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The People of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session

Dec 29, 2016

In the previous blog post we highlighted the policy events of the past two years.  In addition to the active session in terms of legislation, there were quite a few shake ups to the membership of the legislature.  Throughout the past two years, the legislature has lost seven members between the two chambers.  Former Senator Virgil Smith (D-Detroit) resigned his seat in April 2016, following a ten-month jail sentence for a private matter.  In the House, two members tragically passed away in 2016; Representative Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle) and Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights).  Additionally, two members left prior to the end of their term for local government positions; former Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth) and former Representative Derek Miller (D-Warren).  Lastly, and most notably, following a tumultuous scandal, in 2015 former Representative Todd Courser (R-Silverwood) resigned and former Representative Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) was expelled from the Michigan House.  Her expulsion was only the fourth time in Michigan’s history that a lawmaker was dismissed from office.

In addition to changes in the legislature, there was also a change to the makeup of the state’s highest court, the Michigan Supreme Court.  In September 2015, Governor Rick Snyder appointed Justice Joan Larsen to the bench.  Justice Larsen filled the vacancy created by the resignation of former Justice Mary Beth Kelly.

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