Welcome to the Michigan House of Representatives Citizen's Guide Page.
Use the links below to access more information under each heading.
The Michigan House of Representatives, together with the Michigan Senate, comprise Michigan's full-time legislature.
The House of Representatives consists of 110 Members who are elected by the qualified electors of districts having approximately 77,000 to 91,000 residents. Representatives are elected in even-numbered years to 2-year terms. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures through the federal decennial census.
The primary purpose of the Legislature is to enact new laws and amend or repeal existing laws. During their two-year tenure, Representatives will introduce, and vote on, over 4,000 bills. An estimated 600 to 800 of these will become law. Legislators and legislative committees spend many hours of work on each bill before the bill is sent to the House floor for consideration.
The presiding officer of the House is called the Speaker. The Speaker is a current member of, and is elected by, the House of Representatives. Currently, Republicans are in the majority and Representative Kevin Cotter is Speaker of the House. The Speaker Pro Tempore and Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore, are also elected by, and from, the House members. They preside when the Speaker is absent or wishes to participate in debate on the House floor.
House sessions are open to the public and are normally held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1:30 PM and on Thursdays at 12:00 PM. On occasion, the House also convenes on Mondays and Fridays. The daily proceedings of the House are published in the House Journal. In addition, the records of committee actions on all bills and resolutions are available for public inspection. The Michigan Legislature web site is an excellent resource for citizens to use regarding past and current legislation.
Representatives in the majority and minority leadership positions have offices in the Capitol building. All other Members and staff of the House of Representatives are located in the Anderson House Office Building, directly across the street from the Capitol at 124 N. Capitol Ave.
Michigan's Legislature is a sovereign and independent branch of state government vested with the power to enact laws by which the actions of the government and the people are regulated and protected.
The first Michigan Legislature, consisting of 16 Senators and 50 Representatives, met in the first Capitol in Detroit, which served as our state's capital city until 1847, when it was moved permanently to Lansing. Today's Legislature consists of 148 members: 110 State Representatives and 38 Senators, sent to Lansing by the voters of their separate districts. These men and women share an important trust and responsibility as expressed by one of the fundamental provisions of the Michigan Constitution of 1963: The public health and general welfare of the people of the state are hereby declared to be matters of primary public concern. The Legislature shall pass suitable laws for the protection and promotion of the public health.
The direct link between the people and their legislators is reflected in the declaration at the head of every law, which reads: The People of the State of Michigan enact...
Meeting Times of the Michigan Legislature
The Michigan Legislature convenes in an annual session at noon on the second Wednesday in January of each year. Each session continues until the members agree to adjourn sine die (without day), subject to interim recesses. Special sessions of the Legislature may be called by the Governor but are limited to the consideration of subjects the Governor places before the Legislature.
The House sessions are normally held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1:30 PM and on Thursdays at 12:00 PM. Senate sessions normally begin at 10:00 AM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. In addition, both chambers, on occasion, convene on Mondays and Fridays.
Number of Michigan Legislators
The Legislature is apportioned every ten years after the official total population count of each federal census so that each Representative and Senatorial district has as nearly equal population as possible. Based on the 1990 census, each of the 110 State Representative districts has approximately 85,000 residents and each Senate district has approximately 245,000 residents.
Who can be a Legislator?
Except for certain criminal convictions, any person 21 years of age or older who is a United States citizen and a registered voter in the district to be represented can be elected to either the State House or Senate. However, a legislator can hold no other public office except notary public. In addition, an amendment to the constitution adopted by the voters limits State Representatives to three terms (six years) in the House of Representatives and State Senators to two terms (eight years) in the Michigan Senate.
Where is Session held?
The present Capitol was formally opened on January 1, 1879. This magnificent structure, which was rededicated on November 19, 1992 has been restored to the splendor of its original condition. The Legislature consists of two chambers. The Senate Chamber is located in the south wing of the second floor and the House Chamber is in the north wing of the second floor. Both chambers are equipped with a public address system and an electronic voting system to record votes. The floors of the chambers are not open to the public during legislative sessions, but visitors are welcome to view the sessions from the third floor balconies that overlook the chambers.
The presiding officer of the House is called the Speaker (elected from, and a member of, the House of Representatives). The Speaker Pro Tempore and Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore, who are also elected from and by House members, preside when the Speaker is absent or wishes to participate in debate. The Constitution provides that the Lieutenant Governor shall be the President of the Senate, but shall not have a vote unless the votes are equally divided. The Senate elects a President Pro Tempore, an Assistant President Pro Tempore, an Associate President Pro Tempore, and an Assistant Associate President Pro Tempore from its membership.
Bills and Public Acts
The proceedings of each day's work are published in the Journals of both chamber. In addition, the records of committee action on all bills and resolutions are available for public inspection: Committee Bill Records.
To make certain that every member has the opportunity to become acquainted with legislation, bills in the regular sessions must be printed or reproduced and in the possession of each chamber for at least five days before they can be passed. Each bill must be read three times before it can be passed. The final vote on each bill is recorded in the Journals.
All laws must be published in their original words and be made available to the public within 60 days of the adjournment of each regular session.
During a two-year session, the Legislature will introduce approximate 4,000 bills, of which 600 to 800 will become law. Proper consideration of the bills requires organization, time and hard work. Legislators and legislative committees spend many hours of work on each bill before the bill is sent to the floor of either chamber for consideration. The floor debate on a bill, seen by a visitor, is only one of the stages of the legislative process.
The people can force the enactment of laws, or reject some laws passed by the Legislature, through the process of petition, submitted to the electorate at the next general election or special election as set forth by the Legislature:
(1) The INITIATIVE petition, requiring 247,127* signatures of registered voters, is used to propose laws and to enact or reject laws.
(2) The REFERENDUM petition, requiring 151,356* signatures of registered voters, is used to approve or reject laws enacted by the Legislature.
(3) The CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, requiring 302,700* signatures of registered voters, is used to amend the Michigan Constitution.
*In each case, a percentage of the total vote cast for all candidates for Governor at the last preceding general election at which a Governor was elected: (1) 8%, (2) 5%, and (3) 10%.