By: - February 20, 2019 1:51 pm

House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Republicans, Feb. 19, 2019 | Ken Coleman

Republican members of the Michigan House on Tuesday unveiled their action plan for the 2019-20 legislative term, hitting on issues they’ve stressed before.

Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

During the 12-minute, broad-strokes presentation, the 58-member majority caucus talked about:

  • Improving infrastructure, including roads, public water systems and broadband.
  • Protecting constitutional rights and religious freedoms.
  • Addressing mental illness and victims of opioid addiction.
  • Putting “more hard-earned money back into the pockets of Michigan taxpayers” through lower car insurance rates and tax relief.

In a booklet titled “Leading the Way,”  the “road map” features input from members of the House Republican caucus.

“A lot of hard work has gone into putting this state on the right course after the lost decade,” state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) said. “And these issues are priorities for us, because these are the significant reforms that will help us stay on that course. We are going to focus on the state’s most pressing issues and deliver real reforms that will benefit the people of this state and our future generations.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her first State of the State address | Casey Hull

Republican leaders have criticized Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for lack of specifics in her State of the State message. However, Chatfield and state Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis) didn’t offer many specifics in their presentation or how to pay for priorities, either.

The plan didn’t outline what tax relief would look like, for instance. Last term, then-state House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) tried to push through an income tax cut, but it failed in the GOP-led chamber.

Aaron Miller

“Some of these guiding principles are just that: guiding principles,” said Miller, chair of the 12-person committee who crafted the plan. “We will decide on specifics of a lot of these priorities over the next two years.”

Whitmer has said her agenda on education and infrastructure isn’t partisan. Chatfield also said that House GOP priorities “are nonpartisan,” which includes bipartisan issues like Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reform and clean drinking water.

However, “Leading the Way” does include conservative priorities like anti-abortion measures under the “protecting life” section and “religious freedom,” which underscores that Chatfield has said he doesn’t favor adding LGBTQ people to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit.