Roll call Date Bill no. Type Explanation
1 1/9/2019 HR 1 Passage The new Legislature is in session! I proudly voted for Lee Chatfield for Speaker of the House, who was elected unanimously, in my first vote as a member of the historic one-hundredth Legislature at Lansing. Representative Chatfield has been a tireless advocate for Michigan as Speaker Pro Tempore throughout my first term of office, and I know he will continue to serve with distinction for all people of Michigan: to treat all of our colleagues fairly, to honor and uphold the legislative process, and to expand transparency. It was my honor and privilege to support his nomination for Speaker of the House.
2 1/9/2019 HR 2 Passage I voted for House Resolution 2, to name Jason Wentworth as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives. Rep. Wentworth has been an honorable and trusted colleague, always acting in the interest of his constituents and all people of Michigan. His nomination was supported unanimously.
3 1/9/2019 HR 3 Passage I voted for House Resolution 3, to name Gary Randall to another term as Clerk of the House of Representatives. Gary Randall, himself a former Representative, has served as Clerk of the House since before my term of office, and performed the duty impeccably in my first term. I’m honored to support him for another term. His nomination was endorsed unanimously.
4 2/7/2019 HCR 2 Passage I voted for House Concurrent Resolution 2, to disapprove of Executive Order 2019-2, which would effectively repeal multiple laws passed in the previous term (PA 267, 268, and 269 of 2018) and therefore abolish the recently created Environmental Permit Review Commission, Environmental Science Advisory Board, and Environmental Rules Review Committee. These review committees provided important oversight of the Department of Environmental Quality and gave citizens long-overdue access to the rule-making process. More fundamentally, the governor does not have the power to abolish entities created by statute, and this Executive Order was, therefore, a violation of the constitutional separation of powers. There were, incidentally, other aspects of the Order I agreed with, such as abolishing the Michigan Agency for Energy and returning that authority to the Public Service Commission. But the bad far outweighed the good. The resolution passed 58 – 51.
5 & 6 2/28/2019 HBs 4001 & 4002 Passage I proudly voted for House Bills 4001 and 4002, which would require a criminal conviction before proceeding with asset forfeiture in cases involving up to $50,000 in seized property (i.e. major drug busts). Civil asset forfeiture occurs when the government takes and keeps the property of an individual it suspects of having committed a crime. For the majority of the more than 6,000 forfeiture cases in Michigan, assets were taken from people who were never convicted of a crime. In 2017, Michigan law enforcement agencies reported confiscating $13.1 million worth of cash and property through civil asset forfeiture. In more than 200 cases, people who were later found not guilty were forced to forfeit their property, never to have it returned. In a staggering 736 cases, charges were never even filed. This is a serious violation of the due process rights of citizens and must be corrected. The bills passed 107 – 3.
7 2/28/2019 HB 4061 Passage I voted for House Bill 4061, which would designate a portion of M-53 in Macomb County the Chief Petty Officer Jason Freiwald Memorial Highway. Jason Freiwald was a highly trained and decorated Navy SEAL, having received the Bronze Star Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals, to name a few. He died September 12, 2008, from injuries sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan. There is no taxpayer cost for memorial highway signage, which is privately funded. The bill passed unanimously.
8 3/5/2019 HB 4101 Passage I voted for House Bill 4101, which would allow the CEO of a municipality to appoint a designee to his seat on a Downtown Development Authority board. DDA boards are required to include their municipalities’ CEO; I see no problem with allow that person to designate someone else for that role. It passed unanimously.
9 3/6/2019 HB 4119 Passage I voted for House Bill 4119, which would allow charter townships to reestablish free public libraries. This essentially legalizes the way things are currently done; a 1976 law had left this unclear but the Library of Michigan has assumed that previously existing libraries were lawfully established. The bill is not expected to change any current conditions and it passed unanimously.
10 3/7/2019 HB 4244 Passage I voted for House Bill 4244, a supplemental appropriation for the Natural Resources Trust Fund: $26 million for 34 recreational development projects and 30 acquisition projects statewide. I worked with Rep. Webber to secure $228,400 to develop the Northern Trailhead for the Paint Creek Trail in Oakland Township, which will provide a new access point, parking and rest facilities for trail users to enjoy the scenic statewide Iron Belle Trail system. We also secured $300,000 for Orion Township to develop additional trail along the south side of East Clarkston Road to connect to the Paint Creek Trail near Kern Road. The project will fill a critical gap in the Iron Belle Trail route, and connect the Polly Ann Trail with the Paint Creek Trail. A Transportation Alternatives Grant Program through the Michigan Department of Transportation will also be supporting the project. When complete, visitors will be able to roam pristine pathways and boardwalks over Oakland County’s most-cherished wetlands and forested land. The Paint Creek Trail junction will connect trail users to a variety of alternative paths and bring in more visitors to support Orion Township. The bill passed unanimously.
11 & 12 3/7/2019 HBs 4066 & 4067 Passage I voted for House Bills 4066 and 4067, which would allow schools to install manual fire alarms further inside the schools where there is a vestibule. Schools that have a vestibule or waiting area may currently be out of compliance if the manual fire alarm is installed inside the main part of the school and not in the vestibule. Requiring a manual fire alarm to be located in a potentially small waiting area by an exit could slow down the evacuation process in the event of an emergency. This is a common sense rule fix and it passed unanimously.
13 3/7/2019 SB 87 Passage I voted for Senate Bill 87, which would restore the 95A district court in Menominee County, which was slated for removal. The 2012 Judicial Resources Recommendation called for its removal but local felony caseloads have risen since that recommendation. Under the bill the county would retain its 1 district judge instead of sharing one with two other counties. It passed unanimously.
14 3/12/2019 HB 4112 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4112, which would require alcohol licensees post a sign “informing” the public that drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects. This is totally unnecessary (alcohol already has warning labels) and insulting to the public. The insult is compounded by the required condescending wording: “Pregnancy and alcohol do not mix.” It passed 100 – 10.
15 3/12/2019 HB 4286 Passage I proudly voted for House Bill 4286, which would appropriate $10 million for the compensation of victims of wrongful imprisonment and require quarterly reports from the Attorney General on payments made, settlements, denied claims, and the balance of the fund. The state owes the wrongfully convicted the compensation that state law demands. It passed unanimously.
16 – 19 3/12/2019 HBs 4129 – 4132 Passage I voted for House Bills 4129 – 4132, which would allow parole boards to parole “medically frail” prisoners to a medical facility for the length of their parole term. These are elderly prisoners with chronic or severe health conditions that require constant expensive care, currently funded by the Department of Corrections. It’s far more cost effective to take care of someone inside a medical facility than a prison, and under the bill they would likely qualify for Medicaid. This would save taxpayers money (an estimated $4,000 per prisoner per year). The bills include protections to ensure public safety, protect victims’ rights, and restrict the option to only those prisoners that pose a minimal public safety risk. It also allows the prosecuting attorney or victim to object to the parole board’s decision and appeal to the sentencing judge. Prisoners would not have their sentences ended prematurely; they would complete their sentences in a nursing home or hospital rather than a prison. The bills passed 104 – 6, 104 – 6, 110 – 0, and 108 – 2.
20 3/19/2019 HB 4055 Passage I voted for House Bill 4055, which would require that property taxes be paid on a parcel before being divided. Currently local governments may have difficulty collecting delinquent property taxes when a parcel is split and new parcel numbers are created. It passed unanimously.
21 3/19/2019 HB 4060 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4060, which would designate a portion of M-10 in Detroit the “Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway.” Highway memorial bills are to honor our fallen heroes, soldiers and police officers, whose names might otherwise slip from our collective memory but whose sacrifice should be remembered. Aretha Franklin was a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and is among the top-selling recording artists of all time. She will be a part of Detroit history forever. I don’t support the Memorial Highway Act being used in this way. The bill passed 101 – 6.
22 – 30 3/19/2019 HBs 4007 – 4016 Passage I voted for House Bills 4007 through 4016, which are similar to bills passed in 2017, that would create a new Legislative Open Records Act to provide for public inspection of records of the legislature and the governor beginning next year. As they did two years ago, all of the bills passed unanimously. (The package did not pass the Senate in the previous term.) The bills largely mirror current provisions in the Freedom of Information Act, with some reasonable exceptions. This would greatly expand transparency for both the legislature and governor. As President James Madison said, “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both.”
31 3/19/2019 SB 3 Passage I voted for Senate Bill 3, which would allow court officers and deputy sheriffs to execute writs of restitution (eg evictions) and specifies procedure for removing occupants and personal property from the premises. Current law does not specify who can be authorized to carry out the eviction or what to do with the property. Often property left on the curb and is frequently stolen. This will ensure evictions are executed by court officers trained in proper procedure. It passed 106 – 1.
32 3/20/2019 HB 4077 Passage I voted for House Bill 4077, which would move of the effective start and end dates for a commercial rehabilitation certificate if the qualified local government failed to forward the application to the State Tax Commission. This became an issue when a company received timely approval for a commercial rehabilitation exemption certificate from the City of Flint, but the City filed the application late, causing the taxable value of a property to reflect the 2018 value rather than the 2017 value. It wasn’t the fault of the business and all parties involved intended for the tax abatement to be realized. The bill passed 102 – 4.
33 & 34 3/20/2019 HBs 4366 & 4367 Passage I voted for House Bills 4366 and 4367, which would allow trained library employees to administer opioid antagonists and provide some liability protection for those doing so. Because public libraries are open to all and offer solitude for extended periods, they are tragically becoming places for people to take opioids. The bills only create voluntary provisions and might help libraries cope with this emerging crisis. It’s sad what this has come to. The bills passed unanimously.
35 3/20/2019 HB 4296 Passage I voted for House Bill 4296, which would extend the sunset on e-filing court fees another ten years, through February 2031. The e-filing system was created in 2015 to implement statewide electronic fling for Michigan courts. The fees, which range from $5 for small claims to $25 for circuit, probate, and appeals courts, fund the entire e-filing system. E-filing improves service to the public, increases access to courts, and reduces the cost of filing for litigants. The bill passed unanimously.
36 4/09/2019 HB 4014 Passage I voted for House Bill 4014, which is part of the Legislative Open Records Act package we passed month, to provide for public inspection of records of the legislature and the governor beginning next year. The sponsor of this bill was in the hospital when the package was voted on, so the vote on it was postponed (she has made a full recovery). The bill passed 109 – 0.
37 – 42 4/09/2019 HBs 4102 – 4107 Passage I voted for House Bills 4102 through 4107, which would include cryptocurrency as a form of currency as it is defined in various crimes. This is essentially to keep up with technology, since the old definitions of money simply did not include cryptocurrency. This created a loophole for people engaging in criminals acts like drug trafficking, embezzlement, and money laundering. The bills passed 108 – 1.
43 4/09/2019 HB 4185 Passage I voted for House Bill 4185, which would add “real property” to the provision in the penal code on malicious destruction of police and fire department property. Currently the law only prohibits the destruction of “personal property,” so for example, a defendant’s breaking of a window of a county jail is not destruction of “personal property” and therefore not illegal under the section prohibiting malicious destruction of police property. (This example actually happened.) This bill would ensure consistent treatment for malicious destruction of police and fire department property. The bill passed 105 – 4.
44 4/10/2019 HB 4226 Passage I voted for House Bill 4226, which would cap the redemption fee that may be charged to a borrower reclaiming his property at $250. That is on top of the sale price of the property, the interest from the purchaser’s mortgage, the $50 sheriff’s fee, back taxes, liens, and so on. The $250 is for the purchaser’s designee’s trouble in calculating the total amount required to redeem the property. The issue is that the designee can currently set this price arbitrarily high and the redeeming owner has no avenue to challenge the amount of the fee. This would enable a purchaser to essentially block a redemption by setting an exorbitant fee. $250 is reasonable and homeowners going through the hardship of foreclosure. shouldn’t be ripped off at the moment they are saving their homes. The bill passed 108 – 1.
45 4/11/2019 HB 4121 Passage I voted for House Bill 4121, which would make permanent a bill that will expire at the end of this coming June that would allow county treasurers to continue to enter into tax foreclosure avoidance agreements with property owners for terms of up to five years. This is a successful program that has helped countless citizens avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. It passed unanimously.
46 & 47 4/11/2019 HBs 4224 & 4225 Passage I voted for House Bills 4224 and 4225, which would exempt hospices from a law we passed last term to require a “bona fide doctor-patient relationship” (defined by certain requirements) be established before a doctor could prescribe opioids. I was one of only 8 members of the House that voted against passing that law (SB 270 of 2017) at the time, concerned about unintended consequences, and I noted it was a violation of medical freedom and privacy. Shortly after its passage, we discovered, sure enough, this would cause suffering to many people in hospice care. These bills exempt hospices to relieve the suffering of those individuals. The bills passed unanimously.
48 4/11/2019 SB 203 Passage I voted for Senate Bill 203, which would clarify that “applicants” for cannabis business licenses include managing employees, partners, spouse, and those holding a 10% or greater ownership interest. This reverted a recently-changed definition that would have otherwise required the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board to perform criminal background checks on each and every personal involved with a prospective facility, rather than only those with a 10% or more interest. It passed 109 – 1.
49 4/16/2019 HB 4051 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4051, which would create a “CARES” (Community, Access, Resources, Education, and Safety) hotline at a cost of $1 million to $2.5 million annually to operate. The hotline would refer individuals who do not know where to turn for help to local services or health facilities with available providers. It’s not clear to me that the public would even know about it, and use it if they did. We already have a 2-1-1 hotline that connects people to community services, crisis services, healthcare, and many other types of community support. The bill passed 99 – 8.
50 4/16/2019 HB 4156 Passage I voted for House Bill 4156, which would allow retired mental health professionals to return to work without forfeiting their pension benefits. This would help address the shortage of mental health professionals. Those retirees earned and deserve their pension and that should not disqualify them from being able to work for pay. It passed unanimously.
51 4/17/2019 HB 4206 Passage I voted for House Bill 4206, which would make an exception to the required minimum number of school days due to the brutal winter we had with many more snow days than usual. It would allow districts to count a day as pupil instruction in the event the school was closed due to a declared state of emergency. School districts have construction projects waiting to be started as soon as school ends for the summer and those need to be completed before school starts again in the fall. Districts shouldn’t be punished for unpredictable weather emergencies. It passed 101 – 7.
52 4/18/2019 HB 4440 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4440, which would prevent an applicant for a medical marijuana facility from receiving a license if they had operated the facility with an invalid license as of this June. Since passing medical (and now recreational) marijuana laws, the state has had ongoing problems with licensing these facilities. In January, 72 unlicensed medical marihuana facilities were shut down by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Subsequently, the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board adopted a resolution to allow unlicensed facilities to reopen until March 31st while the department worked through the backlog of applicants. Three different lawsuits were filed in the Court of Claims against the state by unlicensed facilities. On March 28th, the Court of Claims issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the state from shutting down unlicensed facilities until the case can be decided. This legislation would essentially force these facilities to shut down until this litigation and licensing is worked through (which could take an unknown number of months if not years). It’s unfair to force these facilities out of business and this legislation may amount to “guild protection” for those currently licensed. The bill passed 102 – 4.