Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A New Year, A New Michigan, A New You - The State House of Representatives

It's a New Year, a New Session of Government, and we're pleased as punch, because it's a New Majority!

It's a government for the people, and by the people, which means that now, more than ever, it's time for you to get involved!

The Michigan House of Representatives - the largest half of the state's legislative branch.

I think today's segment is especially fitting because all 110 members of the House are being sworn in for the official start of the 94th Session.

Speaking of representatives, do you know who represents you? The House website offers several ways to locate and contact your representative. There's also a full listing of your representatives here.

Got to give credit to the government. Between wireless access for visitors at the Anderson House Office Building, and at the Capitol Building, you can also watch your representatives in session on Michigan Government Television via your computer. It's not likely to win any Oscars anytime soon, but what better way to keep tabs on your public servants than by actually watching them? Heck, you can even gear up the DVR or TiVo if there's a session or committee you really want to watch with this detailed schedule. ***Watch the swearing in today starting at 12pm.

Ever thought about visiting your legislator? Contrary to popular belief, your legislator is available to you. If you're in the Lansing area, why not stop by and say hello? It's not very often that constituents like you and I directly speak to your our representatives, and believe it or not, they love to hear from us! Check the session calendar and see when they'll be available (typically Tuesdays - Thursdays). Mondays and Fridays are traditionally considered in-district days, meaning that you can probably find them in your neck of the woods. While you're visiting your rep, be sure to stop by the Capitol, see if you can snag a tour (free for the public) and watch session in progress from the gallery.

Each representative is assigned to several committees, which are selected by their party's leadership. Committee assignments are based each legislators' seniority, previous experience, and professional background. Good news for us, the Democrats are back in charge, and hence, each committee is chaired by a Democrat.

Speaking of Democrats, each party has it's own Caucus. The Democratic Caucus is here, and well when the Republicans get theirs back up, it will be here.

The most essential part of the House website is the Citizen's Guide. This is the website that has all the information just for you. There's everything from ideas on how to contact your representative, to a kids page to how a bill becomes a law and a pdf version of the free government guide, A Citizen's Guide to State Government. Check them all out.

Stop on by again tomorrow as we head on over to the State Senate and see what's cooking there.

Remember, it's your government, get involved and make it work for you!


Cathleen said...

I plan on hassling my rep as much as I can! Yea!

I have this bad feeling we are going to have problems with the House Dems- keeping my fingers crossed that I am wrong about that.

Pohlitics said...

Another nice piece, LL.

LiberalLucy said...

Thanks Zack and Cath.

FYI Cath - watch out for the piece on your local "congresscritters" :-D

Anonymous said...

Cathleen, Pohlitics & LL

Please contact your local elected officials...hassle them all you want!