Should Michigan Go the Way of Nebraska and Adopt Unicameral Legislature?

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

One Republican lawmaker is drafting a bill that would get rid of the state House and Senate and create a single chamber.

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Michigan CapitolJake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Michigan Capitol

Revamping Michigan’s Legislature is the hot new talking point in Lansing. A likely gubernatorial hopeful announced a big push to make the Legislature part-time this week.

But one Republican Representative has a different idea. Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond) says, in this regard, Michigan should be more like Nebraska.

He wants Michigan to join the Cornhusker State and adopt a unicameral legislature.

Yaroch says Michigan just went along with the two chamber system because that’s what the feds did. But, he argues, there was really no reason to do so.

If we were all in one chamber, you’d have more experienced members talking to freshman and we’d have better laws for our citizens,” says Yaroch.

They would just be legislators. You wouldn’t have representatives who are term limited then trying to get into the Senate. It would just be all one House.”

Yaroch is working on a resolution to amend the state constitution to have a 110 legislators in one chamber. 

Patrick O’Donnell has been clerk of the Nebraska legislature since 1978. He says the system makes it harder for legislators to hide.

And I don’t mean that in a negative way, but often times in a bicameral system you’ll see instances where the House may go in one direction, the Senate goes in a different direction and it’s hard to attribute blame or criticism in that effort,” says O’Donnell.

He says since unicameralism was adopted in 1934, there have been no serious attempts to change it.

Cheyna Roth, Reporter

Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films. Follow @Cheyna_R

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