On Thursday, February 5, the Michigan state Senate Elections and Government Reform Committee voted favorably on SB 44. The bill would move the Great Lakes state presidential primary from the fourth Tuesday in February to the third Tuesday in March; back into compliance with national party rules.
After testimony from the Michigan Republican Party and the secretary of states office, the committee vote broke along party lines. The committee's four Republicans voted to send the bill to the floor for consideration while the lone Democrat voted against the measure. According to the Detroit News, the move by Senator Morris Hood (D-3rd, Dearborn) was less about opposition to the bill than it was about Michigan Democrats not being consulted on the change of primary dates.
Michigan Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor's mansion and can make the move without Democrats in the state. That was true last December as well when a bill with the same goal passed the state Senate before dying in the state House during the lame duck session. That may have been more of a timing issue than a lack of support for that bill.
The Michigan Republican Party endorsed the move to March 15 last fall.
UPDATE (2/12/15): Bill passes Senate
UPDATE (2/18/15): House passes amended version
UPDATE (2/19/15): Senate concurs with House changes
UPDATE (2/20/15): Governor signs bill (changes primary date to March 8, 2016)
Hat tip to Richard Winger at Ballot Access News for the heads up.
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