Gov. gets 1st bill, would add back Northern Michigan judge

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    The Legislature on Thursday sent its first bill to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — a plan to restore the 95-A District Court in Menominee County.

    Whitmer and lawmakers have been in office for about two-and-a-half months. The Advance reported that more than 400 bills had been introduced in the first two months, including high-profile bills reforming auto insurance and the Freedom of Information Act.

    Sen. Ed McBroom | Michael Gerstein

    The Upper Peninsula court was eliminated in 2012 after a 2011 Judicial Resources Recommendation (JRR) report said 45 judgeships should be axed, according to a nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency analysis of the the proposal. The northern Michigan court was one of them.

    Senate Bill 87, sponsored by state Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), reinstates a judge to that office. The bill flew through both chambers without opposition.

    Supporters say that although the court dissolved in 2012, there has been a “substantial increase” in the area’s caseload, the fiscal analysis said. They also expressed hope that the judge could help facilitate the creation of a new drug court for the area.

    No arguments against the legislation were presented in House committee hearings.

    In 2019, a state district court judge salary is $170,815. The analysis said the bill would have no impact on state or local coffers, however.

    Michael Gerstein
    Michael Gerstein covers the governor’s office, criminal justice and the environment. Before that, he wrote about state government and politics for the Detroit News, the Associated Press and MIRS News and won a Society of Professional Journalism award for open government reporting. He studied philosophy at Michigan State University, where he wrote for both The State News and Capital News Service. He began his journalism career freelancing for The Sturgis Journal, his hometown paper.

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