Democrat-controlled state legislatures in Michigan and Minnesota passing legislation at rapid paces
Democrat-controlled state legislatures in Michigan and Minnesota passing legislation at rapid pacesConrad Hoyt
February 22, 01:11 AM February 22, 01:14 AM
After more than a decade of Republican dominance, the new Democrat-controlled state legislatures in Michigan and Minnesota have worked quickly to pass legislation.
In Michigan, the Senate has passed five bills in 2023 already, which is as many as the Republican-controlled state legislature did in the past ten years combined, new data from The States Project show. In Minnesota, the narrow Democratic majority Senate has passed eight bills already this year, more than double the three the Republican-controlled legislature passed since 2017.
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In Michigan, Democrats have a two-seat majority in both the state House and Senate, while in Minnesota, Democrats have a six-seat advantage in the state House and a one-seat advantage in the state Senate. These majorities have allowed the respective chambers to pass legislation at rapid paces in the historically Republican-controlled legislatures.
With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Gov. Tim Walz, both states also have Democratic governors, bolstering power for the Democratic Party in both states and surely enabling the swift passing of bills seen so far in 2023 in less than two months.
In Michigan, after the devastating mass shooting at Michigan State University, state Democrats are in the process of looking to expedite new gun control laws. “We’re going to try to move faster. After years of not getting an inch, now we’re making real plans,” Democratic state Sen. Rosemary Bayer told Politico.
Yet not all signs are grim for Republicans. In the U.S. overall, Republicans make up 55% of the total legislators to the Democrats’ 44% (4,031 to 3,271), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
While Democrats secured major victories in 2022 in Michigan and Minnesota in 2022, a great deal of work must still be done for the party to find itself on equal footing with regard to state legislatures nationwide with Republicans.
What is clear is that however long their majorities last, Michigan and Minnesota Democrats will race forward with legislation they feel is essential to their respective states and productive to maintaining that advantage into 2024.