Tim Skubick: Direct your attention to legislators' schedule

Tim Skubick: Direct your attention to legislators' schedule

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

Rep. Fred Durhal, Jr. thinks this story is a cheap shot. After you read it, see if you think the Detroit Democrat is spot on.

Between now and the end of the year, Michigan's 148 legislators will be at the state capitol for 22 days. That means for over 100 days they will be doing something else and they would tell you that means doing your business back in the district.

But some of them are also doing their own business.

"Traditionally they don't spend a lot of time here during an election cycle," recalls the former Democratic Speaker of the House Lou Dodak, who adds, "that's going to back to when I first came into the legislature."

There you have it. When legislators are running for re-election they most often don't show up at the capitol and if you have a beef with that just remember it's a tradition. But they are still at home meeting with constituents, the argument goes.

It's also not accurate, claims Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw), to focus on those 22 days because "we have more to do" back in the district.

Head nodding is Rep. Durhal who says lawmakers are on call "24-7" and up taking phone calls at all hours of the night.  They are attending meetings, and some even come back to Lansing to work on committee business.

But you have to wonder how the average person views that 22-day figure?

Brenda Reeber from Ludington, who was walking around the capitol rotunda the other day put it succiently, "I think that's ridiculous…there's an obligation to do your job, not looking to get the next one."

Reeber may be onto something there, but in fairness some would argue it is misleading to judge lawmakers on the time they spend in town. The only challenge is, there is no way to verify what they are doing back home. The word trust comes to mind.

So here is the fact: 22 days between now and the end of the year your lawmakers will not be here.

Now, everybody on Rep. Durhal's "cheap shot" side, raise your hands.

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