Brighton's Lawmakers Focus on Year Ahead
Local legislators hope to improve the state budget, work closely with new governor.
New leadership in Lansing this January may provide more opportunities for Brighton's two Republican legislators.
State Rep. Bill Rogers (R- Brighton) said he is considering seeking a role on the appropriations committee, after losing a bid to become Speaker Pro Tempore, the No. 2 leadership position in the House.
"The work the committee does is critical to getting our budget under control," Rogers said.
State Senator-elect Joe Hune said he is looking forward to working closely with Governor-elect Rick Snyder, also a Republican. Hune said he believes Snyder can help bring new ideas to fix Michigan's budget.
Republicans won 62 seats in the 110-member body in November's election, giving them control of the House.
"Being in the majority means you get to set the agenda, but the other side should be able to get bills, get debate," Rogers said.
Rogers argues that, because of partisanship, a number of his bills were never called.
"I always told my colleagues, 'When we get a majority, we can't do this,' " Rogers said. With Snyder in office, there will also be new opportunities to set the statewide agenda, Rogers and others said.
"We now have a governor who comes from high-tech industry, understands business and venture capital. The things that have to be done to make it happen are not so foreign to him," Rogers said.
"I think we might have the kind of system where we build a budget from zero each year," he explained, adding that those who get funding from the state would have to do a better job of justifying what they would do with the money.
Senator-elect Joe Hune (R- Hamburg) is an old face in Livingston County as a former three-term state representative, but he will represent Brighton for the first time in his new job. "The biggest difference will be the size of the district and the number of constituents," said Hune. Hune said one of the major issues the Senate will tackle is Michigan's role in implementing the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
"It's my preference that the federal government back off a repeal all together," Hune said, "but the Senate still has to figure out how this will impact Michigan if we're stuck with it."
Hune reiterated a campaign promise that the first bill he would introduce would prohibit illegal immigrants from collecting benefits from state social services.
"In a state of 10 million or so people, the savings could be significant," he said.
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