The end of 2019 brought some time to reflect on the year. One area that the Mackinac Center, or more specifically, Michigan Votes, likes to take a look at is how many votes lawmakers have missed. Michigan’s 38 senators and 110 representatives set a record in 2019 by missing a combined total of just 768 roll-call votes. Many local news outlets throughout the state, including radio stations such as WSJM and WJIM, used our Missed Votes Report to highlight the voting records of legislators from their area.
Mackinac’s work has also gained national attention; the latest example involves Michael LaFaive, senior director of fiscal policy. His research on cigarette taxes and smuggling has been showcased in countless newspapers across the country, most recently the New York Daily News, Seattle Business Magazine, Agora Financial and The Center Square. As LaFaive writes in the New York Daily News, “[T]he reality is that banning goods people want often creates more problems than it solves.”
Michiganders are no stranger to ongoing infrastructure debates. While we’ve all seen our fair share of bad roads and bridges in the state, just how bad are they? Economist and Mackinac Board of Scholars member Chris Douglas sat down with WZZM-TV to discuss his research on the matter. In his research, Douglas found that only a 10% of the state's bridges are in problematic condition. The Mackinac Center’s research on roads was also recently cited in The Oakland Press and The Monroe News.
David Guenthner, senior strategist for state affairs, had a piece published in The Hill that discussed the need for reforming county jails. A short time earlier, the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration released its recommendations. Following the release, Guenthner was quoted in the White Lake Beacon, Moody on the Market and UP North Live.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. This landmark case has the potential to help students across the country have more access to a quality education. Ben DeGrow, director of education policy, wrote op-eds in The Detroit News and The Hill explaining the importance of this case. He shared the story of Christian Perales, a young man who graduated salutatorian from Detroit Cristo Rey, a Catholic high school that serves low-income families. DeGrow’s comments were also mentioned in a Detroit News editorial that was later republished by The Associated Press. You can read more about the Espinoza case on page 6.