House Bill 4436 (as reported without amendment)

Sponsor: Representative Ilona Varga

House Committee: Transportation

Senate Committee: Transportation and Tourism

Date Completed: 5-12-97


Former Representative Matthew McNeely served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1964 to 1986. He represented the Third District of the State House, which encompassed a portion of the City of Detroit. During his tenure in the House, McNeely served 18 years as Speaker Pro-Tem, being the first African-American to do so, and four years as Associate Speaker. In addition to serving as an elected official, McNeely has volunteered to work for various nonprofit organizations, such as the Neighborhood Foundation, which works with the Detroit Public Schools on crime and drug prevention. Some people believe that the State should honor former Representative McNeely for his long and distinguished career of public service by renaming in his honor a portion of roadway that traverses part of his previous House district.


The bill would create a new Act to require that the part of M-85 located in the City of Detroit between Outer Drive and I-75 also be known as "Matt McNeely Boulevard". The State Department of Transportation would be required to provide for the erection of suitable markers on that part of the highway, indicating its alternative names.


(Please note: The arguments contained in this analysis originate from sources outside the Senate Fiscal Agency. The Senate Fiscal Agency neither supports nor opposes legislation.)

Supporting Argument

The bill would recognize Matthew McNeely's distinguished 22-year career as a member of the Michigan Legislature, 18 years of which he served as Speaker Pro-Tem for the House of Representatives. The former representative, who was the first African-American to serve as Speaker Pro-Tem, served in that capacity longer than any other person before or since. Upon his retirement from the Legislature, Representative McNeely was given the title of "Speaker Pro-Tem Emeritus". Born May 11, 1920, in Millen, Georgia, Mr. McNeely moved to Detroit in 1938. He and his wife settled in southwest Detroit where they raised five children. Mr. McNeely began his career of public service by participating in a number of community activities and initiating clubs and community meetings that led to the formation of the Southwest Detroit Civic League and to the development of a thriving community. Mr. McNeely remains active in his community and in the Neighborhood Foundation, a nonprofit organization he formed in 1986 that involves community organizations and the Detroit Public Schools in crime and drug prevention programs. Throughout Mr. McNeely's long and distinguished career, he has received many honors in recognition of his service to his community and the State. Under the bill, a portion of M-85 located in Mr. McNeely's former House district would be named in his honor. This would serve as a lasting tribute to Mr. McNeely's service to his community and the State.

- Legislative Analyst: L. Arasim


The bill would result in a cost of approximately $1,000 to the State Trunkline Fund for the fabrication and installation of markers.

- Fiscal Analyst: B. Bowerman


This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan Senate staff for use by the Senate in its deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.