believe they were sent to Lansing to change the culture â€” i.e. stop all the partisan bickering and work cooperatively for the citizens and not necessarily for the two political parties. They’ve even signed an agreement that binds them to bring back â€œintegrity and professionalismâ€ to the House, promote â€œcivility and camaraderie even when we disagree,â€ and they want to be remembered for steering the state â€œaway from economic calamity and unnecessary bickering.
The â€œ30â€ are the state senators who will be tossed out of their seats on December 31, 2010, because of term limits. As lame ducks, they can’t run again for the Senate. And unless they are running for some other office, they don’t have to fear the folks back home â€” which frees them to vote their conscience, and who knows where that could lead?
The Center for Michigan looks at how coalition-style governing is gaining steam across the country and wonders too if these 44 might be able to make some change happen in Michigan.
The leader of Michigan’s Bipartisan Freshman Caucus the Rep. Bill Rogers said in this news release:
We want to ensure that through the process of resolving the immense problems of Michigan, we know each other on a level that presents civility and camaraderie even when we disagree on policy issues. We must look beyond partisanship and philosophical divides in order to help people and strengthen Michigan’s future.
We all know that R&D stands for research and development, a key component that drives our economy and creates jobs, but R&D also stands for Republicans and Democrats, and we all must work together cohesively as well if we want to fix Michigan’s economy. The bipartisan caucus is a huge positive step in the right direction.