State Representative Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) recently sat down with WMUK’s Gordon Evans to discuss recent action in the Legislature and to look ahead to a new session. Some highlights:
Vote for Speaker
Two Democrats voted against Marshall Republican Jase Bolger for Speaker of the House. Traditionally the vote has been unanimous. McCann says his vote for Bolger was difficult to cast. In the end McCann says he decided it’s a ceremonial vote and would not affect whether Bolger remained Speaker.
But McCann says the end of the last term has affected how the House operates. He says the way the “Right to Work” law was passed affected the trust and cooperative spirit of the Legislature. McCann says real bi-partisanship should include both sides being asked to contribute to the issues of the day. He says that hasn’t been how the House has operated the last two years.
In his address to the Legislature after the vote for speaker, Bolger mentioned improving early childhood education as a goal for the new session. McCann says it’s good to see people embrace how important early childhood education is in Michigan. But he says the question will be how to pay for it. McCann says that’s also the case with improving roads. While Democrats and Republicans want better roads, McCann says the increase in vehicle registration fees proposed by Governor Snyder last year doesn’t have support from either party. McCann says it would hurt middle-class families.
Republicans control the House, Senate and Governor’s office. But McCann says Democrats will continue to push for more funding for education, creating more and better jobs, and “improving Democracy.” He says that includes making it easier for people to vote through early voting and no reason absentee voting. McCann also says the drawing of legislative districts has polarized the Legislature. He says having so many safe seats doesn’t encourage compromise or bipartisanship.
McCann also indicated he would likely support proposals in the Senate to reform how appropriations are used to shield laws from facing a referendum, and to essentially eliminate the so-called “lame duck” session. The bill are being introduced by state Senator Glen Anderson, and not likely to see action in either chamber.
Gongwer News Service Editor Zach Gorchow recently said on WMUK that defeating Governor Rick Snyder and taking control of the Legislature in 2014 is the Democrats’ top priority. McCann didn’t disagree with that statement. He says Democrats want to see a different governor. McCann says his party wants to repeal the pension tax, and to restore money for education