State Rep. Eric Leutheuser, who represents Hillsdale and Branch counties, now serves as a member of the newly formed House Ways and Means Committee.
“We’ll be looking at everything from health policy to education,” Leutheuser said. “Things that do have an impact on our local community and across the state.”
Ways and Means Committee Chair and State Rep. Brandt Iden said this is the first time the committee has ever been created in Michigan, and the purpose of it is to add a duel review process to policy legislation.
“The work of the committee is going to focused on ensuring that every bill we pass to the floor is ready to go,” Iden said. “All the changes to bills that are required before they get to the floor are going to be done between the first committee and then our committee, and every other committee will report to our committee before the bill goes to the entire floor.”
Both Leutheuser and Iden said the committee will be working closely with bill sponsors and chairs of other committees.
“We have to have relationships with them to make sure we form the right policy before we vote on it and move it to the floor,” Iden said.
Iden said Leutheuser will be working closely with various stakeholders and groups who are impacted by bills under review.
“Leutheuser will take on the role, as one of the seven members, who will be leading those conversations to make sure all those interests are worked out prior to the bill being voted on by the full house,” Iden said.
Leutheuser said the committee will meet three times a week and deal with a wide variety of bills.
“It’s going to be terrifically interesting,” Leutheuser said. “It’ll be challenging when there’s a high volume of bills to review.”
In previous terms, Leutheuser served on the Commerce and Trade, Tax Policy, and Financial Liability Reform committees. He said different members within the Ways and Means Committee will take the lead on different topics.
“We try to use our previous experiences to make our own committee work as smoothly as possible,” Leutheuser said.
Ways and Means Committee Clerk Eddie Sleeper clerked for the Tax Policy Committee while Leutheuser served on it.
“He’s a very thoughtful and smart representative,” Sleeper said.
Iden said he and Leutheuser have been good friends since beginning their time as representatives.
“He and I started together,” Iden said. “I look forward to working with Rep. Leutheuser and my other colleagues to make sure that we can come up with the best possible legislation for the state of Michigan because that’s our job.”