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Politics & Government

Political Roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas: The start of the new session

The new legislative session kicked off yesterday in Lansing.

Republican lawmakers were greeted by protesters angry about right to work legislation and other controversial moves made during the lame duck session. 

House Speaker Jase Bolger was reelected as leader of the house though there were two dissenting votes from Democrats in what would historically have been a unanimous vote.  

Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants talk the new session.

While, the Republicans remain in the majority in both the state House and the Senate for this new term, their numbers in the House have shrunk.

In the House, Republicans are in control 59-51. In the Senate, 28-12. Demas says the republicans will probably still be able “to get most of their agenda through without too much hassle. The Democrats don’t have that much bargaining power even though they’ve picked up five seats."

The vote for Speaker of House, again, traditionally is a unanimous vote and yet, there were these two no votes from Democrats in the House.  

Speaker Bolger spoke about cooperation in his first address, Michigan Radio’s Jenn White asked Ken Sikkema if he thought those two no votes give us some since that cooperation is going to be difficult to come by.  

Sikkema says “given all the speculation about protests and high drama and contested votes for speaker, I thought it was pretty calm for opening day and I thought there was a tone of reconciliation and bi-partisanship."