Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A New Year, A New Michigan, A New You - The State Senate

It's a new year, a New Michigan, and time for a New You to get involved in your government. We need to continue to keep Michigan Great! (Many thanks to those who helped make this piece possible, despite the difficulty I ran into before)

The Michigan State Senate, the other half of the Legislative Branch of Michigan's government. Compared to the House's 110 districts, the Senate only has 38 districts, each representing approximately 212,400 to 263,500 residents. State Senators serve 4 year terms, compared to the House's 2 year terms.

The Democrats may not have won the Senate, but you can still count on Minority Leader Mark Schauer to keep our interests well represented. Known for his ability to reach across the aisle while still keeping strong to the Democratic Agenda, Michigan's citizens can have complete faith in his abilities.

Speaking of working hard, today the Senate is back to work. You can view the session schedule and if you're so inspired, you can watch the Health Policy Committee starting this morning at 10am.

Find your senator according to the district map or look them up on the Senate Directory. You never know, you may find that your senator serves in the Leadership!

Each senator serves on several committees. Senate Leadership appoints senators to either standing committees, appropriations sub-committees, or both.

One of the unique privileges of serving in the Senate includes the power to Advise and Consent.
The Michigan Constitution grants the State Senate the power to reject various gubernatorial appointments. The Senate Government Operations Reform Committee is the committee that makes recommendations to the full senate on whether to confirm or deny any given appointment.
You can view appointee questionnaires and their answers for some of the major offices like State Treasurer and the Department of State Police.

Like the House, the Senate helps decide how to divide up the State Budget, and they couldn't do it without the Senate Fiscal Agency. The SFA provides unbiased assistance in the matters of fiscal and legislative analysis.

Each senator is provided with assistance with press and outreach through either the Republican or Democratic Caucus, depending on their affiliation.

The Senate website is full of interactive trivia and games for the entire family. Click on Kids Page on the website (link not provided), and you can explore the Art of the Senate, print out pages to color, brush up on your trivia, or play puzzles and games.

Come back tomorrow as we delve into the third branch of Michigan's government, The Judicial Branch.

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