|Meekhof, left, Smith, right, Kowall, center|
By Brandon Hall
Just when one thinks they've seen it all from Lansing and Arlan Meekhof, news breaks that he damn well may allow Sen. Virgil Smith to stay in the Senate and serve from jail while collecting a taxpayer salary for 10 months. Smith was arrested for trying to kill his ex-wife for refusing three way sex with the Senator and some other woman...
And Meekhof has the nerve to take cheap shots at Donald Trump?! Derp...
Anyway, check out this excerpt of an article from Emily Lawler at MLive:
"A senator involved in a shooting incident last year may be able to serve jail time without resigning or giving up his taxpayer-funded salary under a plea deal approved by a Wayne County judge earlier this month.
The Senate has the power to expel a member but has not made any move to do so in regards to Virgil Smith, a Detroit Democrat. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, met with Smith last week and said the legal process had not yet played out.
Asked about the possibility of Smith continuing to serve and continuing to collect a taxpayer-funded salary from jail, Meekhof said "that would be a concern."
Smith faced charges related to a May 2015 altercation involving him, a woman he was seeing and his ex-wife. In that incident, he allegedly shot at his ex-wife's Mercedes-Benz. He reached a plea deal with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to plead guilty to a felony, serve 10 months in jail and resign.
But Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon threw that last portion of the agreement out, saying he didn't have the power to enforce the resignation provision. A court hearing to further discuss that aspect of the plea deal is set for March 28.
Smith has voted with Republican leadership on many routine and key votes since the May 2015 incident..."
The article continues:
"Former Sen. Bill Ballenger remembers legal situations coming up a few times while he served, but said a lawmaker serving this length of jail sentence would be unprecedented.
"There would be nothing like what Virgil Smith would be doing if in fact he really contemplates serving from jail for 10 months. That would be unbelievable," Ballenger said.
The Senate has the power to expel members with a two-thirds vote per the state constitution. "Each house shall be the sole judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its members, and may, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected thereto and serving therein, expel a member," the constitution states.
The House of Representatives expelled member Cindy Gamrat in 2015. Attorney Mike Nichols, who is representing her in a criminal proceeding, said the contrast between Gamrat and Courser's ousters and Smith's treatment was "an interesting study in political expediency."
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com