Roll call Date Bill no. Type Explanation
1 1/8/20 5008 Passage I voted for House Bill 5008, which would make an exception to state law requiring the display of fire escape routes in prisons where the prisoners could see them and indeed prohibit it. We shouldn’t force our jails and prisons to post what essentially could become escape maps for inmates. It passed 71-36.
2 1/8/20 4309 Concurrence I voted no on concurring with the Senate substitute on House Bill 4309, which I voted against previously. The Senate change was technical in nature and the essence of the bill (to impose licensure and regulation on fantasy sports betting) was the same. Concurrence passed 95 – 12.
3 1/8/20 309 Passage I vote for Senate Bill 309, which would reduce the $100 commercial vehicle fee for tow trucks to $50, which is what other commercial carriers pay. Happy to reduce a fee. It passed 105 – 2.
4 1/8/20 184 Passage I voted no on Senate Bill 184, which would remove from statute the requirements for licensing and continuing education of athletic trainers and have the executive branch promulgate new rules. This is a step in the wrong direction; the legislature should be re-establishing its ability to make policy while reducing executive regulations, not giving away more of its authority to the executive branch. It passed
5 1/8/20 434 Passage I voted no on Senate Bill 434, which would impose licensure on mobile salons and direct the executive branch to come up with all the rules they want to make this possible. Michigan already has among the worst, most burdensome occupational licensing requirements for cosmetologists and their practices; we don’t need an additional layer of licensing and regulation on top of it. This should have been a simple legalization, not giving the a department the power to make up expansive new rules. The bill passed 102 – 5.
6 – 10 1/8/20 466 – 469, 539 Passage I voted for Senate Bills 466 through 469 and 539, which would make reforms to Michigan’s foster care system to implement changes required by the federal Family First Prevention Services Act: it would -Create a new Qualified Residential Treatment Program for children placed in congregate care. -Implement new assessments for children in foster care with priority on placement with family members or in family foster homes. -Add new documentation and accountability requirements for decisions on child placement. -Allow greater input by family members and other adults with a relationship to the child. -Require courts to approve final placement in a Qualified Residential Treatment Program. -Reform background check requirements for child safety. Without changes to the foster care system, Michigan could lose millions in federal funding for the care of children in the system, and child care decisions should be made with detailed assessments that are documented and accountable. They passed unanimously.
11 1/8/20 527 Passage I voted for Senate Bill 527, which would designate Beacon Boulevard in Grand Haven the Officer Scott Flahive Memorial Highway. Officer Scott Flahive worked for the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. On Tuesday, December 13th, 1994, Officer Flahive stopped a vehicle which contained two recently escaped criminals. While he approached the car, one of the suspects shot through the door with a rifle, striking and killing him instantly. Our law enforcement personnel continually place themselves in danger on behalf of our citizens and state and it is our duty to honor them. The bill passed unanimously.
12 1/14/20 4051 Concurrence I voted no on concurring with the Senate substitute on House Bill 4051, which would create a Michigan “CARES” hotline for mental health. The Senate changes were minor details but I voted no because I don’t think the hotline, which would cost $1 million to $2.5 million a year to operate, will be effective. I just yesterday spoke with a constituent with a family member that was just hospitalized for suicidal thoughts; people in these conditions call someone they know or go to a hospital, not call a complete stranger working for the government. (If they even know the number — how much will this cost in marketing?) Concurrence passed 101 – 7.
13 1/14/20 4020 Passage I voted for House Bill 4020, which would allow the purchase and possession of stun guns for people over age 21. It should have been 18, as this is age discrimination amongst adults, but better this than nobody at all be allowed to defend themselves with a stun gun. The bill passed 84 – 24.
14 1/14/20 4832 Passage I voted for House Bill 4832, which would designate a portion of I-94 in Jackson County the Deputy Gate Keeper George W. Haight Memorial Highway. George Haight was the first Department of Corrections employee killed in the line of duty, poisoned by an inmate in an elaborate escape attempt in 1893. It passed 107 – 1.
15 1/16/20 4704 Passage I voted for House Bill 4704, which would require Child Protective Services to document why an investigation was abbreviated and to allow for an abbreviated checklist in those cases. The Child Protection Law requires that an investigation checklist should be completed for all CPS investigations. A recent audit found that this checklist was not necessarily completed when the department conducted abbreviated investigations. Abbreviated investigations result when it becomes apparent that there is no child abuse or neglect very early in the investigation. It passed 103 – 2.
16 1/16/20 4705 Passage I voted for House Bill 4705, which would clarify what constitutes commencement of a child abuse investigation. A recent audit found that Child Protective Services, which is required to “commence” an investigation within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, would consider a phone call sufficient to be considered “commencement” of an investigation, not actually determining the well-being of the child in question. This bill specifies that an investigation is not deemed to have been started until CPS has made contact that provides information on the well-being of each child in a household where abuse and neglect is suspected. It passed unanimously.
17 1/16/20 4706 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4706, which would split a category in child abuse cases into two sub-categories. CPS currently has 5-category system: Category 1 is when the child is not safe and immediate action is needed. Category 2 is when there is evidence of abuse or neglect and a high risk of future harm. Category 3 is when there is a preponderence of evidence of abuse or neglect and the department is required to assist the family. If the family does not participate or the risk is not alleviated, the case can be reclassified to Category 2. Category 4 is when there is not a preponderence of evidence of abuse but there is a future risk. Category 5 is when there is no evidence of abuse. The bill would split Category 3 into two sub-categories, one in which CPS’ follow-up is need and another in which it is not. This bill, and the other CPS-related bills we are voting on today, are the result of the Auditor General’s report on his investigation into CPS. The incident in the report that led to this recommendation was an example where a child’s optometrist reported to CPS that the parents never got the child the glasses he or she needed and CPS, after ordering the parents to get the child’s glasses, never followed up to ensure that they did. Of course if the parents hadn’t actually gotten the glasses, the optometrist would have reported them again (doctors are mandatory reporters — they have to report these things to CPS). There is no need to split Category 3 into two sub-categories because there already is a category where follow-up is necessary: Category 2. CPS didn’t follow up with the parents because they didn’t need to. The Auditor General is a fact-finder, not a legislative advisor, but in this case his disagreement with the department (the actual experts) here led to a policy is not only unnecessary, but will probably create a great deal of additional work for an already overworked department following up on minor cases instead of more serious ones. The bill passed 105 – 1.
18 1/16/20 4707 Passage I voted for House Bill 4707, which would require an annual report by the Department of Health and Human Services outlining a review of each counties’ implementation of the standard child abuse and child neglect investigation protocols, which are required by law to be implemented in each county. Once the department can report that all 83 counties have implemented these protocols, the report would only be required every 5 years. The report would be sent to the legislature and the Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. This was in response to a recent audit that found that not all counties have established protocols. The current law does not provide for oversight to ensure all counties comply. The bill passed unanimously.
19 1/16/20 4708 Passage I voted for House Bill 4708, which would add license-exempt Child Care and Development (CDC) providers to the Central Registry if a preponderance of the evidence shows the individual has perpetrated child abuse or neglect. CDC is a federal program, and therefore those wishing to only take on CDC program children are not required to get a license from the state of Michigan although they care for children in the same way as licensed providers. This was in response to an audit that found that unlicensed CDC providers that commit abuse or neglect are not automatically placed in the central registry even though state-licensed providers are. The bill passed 105 – 1.
20 1/16/20 4709 Passage I voted for House Bill 4709, which would require CPS to submit a quarterly report to the House and Senate Oversight Committees. This report would be required to provide the following measurements of data for all CPS cases in the 30 days prior to the report: – Was an investigation commenced within 24 hours after receiving a report? – Was a central registry review or clearance performed for all required individuals? – Was face to face contact made in the required amount of time? – Was a sibling placement evaluation completed when 1 or more children remain in the home after a removal? – Were the family members need and strengths assessments completed? – Was the supervisory review performed in a timely manner? – How Many CPS investigators have been concerned for their safety – How many investigators are using the mobile application or other tool to document compliance? This is in response to a recent audit that found multiple problems with reporting at CPS. The bill passed 103 – 3.
21 1/16/20 4816 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4816, which would create a bizarre scheme where certain counties would be able to propose taxing hotels to pay for a regional event center. For counties with populations between 250,000 and 300,000 (currently Kalamazoo, Ingham and Ottawa), they could pass an ordinance assessing up to 4% of room charges on local hotels to pay for event centers. Upon adoption of the ordinance, the county clerk shall send a notice to the owner of each hotel in the proposed assessment district, and if the clerk receives a written request for referendum from not less than 40% of the owners, or not less than 40% of the total number of rooms in all of the transient facilities, there would be a referendum in which each owner will have one vote for each room in the owner’s facilities. (Of course, the larger hotels would always prevail over smaller ones.) If a referendum isn’t called in 40 days, the ordinance would go into effect. However, for counties with between 170,000 and 180,000 or counties with populations between 300,000 and 400,000 (currently Muskegon and Washtenaw counties respectively), a referendum would be required. The bill would only apply in these five counties, until population changes would cause counties to fall in and out of these classifications. Aside from the strange population requirements that make this policy inconsistent across counties in time, I don’t support the concept of allowing a majority of hotels to impose taxes on the minority. The bill passed 80 – 26.
22 1/16/20 4291 Passage I voted for House Bill 4291, which would change the reporting dates for the pre-election and post-election campaign finance statements for candidate committees and ballot question committees to be the same as the filing dates for other reports. Aligning the reporting dates for pre- and post-election reports with the filing dates of other reports will bring consistency to the Michigan Campaign Finance Act and make it easier for candidates to remember the dates and avoid fines. It passed 100 – 6.
23 1/16/20 4245 Passage I voted for House Bill 4245, a book-closing supplemental budget for the previous fiscal year to account for some caseload costs at the Department of Health and Human Services that were higher than expected. The total was $174 million. This was necessary to meet obligations and the bill passed unanimously.
24 1/21/20 588 Passage I voted for Senate Bill 588, which would allow for discounts and refunds for spirits sold by specially designated distributors. Licensees would be allowed to return any unopened bottles of spirits to the distributor. We passed a similar measure for beer and wine last year and the law should be the same for all types of alcohol. It passed unanimously.
25 & 26 1/21/20 5146 & 5147 Passage I voted for House Bills 5146 and 5147, which would allow mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to get paid while they have their temporary license. Under current law, all MLOs are required to be licensed, but the licensure requirements vary depending on where the MLO works. MLOs employed by a federally insured financial institution are licensed and registered at the federal level (via the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System) and are exempt from state licensure. To switch from a federal to state-licensed institution they have to complete pre-license training, continuing education, pass a criminal background check, and pass a test. Just because you move from one company to another doesn’t mean you lose the knowledge necessary for licensure. These bills ensure they can change jobs without losing the ability to make a living for an extended period. They passed unanimously.
27 1/21/20 5263 Passage I voted for House Bill 5263, which would phase out the so-called “Lifeline” program. This is a federal program that has provided a discount on land-line phone service to low-income individuals, since 1985, and Michigan added its own supplemental program in 1991. The federal government is now phasing the program out and Michigan should do the same. People don’t use land lines anymore. Michigan is one of only a handful of states that continues to have a state lifeline program, and this bill would provide a two-year phase out time to the few people still using the program time to adjust. The bill passed 79 – 28.
28 1/22/20 4335 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4335, which I voted for previously, to allow some hours required for a barber or cosmetology license to be interchangeable. The amendment didn’t change the bill content; it was a conflict substitute because the Governor signed SB 434 which amended the same section. Concurrence passed unanimously.
29 & 30 1/22/20 5002 & 5003 Passage I voted for House Bills 5002 and 5003, which would reinstate an option for children under 17 to purchase a $2 fishing license. Children under 17 currently are not required to purchase a fishing license, and they still would not be required to do so, but the option would encourage good habits and conversation about the value of supporting conservation efforts, which are funded by hunting and fishing licenses. The bills passed 101 – 5 and 98 – 8 respectively.
31 1/22/20 4266 Passage I voted for House Bill 4266, which would codify legal protections for electric cooperatives to build and expand broadband networks on existing infrastructure and within existing easements. It also provides a framework for bringing a legal action against an electric cooperative over property disputes and sets limits on damages that surrounding property owners may recover. Electric cooperatives primarily serve about 750,000 customers, mostly in rural Michigan. Although Michigan law and legal precedent allow for electric cooperatives to install broadband networks on their existing infrastructure, other states have experienced legal challenges. Missouri for example had very similar law and legal precedent but federal litigation resulted from the installation of new broadband facilities despite those provisions. In response, Missouri and five other states have since adopted legal protections. Without further certainty in statute, the concerns resulting from Missouri have led Michigan cooperatives to struggle with the decision of whether to risk building new broadband facilities within current law or consider updating thousands of easements with individual property owners. The bill passed 105 – 1.
32 1/22/20 5266 Passage I voted no on House Bill 5266, which would creates new requirements for electric cooperatives to follow when negotiating pole attachments with telecommunications and cable providers. The bill requires “just and reasonable” pole attachment rates, under the incorrect assumption that just and reasonable rates aren’t what are reached when two parties enter into negotiation. The government abridging the right to contract inevitably harms both parties — because it outlaws an option the parties would otherwise agree to. The inevitable result is less broadband access in these areas. See also, “The Myth of the Natural Monopoly,” online at https://mises.org/library/myth-natural-monopoly-0. The bill passed 105 – 1.
33 & 34 1/23/20 5195 & 5313 Passage I voted for House Bill 5195 and 5313, which change the fees for transferring a registration to a new vehicle, generally making them much lower. Currently, the fee is $8, and if the registration fee would be higher for the vehicle being transferred to than the original vehicle, that difference. Under these bills it would be a flat $10, and no additional cost for the difference. That makes it lower, by the difference of the two vehicles if the newer one is worth more (as is usually the case), and only $2 more if the newer vehicle is worth less. The bills passed unanimously.
35 & 36 1/23/20 650 & 651 Passage I voted for Senate Bills 650 and 651, which would eliminate a sunset on a provision that allows a teacher who is employed or contracted by an education management organization (EMO) to be the teacher of record in a district that operates a dropout recovery program. Dropout recovery programs were established and funded in 2012 to encourage districts to help students finish who have dropped out of school. Due to the nature and small size of these programs as well as the various age/grade levels being served, it makes sense for some districts to have a highly qualified teacher employed or contracted by an EMO since the teacher can serve students across multiple districts. However, there is no specific exemption in law for school districts who partner with an EMO to operate a dropout recovery program to have a teacher who is employed or contracted by the EMO to be the teacher of record. The bills passed 103 – 4 and 104 – 3.
37 & 38 1/23/20 5187 & 5188 Passage I voted no on House Bills 5187 and 5188, which are window-dressing for corporate welfare bills coming soon, which would extend the tax exemptions we currently offer one data center company (Switch) to other data center companies in Michigan. The tax exemptions take money away from the School Aid Fund. The bills claim that “an amount equal to all revenue lost to the school aid fund as a result of the exemption…must be deposited into the state school aid fund.” This is what I call the Bucket Game, where we dedicate some particular revenue stream to a particular recipient, when at the end of the day, all that actually does is shift financial pressure that gets compensated later. It works both ways; suppose for example we pass a tax increase to fund computers in schools. Schools can then take whatever they were spending on computers before and spend it on whatever else they want. More fundamentally, every time the government picks winners and losers, the people lose, because they’re interfering with natural market forces. We see more data centers might come to Michigan if they don’t have to pay local taxes, but we don’t see all the companies that don’t come to Michigan because the tax burden for everyone else has to be higher to make up the difference. These are just financial games to justify special interest deals. The bills passed 95 – 12 and 96 – 11 respectively.
39 & 40 2/4/20 4126 & 4127 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bills 4126 and 4127, which I voted for previously, to require pregnancy health warning labels on marijuana products. (As I said on my first vote, I don’t generally support product labeling mandates, but with so much misinformation about marijuana being some kind of miracle drug, it’s important to note that this is not safe for a developing baby.) The Senate amendments made technical changes to reflect the reorganization order of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency but the essence was the same. Concurrence passed 100 – 4.
41 2/4/20 4577 Passage I voted for House Bill 4577, which would name a portion of M-52 between Owosso and Perry the Michigan Desert Storm Veterans Memorial Highway. The law requires that all road signage be paid for with private funds before the Department of Transportation erect any signage, so there is no cost to taxpayers to memorialize the veterans of Operation Desert Storm. It passed unanimously.
2/5/20 HCR 12 Adoption I don’t usually post explanations on House resolutions because they are not passed by recorded roll call vote, but because I voted no in committee, I wish to explain my vote against House Concurrent Resolution 12, which would urge Canada not have a radioactive waste storage site on the shores of Lake Huron. My vote against the resolution does not necessarily mean I support the plan as it was presented, but the brief testimony today was not sufficient for me to vote with certainty on a complex issue to which we were just introduced. There is enormous confusion about nuclear waste. It conjures images of barrels of glowing green liquid, not the solid assemblies they actually are. Stainless steel inner and outer liner with concrete between them. They don’t leak and there is no liquid. The “contamination” of water is so low-level you can drink it. (This has been done before Congress.) Nuclear energy is the cleanest and safest form of energy available, and we had too little information before weighing in on another country’s policy. I must assume that concerned groups in Canada have discussed this with their officials, and I would defer the matter to the NRC, EPA, and Trump administration in general on foreign energy policy. The resolution was passed without a vote, and as it happened, Canada withdrew the proposal anyway.
42 2/5/20 4926 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4926, which would remove intermediate school districts’ enhancement millage cap and eliminate a requirement to calculate expired exemptions. It would revise methods used by local governments to calculate the taxable value of commercial “personal property” (tools and equipment) and industrial property for purposes of receiving state reimbursement of foregone taxes under the complex system of exemptions and subsidies for property taxes that are levied these assets. This is yet another “clean up” bill on the personal property tax and also expand the ability to seek enhancement millages (i.e. tax increases). It passed 96 – 9.
43 2/5/20 4927 Passage I voted for House Bill 4927, which would clarify the calculation of personal property tax (PPT) reimbursement for school operation loss that is not reimbursed by the School Aid Fund and exclude local authorities that first levied a millage after 2013 from receiving a PPT reimbursement. This makes a technical change to allow hold harmless and out-of-formula districts to receive PPT reimbursements. This is a correction as to which authorities may receive a PPT reimbursement under the dynamic formula. Municipalities that first levied a millage after 2013 should not be included. It passed unanimously.
44 2/5/20 4928 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4928, which would allowing the Local Community Stabilization Authority (LSCA) to receive a portion of the Local Community Stabilization Share (LCSS) revenue for the LCSA’s cost to implement and administer the act. The LCSA funding would increase by 1 percent from the previous year, each year starting after fiscal year 2019. This is in order to distribute personal property tax reimbursements to municipalities. This is yet another personal property tax “clean up” bill but the legislature can simply appropriate this money in the budget. It passed 96 – 9.
45 2/5/20 4929 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4929, which would include school district and ISD debt, school district hold harmless, and SET millages that are eligible to be captured by a tax increment finance authority (TIFA) in the calculation of a personal property tax (PPT) reimbursement starting with 2020 calculations. This is yet another PPT “clean up” that would allow TIFAs to capture increased PPT reimbursements. It passed 91 – 14.
46 2/5/20 4930 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4930, which would allow municipalities to “correct” 2013, 2014 and 2015 personal property taxable values. Municipalites who identify inaccurate personal property tax values could see an increase in PPT reimbursements but the amount is unknown. Municipalities already have had multiple opportunities to calculate and revise their personal property taxable values. It passed 93 – 12.
47 – 49 2/6/20 5159 – 5161 Passage I voted for House Bills 5159 through 5161, which would prohibit the use of vitamin E acetate in e-cigarettes and vapor products. While both the governor and president have regrettably imposed major bans on e-cigarettes and vaping products that may harm public health by driving people to smoking cigarettes, vitamin E acetate, which is not found in commercial vaping products, appears to be the actual culprit behind vaping-related hospitalizations. As of October 15, 2019, of the 867 reported lung injuries from vaping products, 86% reported using a THC (cannabis) product and 100% of the fluid samples taken contained vitamin E acetate. This is an obvious health problem with no conceivable need: vitamin E acetate is not even an addictive substance or flavor enhancer; it is a thickener. The bills passed 102 – 2.
50 – 52 2/6/20 4567 – 4569 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4567 through 4569, which would increase fines, impose new reporting requirements, hike license fees and extend bans on commercial fishermen from taking specific species of fish in Michigan waters. They would ban commercial fishermen from taking yellow perch in Saginaw Bay. Commercial fishermen are already banned from harvesting walleye and lake trout. Commercial fishing is almost extinct in Michigan, down to just 13 family-owned fisheries, and these bills may finish them off, which would effectively eliminate the ability of fish loving consumers in Michigan to purchase locally harvested fish. The bills passed 72 – 32 and 73 – 31.
53 & 54 2/18/20 5117 & 5118 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bills 5117 and 5118, which I voted for previously, to extend the statute of limitations for Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act claims from 6 months to 18. The Senate amendment was purely technical to include an additional Senate bill that was needed to update another section of law. Concurrence passed unanimously.
55 2/18/20 5124 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 5124, which I voted for previously, to assist to low-income homeowners at risk of facing foreclosure. The Senate changed the opt-out requirement for cities, villages, and townships to an opt-in, except within Wayne County; removed the requirement the county treasurer post the parameters of the reduction program on their website, if they have created such a program; allowed a person who is in default of a current payment plan to still be eligible for this tax reduction program; and when a reduction of tax liability under this new program occurs, the debt must be paid off within three years. Also, the Senate amended it to require the elected council or board of a city, village, or township wishing to partake in a program to approve a resolution stating so. I support all of these changes and concurrence passed 105 – 2.
56 2/18/20 68 Passage I voted for Senate Bill 68, which would extend the statute of limitations for Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act claims from 6 months to 18. We already passed this but needed to update another section of law; HB 5117 updates Section 6431 of the Judicature Act while this bill updates Section 6452. It passed unanimously.
57 & 58 2/18/20 4274 & 4275 Passage I voted for House Bills 4274 and 4275, which would allow the Office of Retirement Services (ORS) to provide an annuity retirement option to public school and state employees. ORS would be required to provide at least two fixed annuity options and may provide a variable annuity option. Employees should have more options on how they want to invest their money for retirement. They passed 59 – 48 and 58 – 49.
59 & 61 2/18/20 4551 & 4552 Passage I voted no on House Bills 4551 and 4552, which would exempt disabled veterans from needing a “passport” sticker on their vehicle to enter a state park and that they may park in handicapped spaces. While I appreciate the intention, moving the disabled veteran designation from the clearly read license plate to a tab system will make it much harder for law enforcement to determine if a vehicle is allowed to park in a handicap parking space, or is allowed to enter a state park for free. Disabled veterans can already obtain handicapped-designated plates and hangers, and it would have been simpler to just allow them to obtain the state park sticker free of charge. The bills passed 105 – 2.
60 2/18/20 5315 Passage I voted for House Bill 5315, which would allow a restaurnat located on Northern Michigan University’s campus to obtain an alcohol license. We have passed similar bills for other colleges and I would prefer we just create a set of rules for all college campuses, but this is still better than the current situation where the restaurant cannot obtain a license. The bill passed 104 – 3.
62 2/18/20 4831 Passage I voted for House Bill 4831, which would require the Department of Technology, Management and Budget to approve in writing another agency’s decision to exercise an option to extend a contract. This would provide more oversight from DTMB when agencies are exercising options to extend a contract and more transparency to the procurement process. It passed 106 – 1.
63 2/18/20 5015 Passage I voted for House Bill 5015, which would require salary and benefit information of state employees be posted online. This information is already available through the Freedom of Information Act; the bill just makes it so people that want to know don’t have to file a request and pay a fee. The list will not include name, initials, electronic e-mail address, Social Security number, phone number, street address, or other information that could be used to identify an employee or employee’s beneficiary. This encourages government transparency and helps educate taxpayers on how their tax dollars are being spent. The House of Representatives already does this. The bill passed 104 – 3.
64 2/18/20 5164 Passage I voted for House Bill 5164, which would change the frequency for when the state inspectors must perform a full inspection of a high-pressure boiler from every two years to every three years. The full internal inspection of high-pressure boiler systems is a very time-consuming process and is very burdensome for the entity and the department, and the industry standard for the inspection of high-pressure boiler systems is every three years. The bill passed 98 – 9.
65 2/19/20 4152 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4152, which I voted for previously, to correct an odd oversight such that an individual born to unmarried parents prior to October 1, 1978 can conduct a search for their birth record at their local registrar at no additional fee. The Senate simply made a technical update to reflect an unrelated change in that law since the House passed in last year. Concurrence passed unanimously.
66 2/19/20 4689 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4689, which I voted for previously, that would allow temporary door barricades in school buildings. The department would be responsible for adopting standards for the installation of these devices. The Senate adopted an S-1 substitute that would exempt an existing temporary door barricade that is already installed in a school from these requirements. Concurrence passed unanimously.
67 & 68 2/19/20 4923 & 4924 Passage I voted for House Bills 4923 and 4924, which would make knowingly and intentionally manufacturing, selling, distributing, or installing a counterfeit airbag a 4-year felony. This is a life-endangering type of fraud; not sure why we didn’t decide to include ball joints as well. The bills passed 106 – 2.
69 2/19/20 118 Passage I voted no on Senate Bill 118, which would provide for a specialty license plate for Blue Star Families. This is a family with a member in active military service. Michigan currently has 29 specialty license plates, and this would make 30. The bill doesn’t specify how military service is verified, what happens when someone retires from service and is therefore no longer a Blue Star Family, and I don’t know if there is any penalty for fraud. This is all unnecessary complication when you can just get a bumper sticker. The bill passed 106 – 2.
70 2/19/20 693 Passage I voted for Senate Bill 693, which would revise details of a $15 million agricultural disaster loan program authorized by prior legislation. It would allow for longer-term and lower interest loans, among other details. These are estimated to have no fiscal impact and expected to make the program more effective. The bill passed 106 – 2.
71 & 72 2/19/20 29 & 30 Passage I voted for Senate Bills 29 and 30, which would provide enhanced penalties for second or subsequent convictions for third and fourth degree child abuse. Currently, second or subsequent convictions for second degree child abuse carry enhanced penalties, but there are no such enhanced penalties for third or fourth degree child abuse. This bill makes the penalties for third and fourth degree more consistent with the penalties for second degree, and longer prison sentences for people with prior child abuse convictions are proportionate. The bills passed 95 – 13.
73 & 74 2/19/20 5148 & 5149 Passage I voted for House Bills 5148 and 5149, which would provide exemptions for attorneys to advertise and provide legal services to adoptive and biological parents who are involved in court-supervised adoptions. Laws passed in 2016 were aimed at curtailing the practice of unregulated child transfers also known as “rehoming” but accidentally curtailed lawyers from advertising and providing legal adoptive services. This was not the intent and these bills correct the error. They passed unanimously.
75 2/19/20 5141 Passage I voted for House Bill 5141, which would allow voting jurisdictions to pool resources to create absent voter counting boards to count absentee ballots. With the passage of Proposal 3 last year to encourage no-reason absentee, there is a concern that local clerks will not be able to count the absentee ballots in a timely manner. This gives clerks more flexibility. It passed 106 – 2.
76 2/19/20 4396 Passage I voted for House Bill 4396, which would repeal an outdated law that outlined penalties for abandoning a building on a road that interferes with the flow of traffic. Not sure when people leaving buildings on the side of the road was ever a problem, but this law is not used and should be removed. It passed unanimously.
77 2/19/20 5194 Passage I voted for House Bill 5194, to change the weight limit in the definition of “automobile or light truck” from 10,000 pounds to 14,000. This bill provides needed clarity in the law as it is no longer necessary for mechanics to have an additional certification to work on vehicles between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds. It passed unanimously.
78 – 82 2/19/20 4680 – 4684 Passage I voted no on House Bills 4680 through 4684, which would eliminates $5 license plate fees for various veteran and military license plates. Besides the concern that specialty plates cost more to make and it was likely represented when they were enacted that these new plates would have no cost because those buying the plates pay the additional $5, the bills are tie-barred to another bill to create another new specialty plate for female veterans. The state doesn’t need to be creating special new license plates again and again with no end in sight. The bills passed 106 – 2.
83 2/20/20 4152 Concurrence I voted (again) to concur with the Senate substitute of House Bill 4152, to correct a weird glitch that required a law to allow an individual born to unmarried parents prior to October 1, 1978 to conduct a search for their birth record at their local registrar at no additional fee. The substitute addressed a conflict with a recent law and concurrence passed unanimously.
84 2/20/20 4689 Concurrence I voted (again) to concur with the Senate substitute of House Bill 4689, to allow for a temporary barricade in a school. The update was again technical and concurrence passed unanimously.
85 2/20/20 5043 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5043, which would require a recipient of public mental health services to be notified that they may request mediation and have both parties engage in mediation regarding a dispute against a community mental health services program. The Senate version allows the parties to agree to voluntarily suspend their dispute resolution, unless precluded by a report of an apparent or suspected violation of rights under Chapter 7, which is the Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services section. Concurrence passed unanimously.
86 – 102 2/20/20 5341 – 5355 & 5400 Passage I voted for House Bills 5341 through 5355 plus 5400, which together would allow micro brewers to self-distribute up to 2,000 barrels of beer to a retailer or distributor annually. Any on-premises sales from a micro brewer’s taproom would not be included when calculating the 2,000 barrel limit. Under current law Michigan has a “3-tier” system of brewers, distributors, and retailers, and brewers are not allowed to sell directly to retailers. (I don’t support this at all.) Under this package, micro brewers would be able to self-distribute, encouraging even more diversity and competition to make tasty beverages. Some of the bills contained regulations I dislike, but all of the bills are tie-barred together (i.e. they only go into effect if all of them are signed into law), so they are essentially one thing; an all-or-nothing proposition. So I voted for them all. On balance, this is a big step in the right direction. The bills passed by a range of votes, from 97 – 7 to unanimous support.
103 2/25/20 HR 227 Adoption I voted for House Resolution 227, a resolution to reaffirm the right of Michigan residents to keep and bear arms under the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 and the Constitution of the United States. The resolution noted that “Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 clearly affirms a right to keep and bear arms. This provision prescribes that the primary purpose of the right to keep an bear arms is not related solely to hunting, but undoubtedly allows Michigan citizens to be able to protect their selves and families from the private lawlessness of other persons or potential tyranny of governments.” Despite being a non-binding resolution, 32 of my colleagues voted “no” on affirming the basic human right to defend oneself. I salute Rep. Gary Eisen for putting us on record on this. The resolution passed 75 – 32.
104 – 106 2/25/20 4735 – 4737 Passage I voted no on House Bills 4735 through 4737, which would require anyone requesting through FOIA any department study of game species to sign an affidavit they will not use the location information contained in the study for hunting purposes. A violation would result in a misdemeanor penalty and fines ranging from $100 to $5000, depending on the species. Using studies as a means to site game might be unsportsmanlike, but it’s much more problematic to set this new precedent of establishing restrictions on the usage of public information. The bills passed 87 – 20 and 85 – 22.
107 2/25/20 4508 Passage I voted no on House Bill 4508, which would impose an extensive regulatory regime on “travel insurance” (covering things like cancellations, lost luggage, and travel-related medical expenses). Michigan law already defines travel insurance and it is unnecessary to create additional regulations on such a small line of insurance products. This will reduce competition and drive up costs. The bill passed 105 – 2.
108 2/25/20 4740 Passage I voted for House Bill 4740, which would establish the Dr. T. K. Lawless County Park in Cass County as a Dark Sky Preserve. This does not impose restrictions on light use by park users, who are asked to use nighttime lighting in moderation, arrive with headlights on low beam, and use courtesy in dealings with others. However Cass County is attempting to have the county park awarded an International Dark Sky Park designation for the property. The bill passed 106 – 1.
109 – 116 2/25/20 4254 – 4260 & 4265 Passage I voted no on House Bills 4254 through 4260 and 4265, which would create special penalties for assault and battery of senior citizens. In addition to assault and battery already being serious crimes, Michigan already has a criminal statute on vulnerable adult abuse. Penalties should be consistent based on the nature of the crime, not the special status of the victim. Additionally, judges have discretion based on the facts of each case to set the appropriate penalty. The bills passed by a range of 88 – 19 to 102 – 5.
117 – 121 2/25/20 5054 – 5058 Passage I voted for House Bills 5054 through 5058, which would create an address confidentiality program that permits a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, or stalking to apply to have an address designated by the Attorney General to serve as the victim’s address for receiving mail. Allowing perpetrators to have access to a victim’s identifying or location information creates an additional opportunity for harmful contact for survivors and their family members that can be avoided. The bills passed unanimously.
122 – 124 2/25/20 5401, 5402 & 5463 Passage I voted for House Bills 5401, 5402, and 5463, which would authorize the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or a local sheriff to expeditiously issue Local Watercraft Controls for temporary No Wake Zone (NWZ) orders on inland lakes during high water conditions when requested by a local governing body. The department can currently issue permanent NWZs, but it can take several months to implement. It also provides the structure for the DNR to consider a longer term, but not permanent order. This would provide assistance in preventing further water damage to homes and property during high water conditions. The bills passed unanimously.
125 2/26/20 4476 Passage I voted for House Bill 4476, which would requires all projects with a cost greater than $300,000 to be bid competitively, and restricts counties to a maximum of $800,000 annually expended under the non-competitive bid option. Under current law, all road construction projects (including both construction and preservation) over $100,000 are required to be bid competitively. Any projects less than $100,000 may be done with that agency’s workers. This bill allows local agencies to work on small to medium size projects, which increases competition and gives road agencies additional options to conduct road work efficiently. The bill passed unanimously.
126 & 127 2/26/20 5197 & 5198 Passage I voted for House Bills 5197 and 5198, which would allow municipalities to archive construction documents electronically. This will save municipalities from spending funds on record storage that can be used to provide enhance or additional services to their residents and protect the documents from fire, misplacement, similar loss. The bills passed 104 – 1.
128 2/26/20 4042 Passage I voted for House Bill 4042, which would create the Nurse Licensure Compact to allow registered or licensed nurses to practice in states other than Michigan and reciprocally, allow registered or licensed nurses in other states that are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact to practice in Michigan. Thirty-four states are members of the Nursing Licensure Compact, which reduces burdensome regulations. And with the continuous need for healthcare workers, the Nurse Licensure Compact may assist in closing the gap by allowing nurses to practice across borders and through telenursing. The bill passed 55 – 50.
129 3/3/20 5421 Passage I voted for House Bill 5421, which would clarify that the law against electronic eavesdropping does not apply to using security monitoring devices in a person’s own residence, unless done for a lewd or lascivious purpose. This is common sense and the bill passed 106 – 2.
130 3/3/20 5336 Passage I voted for HB 5336, which would revise details of the rules for receiverships involving commercial property. It clarifies that the rules apply to a receivership for an interest in personal property and real property, fixtures, and any personal property related to or used in operating the real property. It also requires an owner to provide a list of all creditors and other known interested parties within 7 days after a receiver is appointed. The receiver must then provide all creditors and other known interested parties with notice and a copy of any order governing its appointment. Also, if the receiver concludes that the receivership property is likely to be sufficient to provide a distribution to creditors (other than those holding a perfected lien), then the court may order the receiver to give notice to all creditors and other interested parties that they need to submit claims. The bill adds several new definitions, including “adequate protection,” “court rules,” and “secured party.” The changes were supported by judges and business lawyers. The bill passed 105 – 3.
131 & 132 3/3/20 5490 & 5491 Passage I voted for House Bills 5490 and 5491, which would allow a court appointee to operate a medical-marijuana facility or a marijuana establishment. Currently, laws related to medical and recreational marijuana have no statutory provisions allowing a court-appointed individual to operate a medical-marijuana facility or marijuana establishment. This is problematic because there are times when a court needs to appoint a receiver, personal representative, or guardian to manage or run commercial property. This will be interesting, because marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Let’s see what happens! The bills passed 107 – 1.
133 3/4/20 5479 Passage I voted for House Bill 5479, which would prohibit the use of public resources (i.e. our tax-dollars) from paying for gun buy-up programs. A gun buy-up is the government or other entity hosting a gun buying event — typically not to resell them, but to destroy them. These are typically described by the misleading term “buy-back,” which is inaccurate, because the government cannot buy “back” what it never owned to begin with. If a private organization wishes to spend its donors money for no purpose but to destroy perfectly good, resalable firearms, that is their right, but it is totally inappropriate for taxpayer dollars that should be spent on roads, schools, public safety, and anything else to instead be spent in the totally wasteful act of buying used guns. The bill passed 58 – 49.
134 3/4/20 253 Passage I voted no on Senate Bill 253, which would prohibit lawsuits against certain real estate agreements/contracts unless made in writing and signed by the party to be charged. This would overturn a recent Court of Appeals decision that upheld the legal principle going back decades, if not centuries, that a contract is a contract and a promise is a promise, whether made verbally or in writing. Contracts in writing are far easier to enforce, because their authenticity is more difficult to dispute, but a verbal promise is still a promise, even if it is the burden of the opposing party to prove that the promise was made. Many contracts have been agreed to by handshake, and courts have upheld their validity, so long as it can be shown that the agreement was made. This bill would essentially declare all verbal contracts covered by the terms of the bill to be null and void. We should not pass a law that would void existing contracts. People agree to contracts with the expectation that they can redress their disputes in court and this bill deprives them of that protection. The bill passed 104 – 2.
135 3/4/20 5289 Passage I voted for House Bill 5289, which would eliminate the fee for a Michigan Certificate of Stillbirth. We recently passed a law allowing a one-time tax exemption for stillbirth, so long as they provide a certificate of stillbirth. To obtain the certificate, a family must apply for one through the State Registrar, which includes a search of the State of Michigan Vital Records for a fetal death report. The records search can cost $46 or more. Requiring a taxpayer to purchase a certificate of stillbirth for the purposes of a tax exemption defeats the purpose of the tax exemption. It passed 100 – 6.
136 3/4/20 5333 Passage I voted for House Bill 5333, which would state that money in the Forest Development Fund shall only be used for providing principal and interest payments on any bonds or notes of the authority; for forest management operations and practices; for obtaining and maintain certification of sustainable forestry standards in the state forest; and administration and enforcement of the registered forester program. This would restrict use of the fund for anything other than its stated purposes. The immediate prior administration did an excellent job of managing the fund, increasing revenues through economic activity, using the funds only for their stated purpose, dipping into the fund balance only for state forest related things such as to purchase needed forest firefighting equipment. There are concerns that the current administration could see this nice pot of money and once again raid it to solve other, unrelated problems in state government. The bill passed unanimously.
137 3/4/20 5053 Passage I voted for House Bill 5053, which would include performance-related liquidated damages or performance targets with incentives provisions in all procurement contracts entered into by the department or state agencies. The state shouldn’t be held liable for a vendor failing to meet the requirements of a contract. This will ensure the state will not be liable for the failures of a vendor in a contracted requirement. The bill passed unanimously.
138 – 141 3/4/20 5492 – 5495 Passage I voted for House Bills 5492 through 5495, which would make the state government’s information technology projects more efficient, effective and accountable. They would centralize all information technology (IT) services by the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, (Currently, some projects are done through Health and Human Services. Remember how it turned out when Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services developed the ObamaCare website?), require a quarterly report on all projects involving information technology services, and require the Department provide certain information to the auditor general for each information technology vendor contract or maintenance project exceeding $250,000. The bills all passed unanimously.
142 3/5/20 4030 Passage I voted for House Bill 4030, which would allow township boards opting to create a special assessment district to do so on a pro rata frontage basis or against each owner for the same amount. Currently they only have the first option. Special assessment districts are created when fifty-one percent of the property owners on a private road petition the township to create the assessment for maintenance or improvement of the road. In the current system, people with more frontage along the road pay more, possibly a lot more, and would therefore oppose any such arrangement where those with long driveways and little road frontage pay much less than they do. This gives them an alternative option in these circumstances. It passed unanimously.