Wednesday and Thursday are snow days for Michigan lawmakers. Legislators are justifying the time off, but it’s not sitting well with some voters.
“We got to work. Why can’t they work,” Eric Cornell asked. “We’re paying their salary. They should be working, too.”
“Go to work. Work for the people,” another said.
On Tuesday, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate canceled sessions for Wednesday and Thursday, and since they’re not in session on Fridays and Mondays, they’re not due back until Tuesday. Many other state workers still had to report.
“There is a tradition in the legislature of calling off session when the roads get bad. The fascinating thing about this decision is the decision was made before a flake of snow had even hit the ground in front of the state capitol,” said FOX 2 Political Correspondent Tim Skubick.
State Representative Vicki Barnett, a Democrat from Farmington Hills, said lawmakers were prepared to stay and work through the storm.
“We were prepared to spend the week there, if necessary spending overnight. I had my ski jacket with my hood in the car and my boots, and I was ready to work,” she said.
“Not being in session today, I think, is justified. There’s people coming in from all around the state and it could’ve been rather dangerous today even with the lack of blizzard that was anticipated,” said Rep. Hugh Crawford, a Republican from Novi.
He said he wasn’t available for an on-camera interview on this snow day, but spoke with FOX 2 by phone from his home.
Both he and Barnett agree much of their job is done outside of Lansing and in their districts seven days a week, so for those calling for a part-time legislature, they said there’s much more to this job.
“People have a misunderstanding that if we’re not in Lansing, we’re not working, and a lot… of what we do is here at home,” Barnett said.
“The job we do, at least that I do, is not part-time. It’s full-time as far as I’m concerned,” Crawford said.
Murray Feldman’s View:
It’s a funny this is happening on Groundhog Day. I remember the movie “Groundhog Day” when everything on that day kept repeating and repeating and repeating.
Well, it’s my view that this is a repeat of what we had with the last state legislature. Remember when faced with a budget crisis deadline they closed up shop and took off for hunting when only a few of them actually had a hunter’s license?
The current lawmakers have been on the job now for just a month, but yet they call a mini vacation because of the snow, and they did it before the snow actually started to fall. If they have to take time off for the snow, then in good faith maybe they should show the people of Michigan that they’ll come in on a Saturday or a Sunday and make up the time. You don’t need six full days off. Remember, we do have a financial crisis in this state that you were elected to fix.
State workers are on the job even in the snow, and it’s true that many schools in the state are closed today. However, I bet those kids are back at their desk before state lawmakers are back at theirs.
I can’t help thinking of the many Michigan residents who would gladly jump in their car and, if you will, bust their rear axles in a snowstorm to get to work if they could only find a job.
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