Let's start the new year off with something positive that happened last year.

Looking back over 2014, I found some areas (with the help of Michigan Capitol Confidential reporting) in which Michigan Republicans and Democrats worked together.

Let's review them:

  • On Dec. 4, 2014 the House passed House bill 4186 in a 109-0 vote. The bill limits restrictions on "expunging" (clearing) a felony conviction from a person’s record (with exceptions for very serious crimes).  Two weeks later the Senate passed a slightly revised version with a 38-0 vote. The House unanimously concurred, and the bill is now awaiting a signature from Gov. Rick Snyder.
  • House Bill 4480 (making it easier to get information from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation) was introduced March 20, 2013 passed 107-0 in the House on Nov. 13, 2014, and a few weeks later passed 37-0 in the Senate with some revisions. The House concurred with the changes 108-1, sending the bill to Gov. Snyder for signature.
  • House Bill 4001 (capped charges for FOIA requests at 10 cents per page, and increased the penalties for agencies that "willfully and intentionally" withhold information that should be public) passed 102 to 8 in the House on March 20, 2014. The Senate reduced some of the proposed sanctions, but in a 30 to 8 vote on the last day of the 2013-2014 Legislature passed a version that still expands public access to information. The House concurred 101-9, and the bill now awaits a signature from the governor.

See, Democrats and Republicans can work together when they are not fighting each other over the issues or policies that they want to use in their upcoming elections.

Let's hope they continue to work together to attempt to improve our lives — or better yet, leave us alone, so we can work most of these issues out.

I am back live today on the Live with Renk show, which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts at (269) 441-9595.