Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Legislation to Create a Presidential Primary Date Selection Panel Introduced in Michigan Senate

Apparently committees with the authority to set 2012 presidential primary dates are all the rage in 2011. Then again, Michigan could be replaying the 2007 game of "Anything Florida can do, Michigan can do better". In 2007, the Michigan legislature one-upped the Florida legislature by setting a primary date for two weeks earlier than the primary in Florida. Now, the Michigan state Senate, following the Florida legislature's lead, has proposed legislation to create a panel to set the date of next year's presidential primary.1

The state Senate on its only August session day wasted little time in addressing the presidential primary date. Introduced today, SB 584 would create a committee comprised of three members -- one each chosen by the governor, speaker of the state House and leader of the state Senate.2 The committee would be charged with setting a date -- following the Michigan Republican Party's guidelines -- between February 28 and March 6. The primary is currently scheduled for the February 28 according to state law. The committee could opt to maintain that date or shift it to something slightly later. Regardless, the committee would be required to make a decision on or before October 1.

Technically, the legislature will be in session during September and into October and could set the date, but may not be able to act as quickly as the appointed committee would be able to, depending on the dynamics of the primary calendar at that time.

Hat tip to the AP for the news.

1 The provision only creates the panel for the purposes of setting the 2012 primary date.

2 All three -- Governor Rick Snyder, Speaker Jase Bolger and Leader Randy Richardville -- are Republicans.

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