Richard Piet

MichiganVotes.org has put out their “Missed Votes Report” for Michigan legislators in 2015.

Sixty-six State Reps participated in all 504 House votes.  That group includes first term area Republicans Dave Maturen and John Bizon.

It also included former Reps Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser.

State Rep. Paul Muxlow, (R) from St. Clair County, missed a whopping 129 votes, but had a perfect voting record last year.

Area Republican Senators Tonya Schuitmaker, Margaret O’Brien and Rick Jones all had perfect voting records, making all 642 votes   Democratic Senator Virgil Smith missed 59 votes and Senator Jim Ananich missed 71.  Senator Mike Nofs missed the most votes of any Republican in the Senate, a total of 48 missed votes.  But all but a couple of those votes occurred in September when the Senator’s mother died, and in November when he was out of town attending an energy conference.  Nofs only missed 4 votes out of 936 in 2014.

The report notes that missed votes by legislators may be due to illness, family emergencies, or other good reasons. In addition, members of the House and Senate majority and minority leadership teams are sometimes required to be off the floor during votes.

Here's the story from the Mackinac Center For Public Policy:

MIDLAND — Michigan’s 38 senators and 110 representatives missed a combined 1,055 recorded roll call votes in 2015, according to the Missed Votes Report compiled by Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org.

Excluding purely procedural votes, the Senate voted 642 times and the House voted 504 times, for a total of 1,146 votes. The number of missed votes in 2015 is down from 1,093 votes last year and an astonishing 21,162 missed votes in the 2001-2002 legislative session, the year MichiganVotes.org began.

“The days of some legislators just not showing up for work are long passed,” McHugh said. “Legislators’ habits changed almost immediately when MichiganVotes.org began making this information easily accessible to voters.”

Two senators and two representatives missed 50 or more votes in 2015. There were 14 senators and 65 representatives who missed no votes. The full report can be sorted by name or by the number of missed votes.

The total number of possible votes is also listed for each legislator. By clicking on a legislator’s name, users can see a brief, plain-English description of the actual votes he or she missed. Missed vote totals for previous sessions can be viewed by entering a different date range.

McHugh noted that in most cases, missed votes occur when other demands within the legislative process call a lawmaker off the floor for a few minutes or when serious family or personal issues require an absence of an entire day or longer.

“Legislators are people, too,” McHugh said. “No one should jump to conclusions or assume bad faith, but if someone demonstrates a consistent pattern of missed votes for weeks on end, voters have a right to ask why.”

While large numbers of missed votes get people’s attention, McHugh noted the votes they don’t miss matter much more — and are the real focus of MichiganVotes.org’s different services.

“The searchable database with all the bills and all the votes of each and every legislator is just one way to promote accountability from those who represent us in Lansing,” McHugh said. “In addition, there is a free weekly roll call report for newspapers showing how local state legislators voted on key bills (which is also posted on Mackinac.org every week). There are also emails every session day for users who want to know about actions taken on subjects they choose.

Read the full report: http://www.michiganvotes.org/MissedVotes.aspx

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