Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015
MIDLAND — Michigan’s 38 senators and 110 representatives missed a combined 1,055 recorded roll call votes in 2015, according to the Missed Votes Report compiled by Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org.
Excluding purely procedural votes, the Senate voted 642 times and the House voted 504 times, for a total of 1,146 votes. The number of missed votes in 2015 is down from 1,093 votes last year and an astonishing 21,162 missed votes in the 2001-2002 legislative session, the year MichiganVotes.org began.
“The days of some legislators just not showing up for work are long passed,” McHugh said. “Legislators’ habits changed almost immediately when MichiganVotes.org began making this information easily accessible to voters.”
Two senators and two representatives missed 50 or more votes in 2015. There were 14 senators and 65 representatives who missed no votes. The full report can be sorted by name or by the number of missed votes.
The total number of possible votes is also listed for each legislator. By clicking on a legislator’s name, users can see a brief, plain-English description of the actual votes he or she missed. Missed vote totals for previous sessions can be viewed by entering a different date range.
McHugh noted that in most cases, missed votes occur when other demands within the legislative process call a lawmaker off the floor for a few minutes or when serious family or personal issues require an absence of an entire day or longer.
“Legislators are people, too,” McHugh said. “No one should jump to conclusions or assume bad faith, but if someone demonstrates a consistent pattern of missed votes for weeks on end, voters have a right to ask why.”
While large numbers of missed votes get people’s attention, McHugh noted the votes they don’t miss matter much more — and are the real focus of MichiganVotes.org’s different services.
“The searchable database with all the bills and all the votes of each and every legislator is just one way to promote accountability from those who represent us in Lansing,” McHugh said. “In addition, there is a free weekly roll call report for newspapers showing how local state legislators voted on key bills (which is also posted on Mackinac.org every week). There are also emails every session day for users who want to know about actions taken on subjects they choose.
Read the full report: https://www.michiganvotes.org/MissedVotes.aspx
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