The Michigan state House on Wednesday, February 18 amended and passed the state Senate bill to reschedule the Wolverine state presidential primary.
By a 72-38 margin, the Michigan state House passed an amended version SB 44. The Senate passed the bill calling for a third Tuesday in March presidential primary date last week, but the House moved that date up a week to the second Tuesday in March. It is a minor change, but perhaps one that is indicative of a compromise of sorts between the Michigan Senate and House. Both versions of the bill -- both dates (March 8 and March 15) -- are compliant with both national parties' delegate selection rules and the March 8 date does not conflict with voters/taxpayers ability to appeal property tax assessments; something that typically takes place during the week of March 15.
The March 8 date also allows Michigan to go as early as possible without potentially being overshadowed by the southern regional primary that appears to be forming the week before on March 1. And while a possible Big Ten primary would not occur with Illinois and Missouri on March 15, the idea is not dead as Ohio is currently scheduled to conduct its presidential primary on March 8.1
Also, as FHQ mentioned when this bill passed the state Senate, the current Michigan Republican Party delegate allocation plan is compliant under the Republican National Committee rules on either March 8 or March 15. The contest would be conditionally winner-take-all if a candidate were to receive a majority of the primary vote. Absent that outcome, though, the allocation would be winner-take-all by congressional district with the statewide, at-large delegates allocated proportionally. This meets the RNC requirements for the pre-March 15 proportionality window (when states are required to have an element of proportional allocation in their plans).
March 8 might be a compromise between the two Michigan legislative chambers, but time will tell the tale there. The bill now heads back to the Senate in its amended form for further consideration.
UPDATE (2/19/15): Senate concurs with House changes
UPDATE (2/20/15): Governor signs bill (changes primary date to March 8, 2016)
1 March 8 is a date that Alabama and Mississippi are currently slated to hold presidential primaries but have been linked to the SEC primary proposed for the week before March 8.
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