Lawmaker voting proposal considered

A proposal to allow Michigan’s state lawmakers to cast legislative votes from their home districts instead of only at the Capitol building has been suggested.
Mackinac Center for Public Policy President Joseph Lehman proposed the concept last week. The option, he said, would give lawmakers more flexibility to divide their time between the districts and Lansing.
Removing the geographic voting restriction would instantly change the dynamics of lawmaker-constituent relationships, election campaigns and lobbying, Lehman said. Legislators who choose more time at home instead of at the Capitol could find a healthier balance of influence from constituents versus Lansing-based special interests, he added.
State House and Senate practices require votes to be cast at the Capitol, which was the only practical option before modern communication technology. Neither statute nor the state constitution addresses the subject. Lehman, however, said the Open Meetings Act may need revision in order to accommodate hearings and meetings conducted remotely.
Lehman proposed the change at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference, where he and former Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville discussed the idea of eliminating or lengthening legislative term limits in Michigan.

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