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Michigan State Senate

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Michigan State Senate

Seal of Michigan.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   2 terms (8 years)
2015 session start:   January 11, 2012
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Brian Calley, (R)
Majority Leader:   Randy Richardville, (R)
Minority leader:   Gretchen Whitmer, (D)
Members:  38
   Democratic Party (11)
Republican Party (27)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art IV, Sec. 2, Michigan Constitution
Salary:   $79,650/year + expenses
Last Election:  November 2, 2010 (38 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (38 seats)
Redistricting:  Michigan Legislature has control
Meeting place:
The Michigan Senate is the upper house of the Michigan Legislature. It consists of 38 members who are elected from districts that have an average of 260,096 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 261,538 residents.[2] The Senate meets at its capitol in Lansing

Senators are elected at the same time as the governor and serve four-year terms concurrent with the governor's term of office. Senate and gubernatorial elections are offset by two years from U.S. Presidential elections (e.g., Presidential elections were in 2000 and 2004, gubernatorial and senate elections were in 2002 and 2006). Terms for senators begin on January 1, following the November general election. Senators who have not served more than half of someone else's Senate term are eligible for two full terms (i.e. - eight years).


Article IV of the Michigan Constitution establishes when the Michigan Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 13 of Article IV states that the legislature is to convene on the second Wednesday in January of each year. Section 13 gives the Legislature the power to determine its date of adjournment through concurrent resolution.


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate will be in session from January 11 though a date yet to be determined.

Major issues

For the first time in years, legislators are anticipating an estimated $1 billion surplus. They are expected to consider proposals regarding autism, concealed weapons, elder abuse, mining and ending the personal property tax. Controversial "right-to-work" legislation may also be on the table.[3]


In 2011, the Legislature will be in session from January 12 through mid December. A specific date is yet to be decided by the Legislature. [4] The 348 calendar days that the Michigan Legislature is in session during 2011 is the longest legislative session in the country.[5]

Session highlights

In the 2011 session, Michigan was a key battleground on corporate taxes. Governor Rick Snyder had made promises during his campaign to eliminate the “Michigan Business Tax,” which was costly and difficult to calculate. Governor Snyder delivered, replacing the tax with a flat 6 percent corporate income tax. The state will recover the $1.8 billion in lost business tax revenues with $1.5 billion in higher personal income tax revenues. Current Michigan law requires the state income tax to drop to 3.9 percent by 2015. Governor Snyder's measure keeps the income tax rate at its current 4.35 percent until January 1, 2013, when it will drop to 4.25 percent. During 2011, Michigan also became the first state in more than 50 years to cut state-level unemployment benefits. [6]


In 2010, the Senate convened its session on January 13th, and it remained in session throughout the year.[7]



See also: Michigan State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Michigan Senate were held in Michigan on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was May 11, 2010 and the primary election day was on August 3, 2010.

Members eligible for 2010 re-election

District Representative Party Residence
5 Tupac Hunter Electiondot.png Democratic Detroit
6 Glenn Anderson Electiondot.png Democratic Westland
13 John Pappageorge Ends.png Republican Troy
17 Randy Richardville Ends.png Republican Monroe
19 Michael Nofs Ends.png Republican Battle Creek
23 Gretchen Whitmer Electiondot.png Democratic East Lansing
27 John Gleason Electiondot.png Democratic Flushing
28 Mark Jansen Ends.png Republican Gaines Township
32 Roger Kahn Ends.png Republican Saginaw Township

In 2010, the candidates running for state senate raised a total of $16,309,515 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [8]

Donor Amount
Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of Michigan $2,652,845
Michigan Senate Democratic Fund $808,605
Wenke, Lorence $415,100
Trebesh, Michael Frederick $353,093
Mridha, Debasish $344,773
Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association $198,846
Michigan Chamber of Commerce $169,110
Michigan Education Association $163,425
Michigan Bankers Association $149,150
Michigan Association of Realtors $123,450


Section 7 of Article 4 of the Michigan Constitution states, "Each senator and representative must be a citizen of the United States, at least 21 years of age, and an elector of the district he represents. The removal of his domicile from the district shall be deemed a vacation of the office. No person who has been convicted of subversion or who has within the preceding 20 years been convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust shall be eligible for either house of the legislature."


Whenever a vacancy occurs in the Senate, it is up to the Governor to call for a special election. A special election must be held during the next scheduled general election[9]. If the vacancy happened after the statewide primary, leaders of the respective party organizations within the Senate district can submit a list of nominees to be voted on by party leadership. A vote must be held no later than 21 days after the vacancy[10].

Term limits

See also: State legislatures with term limits

The Michigan legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Michigan Term Limits Act in 1992. That initiative said that Michigan senators are subject to term limits of no more than two four-year terms, or a total of eight years.

The first year that the term limits enacted in 1992 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 2002.[11]


See also:Redistricting in Michigan

The state legislature has the power to redraw district boundaries. Changes to the boundaries are made in the form of regular legislation, which means the maps are subject to the Governor's veto. In 2010, the House and the Senate organized redistricting committees to handle drafting the maps. As a result of the 2010 elections, both chamber's of Michigan's legislature and Michigan's governorship were controlled by Republicans.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan's population fell from 9.94 million to 9.88 million between 2000 and 2010.[12] Michigan's U.S. Congressional delegation decreased in size from 15 to 14 seats.[13] A substantial population shift occurred from Detroit proper into the suburban areas.[14]

The state legislature undertook a relatively private redistricting process.[15] A Republican-proposed plan passed with bipartisan support after the House made some changes to the Senate plan. Governor Rick Snyder signed the plan, Senate Bill 498, into law on August 9, 2011.

Notably, the original Republican maps did not include a state senate district entirely within Detroit proper. Senate Democrats suggested some changes to the Detroit-area districts, which were then incorporated and sent to the House.



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2012, members of the Michigan Legislature are paid $71,865/year. Legislators can use up to $10,800/year for expenses.[16]

The $71,865/year that Michigan legislators are paid as of 2011 is a decrease from a salary of $79,650 from the 2010 session, which was the same as they were paid during legislative sessions in 2007. Per diem is also the same.[17][18]

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 11
     Republican Party 27
Total 38


The Lieutenant Governor serves as the presiding officer of the Senate, known as the President of the Senate. The president can only vote when there is a tie. In the absence of the President, the President Pro Tempore presides. The President Pro Tempore, Assistant President Pro Tempore, and Associate President Pro Tempore are elected by a vote of a majority of the Senators.[19][20]

Current leadership

Position Representative Party
President of the Senate Brian Calley Ends.png Republican
State Senate President Pro Tempore Tonya Schuitmaker Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant President Pro Tempore Goeff Hansen Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dave Hildenbrand Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader Phil Pavlov Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Caucus Leader Rick Jones Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Caucus Leader Patrick Colbeck Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Jack Brandenburg Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Whip Darwin Booher Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Steven Bieda Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Floor Leader Tupac Hunter Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Floor Leader Hoon-Yung Hopgood Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Leader Morris Hood Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Caucus Leader Coleman Young Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Vincent Gregory Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Whip Virgil Smith Electiondot.png Democratic

List of current members

District Representative Party Residence
1 Coleman Young Electiondot.png Democratic
2 Bert Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic
3 Morris Hood Electiondot.png Democratic
4 Virgil Smith Electiondot.png Democratic
5 Tupac Hunter Electiondot.png Democratic Detroit
6 Glenn Anderson Electiondot.png Democratic Westland
7 Patrick Colbeck Ends.png Republican
8 Hoon-Yung Hopgood Electiondot.png Democratic
9 Steven Bieda Electiondot.png Democratic
10 Tory Rocca Ends.png Republican
11 Jack Brandenburg Ends.png Republican
12 Jim Marleau Ends.png Republican
13 John Pappageorge Ends.png Republican Troy
14 Vincent Gregory Electiondot.png Democratic
15 Mike Kowall Ends.png Republican
16 Bruce Caswell Ends.png Republican
17 Randy Richardville Ends.png Republican Monroe
18 Rebekah Warren Electiondot.png Democratic
19 Michael Nofs Ends.png Republican Battle Creek
20 Tonya Schuitmaker Ends.png Republican
21 John Proos Ends.png Republican
22 Joe Hune Ends.png Republican
23 Gretchen Whitmer Electiondot.png Democratic East Lansing
24 Rick Jones Ends.png Republican
25 Phil Pavlov Ends.png Republican
26 David Robertson Ends.png Republican
27 John Gleason Electiondot.png Democratic Flushing
28 Mark Jansen Ends.png Republican Gaines Township
29 Dave Hildenbrand Ends.png Republican
30 Arlan Meekhof Ends.png Republican
31 Mike Green Ends.png Republican
32 Roger Kahn Ends.png Republican Saginaw Township
33 Judy Emmons Ends.png Republican
34 Goeff Hansen Ends.png Republican
35 Darwin Booher Ends.png Republican
36 John Moolenaar Ends.png Republican
37 Howard Walker Ends.png Republican
38 Tom Casperson Ends.png Republican

Standing Senate Committees

Michigan State Senate
SLP badge.png
Senate Committees

Banking and Financial InstitutionsCommerce
Economic Development and International Investment
EducationElections and Government Reform
Energy and TechnologyFamilies, Seniors and Human Services
FinanceGovernment Operations
Health PolicyInsurance
JudiciaryLocal GovernmentMichigan Competitiveness
Natural ResourcesOutdoor Recreation and Tourism
Regulatory ReformTransportation
Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security

House Committees

The Michigan Senate has twenty (20) standing committees:

Decommissioned committees

External links