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By Jim Larkin
Whether or not Michigan joins 45 other states in adopting an anti-bullying law next year may well depend on how state residents voted on Nov. 2.
State Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-Dewitt, who as senate majority floor leader has blocked an anti-bullying law from being voted on, is term limited and could not run for re-election. The person who replaces him as senate majority floor leader, and how he or she stands on the anti-bullying law, will be critical.
And he or she will probably be Republican, who are more divided on the issue. Republicans, who have a current 22-16 edge in the senate, were expected to keep their majority in Tuesday’s election. Seventeen of the 38 seats are considered safe Republican, 11 safe Democratic, three leaning Democrat and one leaning Republican. The crucial six tossup districts included:
,AecThe 7th District in western and southern Wayne County, now held by term-limited Republican Bruce Patterson. Democratic candidate Kathleen Law was endorsed by gay advocate groups.
The 10th District in central Macomb County, now held by term-limited Democrat Michael Switalski. Democratic candidate Paul Gieleghem was endorsed by gay advocate groups.
The 26th District in eastern Genesee County and northwestern Oakland County, now held by term-limited Democrat Deborah Cherry. Democratic candidate Paula Zelenko was endorsed by gay advocate groups over far-right Republican David Robertson.
The 29th District in western Kent County, now held by term-limited Republican Bill Hardiman. Democrat David LeGrand was endorsed by gay advocate groups.
The 34th District in Muskegon County, now held by term-limited Republican Gerald VanWoerkom. Gay advocate groups endorsed Democrat Mary Valentine.
Outgoing Lt. Gov. John Cherry said he thinks lawmakers in 2011 will be pressured to adopt a new law by a public that is growing more and more concerned about bullying.
“I think you will see next year that there are a number of factors that will make it (passage) more likely,” Cherry said. “I’m getting the sense there is more citizen activity, more advocacy on the topic that make it more likely to be addressed next year – if not in the legislature than by ballot proposal.”