Michigan House passes bill that allows legislator to intervene in court proceedings


UPDATE: A controversial bill passed in the Michigan House of Representatives today and many Democrats aren’t too happy about it.

Michigan Democrat’s won the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state’s office last month. But before they get sworn into office, Republican lawmakers are working to pass a law limiting their power. 

What House Bill 6553 will do is let the legislature intervene in any court proceeding that could affect the interests of the state.

This is a right that is usually only granted to Michigan’s attorney general, so those who support Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel say the passing of this bill is a way for republicans to undermine her power.

“The Republicans are overreaching because they have lost the office of attorney general,” said Democratic Minority Leader Sam Singh.

With a vote of 58 to 50, the state house passed House Bill 6553, allowing lawmakers the right to intervene in any court proceeding.

Singh says with the passing of this bill during the lame duck session, it wasn’t well thought out.

“Not only rushed, but it was irresponsible. It’s probably unconstitutional. It’s going to open ourselves up to lawsuits,” said Singh.

Those in support of the bill say it’s necessary, so the legislature can have an opinion in court.

“This legislation before us today, in no way undercuts the authority or power of the current or any future attorney general. What this does is provides this legislature a voice,” said Republican State Rep. Lee Chatfield.

Arnold Weinfeld, the interim director for Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy, says a bill like this has never been passed before in Michigan.

“These actions can I think be called somewhat unprecedented,” said Weinfeld.

Weinfeld says he hasn’t noticed an issue with the bill so far and doesn’t believe it’s unconstitutional, but he does say it’s hard for lawmakers to discuss bills fully during the lame duck session.

“The issue at hand is that you’re doing it during a lame duck session, which really doesn’t allow the time for intentional and deliberative debate on these kinds of issues,” said Weinfeld.

The bill will now go to the Michigan Senate for review and in order to become law, Governor Snyder has to sign it before the end of the year.

UPDATE: “House Bill 6553 is nothing more than a last-minute power grab by a party about to lose its monopoly on state government. This legislation reeks of partisanship and pettiness and serves only to undermine the checks and balances system our government was founded on. The people of Michigan made their voices heard in November when they chose a new attorney general, and they deserve to be listened to,” said House Democratic Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing).

ORIGINAL STORY: The controversial House Bill 6553 passed 58-50 with two members not voting to create the right of lawmakers to intervene in any court proceeding that effects the state.

The bill would limit the power of the state’s attorney general by allowing the legislature to intervene in any suit at any stage. The bill will now go to the Michigan State Senate for review.

6 News will continue to update this story as further information becomes available.

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