MI Senate passes bill to move up Presidential Primary date but faces snag

Lansing capitol
Posted at 3:56 PM, Jan 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-31 13:33:58-05

On Thursday, the Michigan State Senate passed SB 13, which would move Michigan's presidential primary to February 27th, 2024. The bill is identical to HB 4029 which was filed on January 18, by more than two dozen Democratic state representatives.

The legislation also states that future presidential primaries after 2024 will always take place on the fourth Tuesday in February.

The bill now heads to the state House for a vote. The earliest that the vote could happen is Tuesday, January 31.

In order for the legislation to be relevant for the 2024 election, the bill must be signed before February 1. This is a deadline given by the DNC, ahead of their vote early next month on the final slate of primaries for the cycle.

The proposed line-up starts with South Carolina on February 3, then continues with Nevada and New Hampshire on February 6, then places Georgia on February 13, and Michigan on February 27.

But, this bill may face a snag due to red tape. Michigan has a unique system where laws do not take effect immediately or even within a couple of months.

Instead, laws don't go into effect until 90 days after the close of the session, which is two years from now. The motion to give a bill "immediate effect" requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

In the House, passing a bill with "immediate effect" is very straightforward. A two-thirds vote is still required, but no roll call vote takes place, just a simple "Yea" or "Nay" is sufficient. The Democrats hold a two-vote majority in the house (56-54), so the bill would pass.

But in the Senate, a roll call vote is held. That means a recorded 26 people need to vote in favor to achieve that two-thirds majority.

The bill passed down party lines 20 to 18.

It is unclear what will happen next in order to fulfill these requirements before it reaches Governor Gretchen Whitmer's desk and makes the DNC deadline.

In 2020, Michigan's primary was held on March 10, after Super Tuesday, and advocatessay moving Michigan's primary election up brings a lot of national attention to Michigan. Plus, it allows Michiganders to play a larger role before the field of candidates gets narrowed down.

“The idea that any president of the United States is incredibly familiar with our manufacturing heritage with our strong agricultural sector, with our history and with our leadership and people, gives us an amazing, strengthened role in national policy, and I think that is something that all Michiganders will want,” said Representative Phil Skaggs (D-80, Kent County).

Representative Skaggs is one of five state representatives from West Michigan to sponsor this legislation. The others include Rep. Will Snyder (D-87, Muskegon), Rep. Kristian Grant (D-82, Kent County), Rep. Rachel Hood (D-81, Kent County), and Rep. Julie Rogers (D-41, Kalamazoo).

It is not clear yet if the Republicans will also decide to host their primary on the same day.

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