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Fight over vote counting in the House reaches Michigan Court of Appeals

The fight over how the Republican majority in the Michigan House of Representatives counts votes has gone to the state Court of Appeals.

Democrats sued Republicans to require recorded votes on a procedural motion that determines when a new law will go into effect.

The motion to make a law effective immediately requires a two-thirds super-majority that Republicans don’t have in the House.

Michael Hodge is the attorney representing Democrats in the lawsuit.

"Look, the constitution has certain voting requirements in it for the Legislature to give a law immediate effect, and all we’re asking the court to do is tell them they actually have to count votes," he said.

Assistant Attorney General Heather Meingast argued for the House Republican leadership. She says courts should not meddle in how another branch of government conducts its business. 

"Plaintiffs are asking this court, and courts like it, to go somewhere they’ve never before, which is to delve into the inner workers of the Legislature, to reach out and sort of control or direct what’s going to go on the floor," she said.

Meingast says that could bog down the process of lawmaking in litigation. 

The House GOP lost in a lower court. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.