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The week in Michigan politics


In this week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the likelihood of Michigan having apart time legislature, what will happen to former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway and who is likely to replace her. Lessenberry and Shockley also talk about the 26-year-old who will soon be the emergency manager for Benton Harbor.

There’s a proposal to make Michigan have a part time legislature. It would limit the state’s legislative session to 90 days a year. But Lessenberry says this is not likely to happen.

Lessenberry says lawmakers in Lansing make around $71,000 a year. He says if a part time legislature were to happen, most lawmakers would have to find a second job which would make it harder to get things done in Lansing.

State Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway officially resigned this week. She’s a Democrat who was accused of fraud and money laundering in a real estate deal.  Governor Rick Snyder says he's seeking a wide sample of opinion about whom to appoint to the Michigan Supreme Court.  But Lessenberry says there is “no chance” he will choose a democrat to replace her.

“The expectations are he will appoint a republican reliable judge. The person that is most often mentioned is Colleen O’Brien,” Lessenberry says. “She was a nominee last November but she finished dead last among major party candidates.”

As for Hathaway, Lessenberry says, “She has to appear next week in federal court. There is some thought she might plead guilty. There’s some thought she may even have to do some prison time even if she pleads guilty.”

Lessenberry adds, “[Hathaway] has no political future. Now the court had a 4-3 republican majority. It now will almost certainly have a 5-2 republican majority.”

Finally, a 26-year old who will replace Benton Harbor’s emergency manager in a matter of days. Shockley wanted to know more about Tony Saunders.

“Saunder’s despite his youth, has already worked for Detroit City Council. He has already worked in an emergency financial manager capacity in Highland Park,” Lessenberry says. “ So he has a fair amount of experience he has a bachelors degree in economics from the U of M. . . but if he’s seen successful [in Benton Harbor] he’s certainly someone to keep your eye on in the future.”

Christina began her career in radio at Michigan Radio while a student at the University of Michigan. She was a producer and researcher for The Todd Mundt Show, and then hosted Weekend Edition.
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