What’s on tap for Michigan’s lame-duck session

Michigan Capitol Building, rotunda
This file photo shows the interior of rotunda dome at the state Capitol Building in Lansing, Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In two weeks, the Michigan Legislature will return to Lansing to take care of unfinished business. For nine days scattered over three weeks, they will look at bills that they have not yet completed but feel need to get done before the first of the year.

It’s called the lame-duck session, and the end-of-the-year meetings can sometimes get a little crazy.

“My goal would be to do no harm, first and foremost,” said state Rep. Chris Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township, who is about to experience his first lame-duck session.

More than a third of his colleagues will not be returning in January but will still be able to vote on important issues in November and December. So what might they vote on?

“There’s some desire to get something done on the energy front,” Afendoulis said. “I think one of the things that complicates that now is that we’re going to have a new (federal) administration, and how are they look at these rule interpretations that the current administration has put in place?”

The energy bill has passed the Senate and was created — at least in part — in response to federal rules. So does that change the may Michigan’s statute should look?

Maybe, said State Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan.

“We were in session the 9th and 10th of November and that did come up when we were talking about the energy bill. But then again, we also remembered how very slowly, certainly, the way the federal government works and we’ll see,” she said.

The House will almost certainly change the Senate plan, which means both chambers would have to deal with it in a short session.

Energy will likely be the biggest issue, but there are any number of bills already passed and awaiting action by one chamber or the other that could move forward, including updated rules for the Freedom of Information Act and pension reform, among other things.

The legislature will reconvene on Nov. 29.