GUEST VIEW: New year, new government

The following editorial was published in the Jan. 2 edition of the Petoskey News-Review:

The closing weeks of the 2018 legislature in Michigan were fast-paced and contentious, to say the least.

Lame duck session shenanigans brought Michigan politics to a divisive low. A flurry of poorly thought-out bills — some with blatantly partisan roots — shot from Senate to House to the governor’s desk at a reckless pace.

Several of those bills were widely seen as attempts to diminish power from incoming politicians before they took their elected offices. The mid-term election results mean that, after eight years of full Republican control, Michigan’s executive office will now house Democrats in the governor, attorney general and secretary of state positions.

One bill that saw notable opposition was House Bill 6553, which would have let the legislature intervene if a court action challenged the constitutionality of a state statute or the validity of any legislative act, according to the Associated Press.

The bill was roundly derided as undermining the authority of incoming Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed that bill on Dec. 28, a decision that was lauded by Nessel.

“We are grateful to Gov. Snyder for demonstrating his integrity and commitment to upholding the Michigan Constitution,” Nessel said in a statement.

We can only hope that state politicians take a cue from this exchange and work toward more thoughtful legislation and respectful cooperation in the next year.

If the government does not act in bipartisan ways, the state will not be able to address many of its major issues. An effective government means cooperation.

We saw partisan politics hit the lowest of the low in 2018. Our hope for 2019 is that bipartisan solutions will now come to the forefront of Michigan’s government.

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