State considers part-time legislature - WNEM TV 5

State considers part-time legislature

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

State House candidate Gary Glenn is spearheading a petition to amend the state constitution and would like voters to pass a measure that would make our state legislative positions a part time job.

A proposed state constitutional amendment would limit the legislature to meeting no more than 60 consecutive days each year and capping their combined salaries and benefits at no more than $35-thousand a year.

"If forty-six other states can get by with part time legislators so can Michigan at a considerable savings to taxpayers," says Glenn. "I think a part time legislature would be one in which legislators would be more representative of the constituency that they're supposed to represent because they'd have to have everyday jobs like everyone else. They wouldn't be dependent on being full-time professional politicians."

Ken Horn served for six years in the state house and is now running for a state senate seat.  Horn says the issue has pros and cons but his real concern is the reduction in the number of staffers the petition calls for.

"Voting on issues is the least of their work. On a daily basis you're going to have people come through with problems. Kids could be coming through with questions. Somebody's got to be there to answer those questions and if it's not me then it certainly has to be staff," says Horn.

Meanwhile, Horn says he'd vote no on the petition as it's written now. "You can't bind the people's hands that tightly and expect the government to run smoothly," says Horn.

Glenn is confident a part time state government is what the voters want.

Supporters of the amendment have until July 7 to collect roughly 400-thousand signatures in order to place the proposal on the November general election ballot.

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