Bill Text: MI SCR0022 | 2021-2022 | 101st Legislature | Engrossed

Bill Title: A concurrent resolution offered as a memorial for Shirley Johnson, former member of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Passed) 2021-12-02 - Referred To Secretary For Record [SCR0022 Detail]

Download: Michigan-2021-SCR0022-Engrossed.html



senate concurrent resolution no. 22

Senator Shirkey offered the following concurrent resolution:

A concurrent resolution offered as a memorial for Shirley Johnson, former member of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Whereas, The members of the Michigan Legislature were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Shirley Johnson. A long-serving member of this legislative body, she will be remembered as a hard-working legislator who did not shy away from tough jobs or issues. She was a tireless public servant who worked for the betterment of her constituents in Oakland County and Michiganders across the state; and

Whereas, Shirley Johnson was a native of Chicago and moved to Michigan when her husband accepted a job with Chrysler. She attended Wayne State University and Oakland Community College. Shirley Johnson became very engaged in her new community, both as a leader and member of various organizations dealing with health, education, politics, and other matters. Her community engagement included being president of the Royal Oak Republican Women's Club, a coordinator for the March of Dimes and Muscular Dystrophy Association, and a member of the League of Women Voters and the Royal Oak and Berkley parent teacher associations, among other endeavors. In addition to her community service, she worked in private industry. Shirley Johnson's entry into legislative service started when she managed the winning campaign for State Representative Dave Campbell and subsequently worked in his office. Her vast experiences and civic-minded spirit prepared her well for her time as a legislator; and

Whereas, First elected to the House of Representatives in 1980, Shirley Johnson's tenure in the House lasted for 18 years through 1998. Shirley Johnson broke the glass ceiling when she became the first woman to serve as majority vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. She served on many appropriations subcommittees, including those dealing with social services, health, consumer and industry issues, the judiciary, and many other areas. In the House, she was also vice chair of the standing Committee on Colleges and Universities and a member of the standing committees on Constitutional Revision and Women's Rights, Public Safety, Senior Citizens and Retirement, and Urban Affairs; and

Whereas, In March of 1999, Shirley Johnson won a special election to the Senate and was re-elected in 2002. Dealing with the budget and crafting smart, sound appropriations bills were still at the forefront of Shirley Johnson's legislative career. In fact, she broke ground again as the first woman to chair an appropriations committee, doing so in the Senate. In addition to serving as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she chaired the subcommittees on Career Development and Strategic Fund Agency, Capital Outlay, and Transportation; was vice chair of the subcommittees on General Government, Higher Education, and the Department of Natural Resources; and was a member of the subcommittee on Community Health. In the Senate, she also served on the standing Committee on Education as vice chair; as a member of the standing Committee on Families, Mental Health and Human Services; and on the Legislative Council and the Senate Fiscal Agency Governing Board; and

Whereas, Shirley Johnson was known to be an effective legislator who mastered the appropriations process during difficult economic times. Her diligent work and strong leadership on the appropriations committees guided the wise allocation and use of taxpayer dollars; and

Whereas, While the state budget was her specialty, Shirley Johnson also worked on many other issues in her more than 25 years in the Legislature. She was an early advocate for improving mental health policy. Welfare and school finance reform were two of the multitude of other issues in which she shepherded the passage of legislation. She also sponsored a bill to allow mothers to safely and legally abandon a newborn, among many other policies; and

Whereas, Shirley Johnson was a tremendous lawmaker, evidenced by the numerous awards she received during her time in office from both local and statewide organizations, including being named Legislator of the Year by the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards, United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan, the Michigan Credit Union League, and the Michigan Judges Association, among others. She was honored for her great work by advocates of business interests, health matters, children's rights, and other issues; and

Whereas, Shirley Johnson's reputation is one of a fierce advocate who worked across the aisle to get things done. It has been said that no woman wielded more power in the history of the Michigan Legislature than Shirley Johnson. In fact, only one other woman has served longer in the Michigan Legislature than Shirley Johnson's tenure of 25 years and 9 months; and

Whereas, Shirley Johnson was more than a public servant. She loved her family and was proud to be called wife, mom, and grandma. Moreover, Shirley Johnson's staff was also her family. Under her mentorship and high expectations, many are now leaders in organizations and businesses that regularly interface with the Legislature. Her love also extended to the Capitol building where she was known to give impromptu tours and invite strangers in to see her office; and

Whereas, Shirley Johnson was a committed and hardworking legislator who cherished her family. Upon her passing, we offer our condolences to her family and friends. We hope that they may find comfort in the knowledge that the community and state share in their bereavement and that the legacy of Shirley Johnson's contributions will long continue to enrich our state; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That we offer this expression of our highest tribute to honor the memory of Shirley Johnson, a member of the House of Representatives from 1981 to 1998 and a member of the Senate from 1999 to 2006; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Johnson family as evidence of our lasting esteem for her memory.