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State Sen. Virgil Smith resigns from the Michigan Legislature

Ex-state Senator Virgil Smith, Jr.
State Senator Virgil Smith, D-Detroit.

State Senator Virgil Smith has turned in his resignation and averted an expulsion drama. The Detroit Democrat turned in a one-sentence letter this afternoon (Thursday) quitting the seat.


Smith began serving a 10-month jail sentence on Monday. He pleaded guilty to shooting up his ex-wife’s car. The judge in the case refused to accept part of the plea deal that required Smith to resign. But the Senate’s Republican leader said if Smith didn’t quit, he would call for a Senate vote to expel the lawmaker


Amber McCann is the spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader ArlanMeekhof. She says Smith had already promised to resign.


“That took a little longer than expected, but this was the resolution the majority leader expected in the end, and he’s glad to see that Senator Smith delivered that to put this issue to rest.”


The resignation won’t become official until it can be read into the record when lawmakers returnfrom their spring break on April 12th. After that, it would be up to Governor Rick Snyder to set dates for a special primary and general election to fill the seat.

*This post was updated.

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