Senator Whitmer’s statement, in which Senators Hunter and Gregory concurred, is as follows:
What we have before us is a golden opportunity to make government smaller and to do something that really adheres to the philosophy of fiscal responsibility and justice. This is a great opportunity before us.
I was at the reconciliation breakfast this morning, and Senator Connie Mack spoke a lot about doing the right thing and putting our partisan differences aside. I thought it was a great message. Our Governor spoke, our Attorney General spoke, and it was a great way to start the morning. I think this really is an opportunity to make government smaller, make it more efficient, and to do a lot of the things that we promised on the campaign trail.
What I have before you is an amendment that tie-bars this court of appeals bill to another bill that cuts the court of appeals to 24 judges. This adheres with Governor Snyder’s remarks that we should have a court of appeals that is the size of 24 judges, as well as Chief Justice Robert Young’s remarks to the same and endorsing the SCAO report.
I just have a couple quotes from the Chief Justice that I thought really shed some light on the need to do this for the state budget, but also in a manner that won’t harm our citizens who are seeking relief through our court system. Justice Young said the Supreme Court unanimously endorses these recommendations. His quote is: “The Court has historically not taken a position either way on the report’s findings, so the Court’s unanimous endorsement is recognition of the superior quality of the JRR.” He supports Governor Snyder’s recommendations. Further, as reported in MIRS, Justice Young said, “Increasing the size of government is easy. It turns out it takes political courage to reduce it. Now we need the stars in the Legislature to make this a reality.”
This is our opportunity to achieve the goals that the Governor has outlined for us and what the Supreme Court Chief Justice and the Court has unanimously endorsed as well. This represents a savings of $800,000 a year, and it says that we are not going to bend to the will of one partisan interest group, but we are going to make good decisions for the people of Michigan on policy. We should be driven by policy and doing the right thing. I ask for your support of this amendment.