Redford's state senator wants lawmakers to do what other working stiffs do — account for their attendance to their boss, in this case the voters.
State Sen. Glenn Anderson Tuesday said he plans to introduce legislation requiring both houses of the legislature to compile attendance records and make them easily available to the public.
Anderson said he expects to introduce his bill in about a month. But he's not sure how it will be received. “It's hard to believe this kind of legislation hasn't been introduced before,” he said, “and I don't know how it might have been received.”
Attendance isn't everything, the senator conceded. And, it's not necessarily an indication of effectiveness. Legislators must be able to get along with other people and sometimes compromise for the greater good, he said. “But in my opinion, you can't do the job if you're not there.”
Anderson talked about his bill shortly after the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank based in Midland, released lawmakers' attendance records for 2011 on the Michigan Votes Website. Anderson and Democratic colleague Tupac Hunter — whose 5th District includes northwest Detroit, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Inkster — had the best records among Democrats. Each missed two out of 830 roll call votes, according to the Website.
Overall, Republican lawmakers were in attendance more regularly, reported the Web site. Five Republican senators were present for every vote, it reported, and five missed one roll call votes out of 830, the total number cast last year.
Democrat Bert Johnson, whose 2nd District includes north Detroit and northeast Wayne County, had the worst attendance record, according to the Web site, missing 130 out of 830 roll call votes. Johnson told one Detroit newspaper his absences were related to a freak accident in February, when his hand was caught in a snow blower.
In the House of Representatives, State Rep. Phil Cavanagh of Redford was one of 61 lawmakers with perfect attendance. Forty-seven are Republicans and 14 are Democrats.