Next Senate majority leader hails union, abortion laws

David Eggert
Associated Press

Lansing – — Two years ago, Sen. Arlan Meekhof helped usher in Michigan’s landmark law making union fees voluntary for workers, a feat he’d thought was probably impossible until at least 2015.

Passing the “freedom-to-work” measure, though, ranks just second on the next state Senate majority leader’s list of legislative highlights. He said he was most proud when the Senate approved his bill prohibiting late-term abortions, which mirrored a federal ban.

Meekhof of West Olive near Holland was elected by Republican senators last week to lead the GOP-dominated Senate for the next four years. He will replace term-limited Randy Richardville in January. Republicans also control the House and governorship.

Meekhof, 54, said that, like Richardville, he will set a business-friendly agenda. “We want to make sure that we put public policy out there that encourages growth,” he said.

He said health care policy needs attention because of the state’s aging population.

Meekhof won election to the House in 2007 and was promoted to the Senate in 2010.

Some bills he successfully sponsored, such as the right-to-work law, have stood out.

The legislation attracted protests from union members who said it was a partisan attack, but Meekhof countered that it will help Michigan land new jobs.