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Remember that plan for a part-time legislature for Michigan?

The Capital Dome in Lansing, Michigan.
Joe Dearman
Capitol dome in Lansing.

Yeah, it's dead, and petition organizers partly blame what we are still talking about in Michigan: the freezing cold winter.

More from Jonathan Oosting from MLive:

Chairman Norm Kammeraad said an unusually cold winter made it difficult for the group to collect 322,609 (signatures) by July 7 in order to put a constitutional amendment on the fall ballot. "Every time we hit the field with these things, we were overwhelmed by people who wanted to sign them," Kammeraad said Tuesday evening. "It was just phenomenal. Problem is, we couldn't get organized enough because of the weather."

Kammeraad, the chair of the Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-time Legislature, also blamed "elite Republicans" for coming up short.

He says he got a lot of "no's" from Republican donors after asking them via email to help the campaign.

"We had a delegate list of donors within the Republican party, and we solicited them and said, 'why not be part of this?' As we did with the Democratic donors,” Kammeraad said.

"And I had more emails coming back to me saying, 'we don't want this, we don't want any part of this, and we hope you lose.' This was coming constantly from Republican donors," he said.

Kammeraad said their support came from Tea Party Volunteers.

"I just praise God for them. These people were just absolutely gung ho. They wanted to be part of this. And I am absolutely, more than anything, disappointed for their standing on this point,” he said. “But I knew, in the back of my mind, once I was calculating the daily number [that were coming in on petitions], we were going to lose."

Critics of the campaign say part-time legislators work well in smaller states, but they say they are more likely to use legislation written by special interest groups.

And while you may hear that "most states" have part-time legislatures, a 2009 state-by-state survey from National Conference of State Legislatures says the truth isn't that simple.

In fact, they found that just a handful of states truly require a legislator to spend the equivalent of half of a full-time job working on legislative issues: Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah.

Kammeraad said his group will try again for the 2016 ballot.

*This post has been updated.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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