State legislators met in Lansing at noon on Wednesday, January 9, to begin Michigan’s 100th legislative session. In what was mostly ceremonial and procedural, Senate and House leaders outlined their priorities and set forth rules for their respective chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) is joined in leadership by Majority Floor Leader Peter MacGregor (R- Rockford) and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint), with Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland) appointed as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senator MacGregor also continues as chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Sub-committee, a position he has held for the past two years. Senator Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), beginning his first term in the Senate after serving in the House of Representatives since 2016, will chair the Senate Health Policy Committee.
Traditionally, Senate Bill 1 indicates the top priority of the Senate Majority Leader for the session. As no Senate bills were introduced this week, it is unknown at this time what Senator Shirkey’s first priority will be, although he identified auto insurance reform as a focus.
Across the aisle, Representative Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) will serve as Speaker of the House. In his speech to the chamber, he outlined his priorities as reducing auto insurance rates, funding infrastructure, and increasing government transparency, while maintaining a strong level of bipartisanship. This sentiment was echoed by Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills), who indicated her support of Speaker Chatfield’s priorities and said she is focused on working together for the best of all Michiganders.
While the House has not yet announced committee assignments, several bills were introduced this week, ranging from civil asset forfeiture reform to repealing the pension tax.
This year brings new challenges to the majority party in each chamber, with Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) leading the split in control of the state government—a first in eight years. Both House and Senate Republicans saw their majority control narrow as Democrats gained five seats in each chamber in the November election.
As the new legislature—comprised of many new senators and representatives—gets underway, now is a crucial time to educate legislators about the value of Family Medicine and advocate for policies and legislation important to Family Physicians and patients. The upcoming Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day—February 26 in downtown Lansing—is a prime opportunity for you to do just that. Your voice is essential! REGISTER TODAY FOR this free event for members of MAFP and Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians.