Michigan State Senate
|Michigan State Senate|
|Term limits:||2 terms (8 years)|
|2014 session start:||January 9, 2013|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Brian Calley, (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Randy Richardville, (R)|
|Minority leader:||Gretchen Whitmer, (D)|
| Democratic Party (12) |
Republican Party (26)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art IV, Sec. 2, Michigan Constitution|
|Salary:||$71,685/year + expenses|
|Last Election:||November 2, 2010 (38 seats)|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014 (38 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Michigan Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Term limits
- 5 Redistricting
- 6 Senators
- 7 Standing Senate Committees
- 8 History
- 9 External links
- 10 References
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).
As of November 2014, Michigan is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.
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 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 9 through December 31 (estimated).
After a extremely divided lame-duck session in December 2012, lawmakers are expected to have a tamer session. Major issues include the regulatory structure of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, increased transportation funding, education reform, and pension changes.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate began the legislative session on January 11.
In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 12 through mid December. A specific date is yet to be decided by the Legislature.  The 348 calendar days that the Michigan Legislature is in session during 2011 is the longest legislative session in the country.
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. 
Ethics and transparency
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Michigan was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- 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.
In 2010, the candidates running for state senate raised a total of $16,309,515 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: 
|2010 Donors, Michigan State Senate|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of Michigan||$2,652,845|
|Michigan Senate Democratic Fund||$808,605|
|Trebesh, Michael Frederick||$353,093|
|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. 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.
- 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.
- 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. Michigan's U.S. Congressional delegation decreased in size from 15 to 14 seats. A substantial population shift occurred from Detroit proper into the suburban areas.
The state legislature undertook a relatively private redistricting process. 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 2013, members of the Michigan Legislature are paid $71,685/year. Legislators can use up to $10,800/year for expenses.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of November 2014|
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.
Standing Senate Committees
The Michigan Senate has twenty (20) standing committees:
- Banking and Financial Institutions
- Economic Development
- Energy and Technology
- Families, Seniors and Human Services
- Government Operations
- Health Policy
- Local Government and Elections
- Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes
- Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
- Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing
- Regulatory Reform
- Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security
- Homeland Security and Emerging Technologies (decommissioned)
- Campaign and Election Oversight (decommissioned)
Partisan balance 1992-2013
During every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Michigan State Senate. The Michigan State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. For the final three years of the study Michigan was under Republican trifectas.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
- Michigan State Senate
- Michigan Votes, a website that tracks votes of the Michigan state senators.
- Michigan Senate Democrats
- Michigan Senate Republicans
- Michigan State Senate election results
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2000 of the American states
- South Bend Tribune, "Michigan Legislature starts tamer two-year session today," January 9, 2013
- Michigan State Legislature Sessions Schedule
- South Carolina Policy Council "50 State Legislative Session Interactive Map," February 2011
- Stateline.org, States balance budgets with cuts, not taxes, June 15, 2011
- 2010 session dates for Michigan legislature
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money: "Michigan Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Michigan Legislature "Michigan Election Law"(Referenced Statute 168.178, Michigan Compiled Laws)
- Michigan Legislature "Michigan Election Law"(Referenced Statute 168.634 (1)-(2), Michigan Compiled Laws)
- State legislative term limits
- U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Michigan Profile, 2011
- The Hill "Longtime Dem Reps. Levin and Dingell could face redistricting danger" 22 Dec. 2010
- The Detroit News, "Black caucus preps for Michigan redistricting", March 25, 2011
- Livingston Daily, "Public could get early peek at district lines", May 18, 2011
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- Michigan State Senate Rules - Chapter 1 Section 1: Senate Organization
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