Cars and Energy: It’s What May Be on the Legislature’s Lame Duck Agenda

Written by: Matt Grossmann

Primary Source:  Michigan Policy Wonk Blog, August 19, 2016

Michigan’s lame duck legislative session has already produced results: The state House and Senate passed and sent to Gov. Rick Snyder legislation allowing autonomous vehicles to operate on Michigan roads. But policy insiders don’t expect a flood of legislation to follow, based on their answers to a new survey.

The survey asked Michigan policy insiders — those working on state policymaking in and around state government — to assess the likelihood that both chambers would finish work on key legislation before Michigan’s 99th Legislature is seated in January.

Insiders said they believed action on autonomous vehicles was most likely, followed by bills on energy competition and renewables and Freedom of Information Act changes.

Insiders rated action on criminal justice reform, Michigan’s emergency manager law, and mental health services less likely. Changes to auto insurance and prevailing wage laws were rated as the least likely to pass both chambers.

See the full survey here:

The Michigan Legislature is often busy following elections, but insiders aren’t expecting a large pile of important bills to land on the governor’s desk this year.

A majority of respondents thought action was at least “somewhat likely” only on autonomous vehicles and energy policy, with majorities calling action “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” on changes to Michigan’s prevailing wages, auto insurance, and mental health services.

Respondents didn’t know the election results when they were surveyed between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1. Democrats were the most likely to expect Freedom of Information Act changes. Republicans were the most likely to expect criminal justice reform, and Independents were the most likely to expect changes to the state’s emergency manager law.

There were differences too between those employed in the Michigan’s legislative branch and those at work in the state’s executive offices. Those working in the legislative branch were more likely to expect action on energy competition and renewables as well as criminal justice reform than those in the executive branch. Executive branch insiders were more likely to expect Freedom of Information Act changes.

The Michigan Policy Insiders Panel, an online panel survey of the most influential actors in state policymaking, is a collaboration between Michigan State University’s IPPSR and the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy.

IPPSR’s Office for Survey Research, known for its rigorous survey research, organized and conducted the survey. A total of 390 respondents – among the total 537 panel members – participated in latest round of the survey.

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Matt Grossmann
Matt Grossmann serves as the Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and Associate Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. His research spans national and state policymaking, election campaigns, interest groups, and political parties. His current work explores key differences between major political parties and economic inequality in policy influence. He is the author of Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945, published by Oxford University Press in 2014 and The Not-So-Special Interests: Interest Groups, Public Representation, and American Governance, published by Stanford University Press in 2012. He is author of numerous journal articles on such topics as policy change, political party networks, the legislative process and public opinion. His research appears in the Journal of Politics, Policy Studies Journal, Perspectives on Politics, American Politics Research and other publications. He also writes for blogs and popular media. His roots are also deep in practical politics, especially in candidate training, policy and survey research. His experience includes work at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Center for Voting and Democracy and the Center for Democracy and Technology. A member of MSU’s faculty since 2007, he is founder and director of the Michigan Policy Network and served as liaison to MSU’s Washington Semester Program. He received his bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College, his master’s in political science in 2002 and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007. He became IPPSR director in January 2016.