#Michigan #State #Senate
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Michigan State Senate
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What you will find on this page
This page contains information on the Michigan State Senate that is curated and updated by Ballotpedia staff. Click on the arrows (▼) below for information and research on party control, elections, members, legislation, sessions, procedures, committees, and districts.
Party Control: current and historical information on party control of the Michigan State Senate
Current partisan control
The table below shows the partisan breakdown of the Michigan State Senate as of April 2019:
History of partisan control
From 1990 to 2017, the Michigan State Senate was controlled by the Republican Party. The table below shows the partisan history of the Michigan State Senate following every general election from 1990 to 2014. All data from 2006 or earlier comes from Michael Dubin’s Party Affiliations in the State Legislatures (McFarland Press, 2007). Data after 2006 was compiled by Ballotpedia staff.
Michigan State Senate Party Control: 1990-2014
Republicans maintained control of the Michigan State Senate from 1990 to 2017. Throughout the period, Democrats usually controlled between 11 and 18 seats, while Republicans controlled between 20 and 27 seats. Senate Republicans held their largest majority following the 2014 elections when Republicans held a 16-seat advantage. Since the 2010 elections, Republicans have held more than the 26 seats required to override a gubernatorial veto. The Republican gains from 2010 to 2014 were in line with a national trend toward Republican state legislatures during the presidency of Barack Obama (D). From 2009 to 2017, Democrats experienced significant losses in state legislative elections, totaling 968 seats all together.
A state government trifecta is a term that describes single-party government, when one political party holds the governor’s office and has majorities in both chambers of the legislature in a state government. Republicans in Michigan held a state government trifecta for 13 years between 1992 and 2017. The table below shows state government trifectas in Michigan from 1992 to 2019.
Michigan Party Control: 1992-2019
No Democratic trifectas • 14 years of Republican trifectas
Elections: election data from 2000 to the present
Elections by year
Michigan state senators serve four-year terms, with all seats up for election every four years. Michigan holds elections for its legislature in even years.
Elections for the Michigan State Senate took place in 2018. The open primary election took place on August 7, 2018, and the general election was held on November 6, 2018. The candidate filing deadline was April 24, 2018 Filing deadline for candidates seeking Appeals Court, Circuit Court, District Court or Probate Court and partisan and nonpartisan candidates other than judicial candidates . 
Elections for the Michigan State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election was held on August 5, 2014, and a general election took place on November 4, 2014. The signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was April 22, 2014.
Heading into the election, Republicans held a 26-12 majority. Republicans gained one seat in the election, giving them a 27-11 majority.
Elections for the office of Michigan State Senate took place in 2010. The primary election was held on August 3, 2010, and the general election was held on November 2, 2010. The candidate filing deadline was May 11, 2010.
Heading into the election, Republicans held a 22-16 majority. Republicans gained four seats in the election, giving them a 26-12 majority.
In 2010, the candidates running for state Senate raised a total of $16,309,515 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: 
Elections for the office of Michigan State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 8, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $14,463,621. The top 10 contributors were: 
Elections for the office of Michigan State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 6, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $13,900,019. The top 10 contributors were: 
Members: current leadership and membership list and information on salaries and qualifications
The Lieutenant Governor serves as the presiding officer of the Senate, known as the President of the Senate. The president can only vote when there is a tie. In the absence of the President, the President Pro Tempore presides. The President Pro Tempore, Assistant President Pro Tempore, and Associate President Pro Tempore are elected by a vote of a majority of the Senators.  
Current leadership and members
- Senate president:Garlin Gilchrist II (D)
- President Pro Tem:Aric Nesbitt (R)
- Majority leader:Mike Shirkey (R)
- Minority leader:Jim Ananich (D)
When sworn in
Michigan legislators assume office at noon on the first day of January.
Section 7 of Article 4 of the Michigan Constitution states, “Each senator and representative must be a citizen of the United States, at least 21 years of age, and an elector of the district he represents. The removal of his domicile from the district shall be deemed a vacation of the office. No person who has been convicted of subversion or who has within the preceding 20 years been convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust shall be eligible for either house of the legislature.”
Legislation: all legislation passed by the chamber in the current or most recent legislative session
The legislation tracker below displays all legislation that the Michigan State Senate has approved in its most recent legislative session—this includes legislation that has been sent from the Senate to the House and legislation that has already been approved by the House and signed by the governor after its passage in the Senate. Information on legislation provided below includes the bill number, its name, progress, most recent action date, and sponsor. The tracker is fully interactive. Scroll up and down and side to side to see more. Click the bill number to read its text in full and see its voting history. You can click the headings to sort the content in the column. You can also rearrange the order of the headings by clicking and dragging them. Finally, in the bottom-left corner of the tracker is a magnifying glass, which, when clicked, will allow you to search for specific terms. The legislation tracker is maintained and updated by BillTrack50.
Sessions: legislative sessions dates, special sessions, and key events
About legislative sessions in Michigan
The Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares that any power not already given to the federal government is reserved to the states and the people.  State governments across the country use this authority to hold legislative sessions where a state’s elected representatives meet for a period of time to draft and vote on legislation and set state policies on issues such as taxation, education, and government spending. The different types of legislation passed by a legislature may include resolutions, legislatively referred constitutional amendments, and bills that become law.
Article IV of the Michigan Constitution establishes when the Michigan Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 13 of Article IV states that the legislature is to convene on the second Wednesday in January of each year. Section 13 gives the Legislature the power to determine its date of adjournment through concurrent resolution.
Dates of legislative sessions in Michigan by year
In 2019, the legislature will be in session from January 9, 2019, through December 31, 2019.
In 2018, the legislature was in session from January 10, 2018, through December 31, 2018. To read about notable events and legislation from this session, click here.
In 2017, the legislature was in session from January 11, 2017, through December 31, 2017.
Tax incentives legislation
- On July 12, 2017, the Michigan House passed the bills 71-35, with 40 Republicans and 31 Democrats voting in favor of the bills. As of July 2017, Republicans had a 63-45 majority in the chamber. The Senate passed the bills in March 32-5, with five Republican senators voting against them.  As of July 2017, Republicans had a 27-11 majority in the Senate. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) voiced support for the legislation, saying, “We are now enacting forward-thinking policies that make us more competitive for new jobs and industries in a fiscally responsible fashion.”  The bills were sent to Gov. Snyder on July 14, 2017. He signed the legislation on July 26, 2017. 
- Supporters of the bills—included Democrats and Republicans in both chambers and business groups in the state—said that the bills would be key to luring businesses to Michigan and creating new jobs. Opponents—such as House Speaker Tom Leonard (R) and conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity Michigan and the Michigan Freedom Fund—argued that the legislation would allow the government to pick winners and losers and amount to, what a spokesperson from Americans for Prosperity Michigan called, sweetheart tax deals. 
In 2016, the legislature was in session from January 13 through December 31.
In 2015, the legislature was in session from January 14 through December 17.
Major issues in the 2015 legislative session included energy policy and a possible repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law.  
In 2014, the legislature was in session from January 8 through December 31.
Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included allocation of an estimated $971 million surplus over three years, which Republicans says should go towards a tax break.  
In 2013, the legislature was in session from January 9 to December 31.
After an extremely divided lame-duck session in December 2012, lawmakers were expected to have a tamer session. Major issues included the regulatory structure of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, increased transportation funding, education reform, and pension changes. 
In 2012, the legislature was in session from January 11 to December 27.
In 2011, the legislature was in session from January 12 through December 28.
In the 2011 session, Michigan was a key battleground on corporate taxes. Governor Rick Snyder (R) had made promises during his campaign to eliminate the “Michigan Business Tax,” which was costly and difficult to calculate. Governor Snyder delivered, replacing the tax with a flat 6 percent corporate income tax.
In 2010, the legislature convened its session on January 13th, and it remained in session throughout the year.
Procedures: rules and procedures for veto overrides, the budget, term limits, and vacancies
Every state legislature throughout the country features it own internal procedures that it uses to govern itself and how it interacts with other parts of state government. Ballotpedia’s coverage of internal state legislative procedures includes veto overrides, the role of the legislature in the state budget, term limits, procedures for filling membership vacancies, and redistricting.
State legislatures can override governors’ vetoes. Depending on the state, this can be done during the regular legislative session, in a special session following the adjournment of the regular session, or during the next legislative session. The rules for legislative overrides of gubernatorial vetoes in Michigan are listed below.
How many legislators are required to vote for an override? Two-thirds of members in both chambers.
Role in state budget
The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:  
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in August of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
- State agencies submit their requests to the governor in November.
- Agency hearings are held in December.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in February.
- The legislature typically adopts a budget in June or July. The fiscal year begins October 1.
Michigan is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority. 
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the state legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget. 
The Michigan legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Michigan Term Limits Act in 1992. That initiative said that Michigan senators are subject to term limits of no more than two four-year terms, or a total of eight years.enators who have not served more than half of someone else’s Senate term are eligible for two full terms (i.e. – eight years). Michigan legislators assume office the at noon on first day of January. 
The first year that the term limits enacted in 1992 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 2002.
If there is a vacancy in the Michigan State Legislature, the governor must call for a special election to fill the vacancy.  
When conducting a special election, the election should be held whenever the next general election is scheduled. If the vacancy happens after the statewide primary election, the leaders of the respective party organizations in the district can submit a list of nominees to be voted on by party leadership. The nominee must be voted on no later than 21 days after the vacancy occurred. 
See sources: Michigan Const. Art. 5, § 13
Committees: role and list of current committees
Every state legislature and state legislative chamber in the country contains several legislative committees. These committees are responsible for studying, amending, and voting on legislation before it reaches the floor of a chamber for a full vote. The different types of committees include standing committees, select or special, and joint.
- Standing committees are generally permanent committees, the names of which sometimes change from session to session.
- Select or special committees are temporary committees formed to deal with specific issues such as recent legislation, major public policy or proposals, or investigations.
- Joint committees are committees that feature members of both chambers of a legislature.
Ballotpedia covers standing and joint committees. The Michigan State Senate has 22 standing committees:
The state of Michigan has 148 legislative districts. Each district elects one representative. The state Senate has 38 districts and the state House has 110 districts.
Use the interactive map below to find your district.
In 37 states, legislatures are primarily responsible for drawing congressional district lines. Seven states have only one congressional district each, rendering congressional redistricting unnecessary. Four states employ independent commissions to draw the district maps. In two states, politician commissions draw congressional district lines.
State legislative district lines are primarily the province of the state legislatures themselves in 37 states. In seven states, politician commissions draw state legislative district lines. In the remaining six states, independent commissions draw the lines. 
In Michigan, an independent redistricting commission is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative district plans. The commission comprises 13 members, including four Democrats, four Republicans, and five unaffiliated voters or members of minor parties. In order for a map to be enacted, at least seven members must vote for it, including at least two Democrats, two Republicans, and two members not affiliated with either major party. 
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan’s population fell from 9.94 million to 9.88 million between 2000 and 2010.  Michigan’s U.S. Congressional delegation decreased in size from 15 to 14 seats.  A substantial population shift occurred from Detroit proper into the suburban areas. 
The state legislature undertook a relatively private redistricting process.  A Republican-proposed plan passed with bipartisan support after the House made some changes to the Senate plan. Governor Rick Snyder signed the plan, Senate Bill 498, into law on August 9, 2011.
Notably, the original Republican maps did not include a state senate district entirely within Detroit proper. Senate Democrats suggested some changes to the Detroit-area districts, which were then incorporated and sent to the House.