This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

Bob Kefgen's picture

Last Tuesday's election saw the largest turnout for a midterm election in Michigan in over 50 years and marked a significant shift in power in state government, though not a complete change in direction (for a full breakdown see MASSP's post-election screencast). Democrats won all of the statewide top-of-the-ticket races (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General), picked up two key congressional seats, and made significant gains in the State House and State Senate, but Republicans still controls both state legislative chambers, though only by three votes in either chamber. Democrats did take both open State Board of Education seats to win a 6-2 majority, which means they will be in control of the selection of the next Superintendent of Public Instruction among other key decisions. The Legislature met briefly in the wake of the general election to elect leadership for the 2019-2020 legislative session with Republicans choosing Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and State Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) to serve as the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House respectively and Democrats electing Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) and Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) as Senate and House Minority Leaders. The House Education Reform Committee also met this week and while they were supposed to take up a variety of bills – including so-called Innovative District legislation (HB 6314-15) and a bill to require that districts conduct background checks for student teachers (HB 5543) – the committee ended up only voting out a single bill to make technical modifications to the laws governing Michigan Virtual University.