Roll Call Number Date Bill Number Vote Type Vote Reason
1 1/11/18 SB 207 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 207, which would allow the director of Michigan State Police to provide limited arrest powers to state property security personnel on state property. They reportedly have this authority only for property in the city of Lansing and in Windsor Township located in Eaton County. In the rest of the state where state security personnel are not permitted, MSP has to use its own officers. Using these security personnel as authorized by MSP will save MSP time, make it easier for the state to do business outside of Lansing, and save the state money by using security personnel rather than MSP officers. It passed 61 – 45.
2 1/11/18 SB 525 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 525, which modifies the number of judges based upon the recommendation of the State Court Administrative Office. It would eliminate 2 judges by attrition, reverse 2 trial court judges pending elimination, convert a district judge to a circuit judge, and allow two district courts to merge. These reforms ensure judicial resources are distributed appropriately based on population trends and court caseloads across Michigan. It passed 63 – 43.
3 1/11/18 HB 4176 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4176, which would allow neighborhood watch vehicles to use flashing or rotating yellow lights, similar to those used on tow trucks. It’s helpful for these vehicles to be prominently visible, and with only amber lights they could not possibly be confused for law enforcement vehicles. It passed 106 – 0.
4 1/11/18 HB 5112 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5112, to designate a portion of road in Berrien County the Trooper Robert J. Mihalik Memorial Highway. Trooper Mihalik was killed while attempting to apprehend a suspect in 1984. The signage must be paid for by private sources, so there is no cost to taxpayers for this. It passed 106 to 0.
5 1/11/18 SB 702 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 702, which would prohibit a deed from permitting only certain uses of a property sold by a local governmental body, unless the deed permits educational purposes as well. When North Oakland Charter Academy attempted to purchase the Sherman Lifelong Learning Center. The building was on the market for several years at a real estate market value of $149,900. In 2013, North Oakland Charter Academy offered $100,000 for the proposed charter school but it was denied by the district. Brandon School District instead demolished the building at a cost of $47,027 to the district. Allowing the sale of a publicly funded building used for educational purposes is a relief for the taxpayers, and taxpayers should be forced to pay these costs just because a public school district doesn’t want competition. It passed 61 – 45.
6 1/16/18 HB 5227 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5227, which would make various changes to the extensive regulations on planting seed potatoes. The bill would take effect in 2021 and then become void in 2023. This would inevitably make it uncertain for potato farmers whether the regulations will be temporary or extended, and it’s not at all clear that seed potatoes need such detailed regulation and this isn’t just another guild protection bill. It passed 102 – 5.
7 1/17/18 SB 94 Override Veto Yes I voted to pass Senate Bills 94 and 95, which I voted for previously, to overrule the governor’s veto and accelerate the phase-in of a 2013 law to allow people buying a car, RV, or boat to deduct the value of their trade-in vehicle when calculating sales tax. I support allowing people to keep more of their own money, this is a broad savings that will be enjoyed by most people, and making it more affordable to own a newer vehicle is also a safety benefit (because newer cars are safer than older ones). They passed 85 – 23.
8 1/17/18 SB 95 Override Veto Yes I voted to pass Senate Bills 94 and 95, which I voted for previously, to overrule the governor’s veto and accelerate the phase-in of a 2013 law to allow people buying a car, RV, or boat to deduct the value of their trade-in vehicle when calculating sales tax. I support allowing people to keep more of their own money, this is a broad savings that will be enjoyed by most people, and making it more affordable to own a newer vehicle is also a safety benefit (because newer cars are safer than older ones). They passed 85 – 23.
9 1/17/18 HB 5144 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5144, which protects accountants serving medical cannabis businesses. The Senate added that the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs could establish monthly purchasing limits in additional to the power to establish daily purchasing limits that they already had. This allows them to establish limits without having to establish very onerous daily limits. Concurrence passed 95 – 13.
10 1/17/18 HB 4430 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4430, which would prohibit state agencies from furnishing data on Michigan citizens to federal agencies without a warrant. This is an essential protection from unlawful search and seizure according to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It passed 107 to 1.
11 1/17/18 HB 5284 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5284, authorizing the state to sell a tiny piece of state-owned property in Saginaw to Delta College. The property consists of ½ of a vacated right-of-way related to Baum Street between East Genesee Avenue and Tuscola Street. Not sure why the state owned the land to begin with. It passed 108 to 0.
12 1/17/18 HB 5001 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5001 and 5002, which would impose a new licensure mandate on foresters, with massive education and training requirements, and create a board that can deny an application to become a forester with no appeals process. This is another guild protection scheme to prevent competition for jobs, which will make it harder to get a job and raise the cost of forestry. They passed 98 – 10.
13 1/17/18 HB 5002 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5001 and 5002, which would impose a new licensure mandate on foresters, with massive education and training requirements, and create a board that can deny an application to become a forester with no appeals process. This is another guild protection scheme to prevent competition for jobs, which will make it harder to get a job and raise the cost of forestry. They passed 98 – 10.
14 1/18/18 HB 5198 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5198, which would expand a law allowing state emergency officials to enter agreements for mutual cooperation with other states for emergency preparation and response on issues other than just fires (as the law presently allows). It’s good to pool resources in this way to prepare for emergencies. It passed 108 – 0.
15 1/18/18 SB 409 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 409, which would essentially lower the fee for homeowners building a dock on a river or lake. Oddly, the bill was endorsed by the Department of Environmental Quality, which receives the money. I’m happy to reduce the cost of government. It passed 59 – 48.
16 1/18/18 SB 574 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 574, which would require that tax money taken taken by future “regional enhancement” property taxes levied by Intermediate School Districts and distributed to conventional public schools also be shared with public charter schools within the ISD district. Since all families in the district are forced to pay these taxes, it’s only fair that the children in charter schools enjoy their share of the money from these tax hikes on their families. (This bill only applies to such tax hikes in the future, not existing ones.) It passed 55 – 52.
17 1/24/18 HR 234 Passage Yes [UPDATE: Simon has resigned.]
I voted for House Resolution 234, which calls for the resignation of Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon, for her failure to prevent the terrible and ongoing sexual abuse perpetrated by gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to 40-175 years today.
According to the university’s own records and the statements of over 100 victims, we know that numerous people, including a campus police detective and an official who is now MSU’s assistant general counsel, were aware of reports of Nassar’s sexual misconduct. At least 14 Michigan State University representatives knew of these reports.
President Simon was once the NCAA chairman, elected just one week after its executive committee sanctioned Penn State for its part in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case. Of all people, she should have understood the seriousness of these reports.
On top of the life-long harm inflicted on the victims, MSU’s failure to proactively address the situation has damaged the university’s reputation immensely, causing unknown harm to students and faculty.
It’s too late for any policy changes at MSU to mitigate the situation. The only way to bring closure to this issue is for the president to resign. The resolution passed 96 – 11.
18 1/25/18 HB 5155 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5155 and 5156, which would clarify that our Adopt-a-River and Adopt-a-Shoreline programs will be administered by the Department of Natural Resources. These programs were created in 1994. In 2009, then-Governor Granholm merged the Department of Environmental Quality with the DNR; in 2011; Governor Snyder split them up again. Apparently because of this, each department thought the other was implementing the programs, when actually neither was. This was a needed clarification. The bills also eliminate contracting requirements that volunteer groups must care for the river or shoreline for not less than 2 years, which only serves to discourage participation. They passed 106 to 0.
19 1/25/18 HB 5156 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5155 and 5156, which would clarify that our Adopt-a-River and Adopt-a-Shoreline programs will be administered by the Department of Natural Resources. These programs were created in 1994. In 2009, then-Governor Granholm merged the Department of Environmental Quality with the DNR; in 2011; Governor Snyder split them up again. Apparently because of this, each department thought the other was implementing the programs, when actually neither was. This was a needed clarification. The bills also eliminate contracting requirements that volunteer groups must care for the river or shoreline for not less than 2 years, which only serves to discourage participation. They passed 106 to 0.
20 & 21 1/25/18 HB 5420-5421 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5420 and 5421, which would ensure that a tax filer can continue to claim the Michigan personal exemption in light of recent federal tax reforms and gradually increase that exemption, which is currently scheduled to increase to $4,300 by tax year 2018, to $4,800 by tax year 2020. Personal exemptions help reduce the overall tax liability for every individual regardless of income, and I support lowering taxes. They passed 105 to 1.
22 1/25/18 HB 5422 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5422, which allows seniors to claim a $100 credit on the state income tax returns. This only slightly offsets a 2011 law that eliminated a $2,400 exemption (the same year they voted to tax retirement pensions). It passed 100 – 6.
23 1/25/18 HB 5100 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5100, which would exempt bike racks, tow balls, and other hitching devices and attached objects from the prohibition on license plate obstructions. License plates are important for identifying vehicles in real time, but anybody intentionally committing a criminal act, and therefore by definition a criminal, might obstruct their license plates anyway. This simply prevents people from being pulled over and ticketed just because whatever they’re carrying or towing is blocking the plate. I can’t imagine it doing anything to encourage crime or prevent law enforcement from solving one. It passed 104 to 2.
24 1/25/18 HB 4479 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 4779 and 4780, the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act, which would require the state follow the recommendation of the Uniform Law Commission in establishing a procedure for online legal material to ensure authenticity, preservation, and accessibility by the public. These bills only burden the government, and essentially just modernize and improve the quality and availability of legal materials. They passed 106 to 0. Edit: House Bill 4780 passed 105 to 1.
25 1/25/18 HB 4480 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 4779 and 4780, the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act, which would require the state follow the recommendation of the Uniform Law Commission in establishing a procedure for online legal material to ensure authenticity, preservation, and accessibility by the public. These bills only burden the government, and essentially just modernize and improve the quality and availability of legal materials. They passed 106 to 0. Edit: House Bill 4780 passed 105 to 1.
26 1/25/18 HB 5257 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5257 and 5258, which would make it a felony to possess “ransomware” (viral software that hijacks a victim’s computer and allows the hijacker to free the victim once a ransom is paid) with intention to use maliciously. I understand the intention here, but extortion is already illegal, and although the bills do require evidence of malicious intent for someone to be charged with a crime under these bills, it is dangerous for someone who might be legitimately studying these programs for research or investigative purposes to have to rely on how his or her *intent* may be interpreted for protection against felony charges. When the ObamaCare website was launched, some hackers spoke out about its egregious security problems that put Americans’ confidential health information at risk, but many others did not come forward for fear of reprisal and charges for serious computer crimes. We shouldn’t be criminalizing possession of software or malicious intention, but rather the actual crimes committed against others, which are already covered by our extortion law. The bills passed 103 to 3.
27 1/25/18 HB 5258 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5257 and 5258, which would make it a felony to possess “ransomware” (viral software that hijacks a victim’s computer and allows the hijacker to free the victim once a ransom is paid) with intention to use maliciously. I understand the intention here, but extortion is already illegal, and although the bills do require evidence of malicious intent for someone to be charged with a crime under these bills, it is dangerous for someone who might be legitimately studying these programs for research or investigative purposes to have to rely on how his or her *intent* may be interpreted for protection against felony charges. When the ObamaCare website was launched, some hackers spoke out about its egregious security problems that put Americans’ confidential health information at risk, but many others did not come forward for fear of reprisal and charges for serious computer crimes. We shouldn’t be criminalizing possession of software or malicious intention, but rather the actual crimes committed against others, which are already covered by our extortion law. The bills passed 103 to 3.
28 1/25/18 HB 4472 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4472, which would allow pharmacists to dispense drugs interchangeable with the drug prescribed (eg generics instead of brand names). This expands health freedom to provide people more affordable access to prescribed medications. It passed 105 to 1.
29 1/25/18 SB 634 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 634, which would lengthen from 18 months to 24 the term of a Temporary Limited License in Psychology and allow students seeking a master’s degree in psychology a 24 month extension and those seeking a doctorate three more 24 month renewals. This rolls back occupational licensing restrictions and makes it easier for people to study for and obtain a medical degree. It passed 93 to 13.
30 1/30/18 HB 4464 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4644, which I voted for previously, to simplify permitting for vehicles carrying oversized equipment. The Senate modified it by giving the Department of Transportation two years to implement the changes and narrowed the bill to only apply to movement of construction equipment. It passed 96 – 12.
31-32 1/30/18 HB 4821-4822 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 4821 and 4822, which I voted for previously, to reform the state public administrator system, which handles determination, collection, distribution, and distribution of assets in a decedent’s estate. The Senate shortened the timeframe for appointing a public administrator from 13 weeks to 9, and essentially limited fees on the sale of net proceeds to $3,000. They passed 108 – 0.
33 1/30/18 HB 4471 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to HB 4471, the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act, which I voted for previously. The Senate added that the Michigan Court Rules would specify the procedure for the selection, appointment, removal, or compensation of a receiver. It passed 101 – 7.
34-35 1/30/18 SB 529-530 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills Senate Bill 529 and 530, which would require timely submission and reimbursement for Child Care Fund expenditures and prohibit the state and counties from seeking reimbursements that are not in an approved budget, except through a grievance process. These bills were the result of multiple meetings to address problems with the reimbursement system.
The CCF is the primary fund for delinquent, neglected, and abused youth. Each county has a specific account for their CCF, and the state supports the county’s CCF with a 50% reimbursement on eligible direct costs related to foster care and other services provided for court wards. An annual plan and budget must be approved by the state. These bills simplify the process of payments and billing between the state and counties, and having clarity on what is eligible for reimbursement will save time and money on the back-and-forth and could actually save money because under the bills there is more Department oversight of what is approved.
The bills passed 108 – 0.
36-37 1/31/18 HB 4118 – 4119 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 4118 and 4119, which would make a new 4-year felony for detainees or prisoners for throwing, or attempting to throw, bodily fluids at facility employees. Crimes should be punished according the act, not according to the status of the perpetrator or victim, and assault and battery are already illegal. Furthermore, charging someone with a four-year felony for attempting to spit on somebody is excessive. They passed 86 to 23.
38-41 1/31/18 HB 4585, 4590, 4591 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 4585, 4590, and 4591, which would make it a 2 year felony to commit, or attempt to commit, a violent felony in which the victim is targeted because he/she is a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, firefighter, or EMS worker. The sentence would be served consecutive to any prison sentence for the underlying felony. Punishments should fit crimes, not the status of the victim, and criminalizing an intention would require a court to determine what a person was thinking, which is legally dubious. They passed 93 – 16 and 94 – 15.
42 1/31/18 SB 543 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 543, to name a portion of I-94 in Kalamazoo County the “Ed Switalski, Fire Chief, Comstock Township Memorial Highway.” Chief Switalski was standing in the shoulder of I-94 near a fire truck when a sedan careened out of control and struck and killed him. State law requires that private funds pay for signage, so there is no cost to taxpayers. It passed unanimously.
43 1/31/18 HB 5284 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5284, which I voted for previously, to transfer a small piece of public land in Saginaw County to Delta college. The Senate eliminated the requirement that it be used exclusively for public use. Reportedly this was necessary because the public use requirement could hamper the bonding process for the capital outlay project for the Saginaw Center. Concurrence passed unanimously.
44 2/1/18 HB 4922 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4922, which would allow police agencies to use revenue from vehicle inspection fees to pay for equipment and road patrol services. Presently, the fees can only be used for activities relating to stolen vehicles. There’s no need to constrain the usage of the fees in this way. It passed unanimously.
45 2/1/18 SB 481 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 481, which would name a section of US-10 the “Marine Lance Corporal Ryan Burgess Memorial Highway”. Lance Corporal Burgess was killed in 2006 in combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was 21. Memorial signs are required to be paid for by private sources, so there is no cost to taxpayers. It passed unanimously.
46-47 2/6/18 HB 4752 & 4956 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments on House bills 4752, and 4956 which I voted for previously. See my previous vote explanations– the Senate changes were all insignificant.
48 2/6/18 HB 4813 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 4813, which I voted against previously. The Senate only made a minor technical fix, so I voted no again for the same reason as before.
49 2/6/18 HB 5200 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate on House Bill 5200, which I voted for previously, to allow the hunting of frogs. The Senate removed a provision prohibiting the use of large landing nets in trout streams during spring months, which would have conflicted with the current DNR order. It passed 85 – 23.
50 2/7/18 SB 616 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 616, which would allow an American Indian tribe in Michigan to receive Child Protective Services records for the purpose of placing Indian children with Indian families. They received this information previously, until a DHHS created a new policy in May of last year that prohibited the disclosures, citing child privacy concerns. This would increase the involvement of tribes in Indian child welfare cases, placing tribes in the best position to protect the interests of Indian children. It passed 105 – 3.
51 2/7/18 HB 5034 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5034, which would allow a surviving spouse to calculate pension and retirement income based on the age of an older deceased spouse if the surviving spouse is not remarried. This would prevent the death of a spouse from potentially raising one’s state tax burden dramatically. This will reportedly cost the State Treasury less than $5 million annually, and I’m in favor of people keeping more of their own money anyway. It passed 105 – 2.
52 2/7/18 HB 4528 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 4528, which would expand the Health Professional Recovery Program to also cover emergency medical services (EMS) workers. The program offers treatment for drug addiction and mental illness, and reports those who fail to “satisfactorily participate” in treatment to DHHS. I’m not in favor of government-controlled, taxpayer-funded medicine, and this bill expands it. It passed 107 – 1.
53-54 2/7/18 HB 4486 & 4487 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 4486 and 4487, which would increase sentencing guidelines for crimes of third and fourth degree child abuse. Fourth degree child abuse is when a parent “knowingly or intentionally committed an act that under the circumstances posed an *unreasonable risk* of harm or injury to a child, regardless of whether physical harm actually results.” This could potentially apply to many things (eg dangerous sports), and it’s inadequately specific what “unreasonable risk” means. It’s not clear to me that these enhanced penalties will actually deter child abuse, rather than just put more parents in jail. They passed 100 – 9.
55 2/8/18 HB 4705 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4705, which would require driver education to include training on what to do when pulled over by a police officer. A police encounter is always a serious and potentially dangerous situation; more people knowing how to handle the situation calmly may prevent potentially serious incidents and give police officers more peace of mind. It passed 109 – 0.
56 2/8/18 HB 5456 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5456, which would specify that plaintiffs in asbestos-related lawsuits provide a sworn statement that all claims they are making have been filed. There have been many fraudulent lawsuits filed relating to asbestos, and this bill would prevent “double dipping” lawsuits filed in multiple courts against multiple defendants. This is important transparency to prevent lawsuit abuse. It passed 58 – 51.
57 2/13/18 HB 4523 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4523, which I voted for previously, to repeal Michigan’s explosives law (explosives are already regulated federally). The Senate just added that the bill would go into effect 3 months after being signed into law. Concurrence passed unanimously.
58 2/13/18 HB 4665 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4665, which I voted for previously, to allow students enrolled in strict discipline academies to remain enrolled after they no longer meet the requirements for enrollment at their parent’s choosing. The Senate added that this also applies to unaccompanied or resettled minors. Reportedly this only applies to 10 or 12 students in the whole state, and the cost is negligible because it’s either that or they go to regular school. (House Fiscal Agency says the bill will have no fiscal impact to state or local governments.) Concurrence passed 105 – 3.
59 2/13/18 HB 4665 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5228, which would expand a financing scheme for schools to pay for “operational improvements” using the saving they would receive from the improvements, or pay out of pocket if the savings don’t appear.
Essentially, the scheme make two separate things seem like one thing: on one hand the school is paying for an improvement, payable in installments, while on the other, the school may experience savings from the improvement.
I voted last year to allow these agreements for energy efficiency programs, but this bill expands the scope to include any operational improvement, and this could easily get out of hand. Money for education should be spent primarily in the classroom, but this legislation incentivizes schools to make risky investments in trendy modernization techniques that the schools will be liable for if they don’t get the savings they expect.
It passed 106 to 2.
60 2/13/18 SB 393 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 393, which combines various laws on tax increment finance authorities (TIFAs) into a single act and establishes standard reporting processes and penalties for non-compliance. I don’t support TIFAs on principle, because they capture tax money and direct them to support particular programs (the biggest TIFAs are Downtown Development Authorities). In other words, the government picks winners and losers. But this bill doesn’t modify existing TIFA law and the reporting improvements are helpful. It passed 106 – 2.
61 2/14/18 SB 400 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 400, which would increase the 9-1-1 fees people pay on their phone bills for an additional $20 million per year. Reportedly this was to upgrade the system, although the bill contained no sunset for the increased cost and no evidence was presented in bill memoranda explaining the need for the upgrades. Technology is supposed to make things cheaper, not more expensive. It passed 99 – 10.
62 2/14/18 HB 4410 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4410, which would allow a decedent to exclude or limit the right of a child to claim exempt property. The would overturn a recent Court of Appeals decision that held: “[i]f the Legislature wished to extend the [decedent’s] intent in disinheriting a child to the child’s statutory right to exempt property, it could have expressly stated that intent in the statute. However, the statute is silent in this regard.” Well, now we’re not. People should have the right to decide how their property will be disposed when they die. It passed 101 – 8.
63-67 2/14/18 HB 5084, 5052, 5072, 5114, 5131 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5084, 5052, 5072, 5114, and 5131, which would remove references to elected county auditors in state election law. There are no such auditors, and haven’t been since 2005. They all passed unanimously except the last which had one “no” vote.
68-69 2/14/18 SB 613 & 625 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 613 and 625, which were leftover bills from the package to end Michigan’s “Driver Responsibility Fee” system. 613 is a technical fix to ensure that those previously subject to DRFs are eligible for a driver’s license after September of this year. 625 creates the workforce training program people could take if they couldn’t afford to pay a DRF. They both passed unanimously.
70-71 2/14/18 SB 748 & 750 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 748 and 750, which would allow a tax filer to continue to claim the Michigan personal exemption in light of recent federal tax reforms and gradually increase that exemption, which is currently scheduled to increase to $4,500 by tax year 2018, to $5,000 by tax year 2021 ($4,000-$4,500 in 2018, $4,600 in 2019, $4,700 in 2020 and $5,000 in 2021). Without these bills, the state would take an additional $1.4-$1.6 billion from the public. They passed 105 to 2.
72 2/14/18 SB 400 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 400, which would increase the 9-1-1 fees people pay on their phone bills for an additional $20 million per year. Reportedly this was to upgrade the system, although the bill contained no sunset for the increased cost and no evidence was presented in bill memoranda explaining the need for the upgrades. Technology is supposed to make things cheaper, not more expensive. It passed 99 – 10.
73-77 2/14/18 HB 5040, 5041, 5043, 5079, 5046 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to the bills to end Michigan’s Driver Responsibility Fee penalties, which I voted for previously. The Senate made minor changes to the appropriation amounts, and required people to be enrolled in a payment plan to receive immediate forgiveness. They all passed unanimously.
78 2/15/18 HB 5235 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5235, which would allow employers paying wages on a monthly basis to pay wages on the first through the 16th of the month. Currently, monthly wages are required to be paid on the 1st. The government has no business imposing this condition on private contracts, so I support relaxing this law. It passed 70 – 39.
79 2/15/18 SB 645 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 645, which would codify a 2003 executive order that created the Office of Rail within the department of transportation and designated it the safety oversight board for public railroads as required by federal law. This board already exists, so it doesn’t really change anything. It passed unanimously.
80 2/15/18 HB 5220 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5220, which would increase the maximum amount of OC in pepper spray from 10 to 18 percent and allow for the use of ultraviolet dye to help police bring an attacker to justice. The right to self-defense is fundamental, and I view the restriction as unconstitutional, so I support relaxing it. Especially in light of yesterday’s horror, where once again the government left citizens helpless at the hands of a murderer. It passed 88 – 21.
81 2/15/18 HB 5091 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5091, to require employers send employees their withholding statements by January 31 instead of February 28. This is the same day the federal statements are required, so having it all done by one date is simpler. It passed unanimously.
82 2/15/18 HB 5261 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5261, which would require a taxpayer file only one statement for the personal property tax exemption if the property is less than $80,000. A lot of small businesses were not filing annually as they were supported to, and eliminating the annual form saves everyone time and money. It passed 106 – 3.
83-86 2/20/18 SB 419-421 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 419 – 421, which would revise or eliminate several statutory grounds for the termination of parental rights to address recent court decisions. Prior to terminating parental rights, the court would have to assess a parent’s financial ability to provide care for the child and/or whether a parent has rectified the conditions that led to a removal or prior termination. The Court of Appeals recently held that it is unconstitutional to terminate parental rights based solely on a prior termination, without determining whether a parent rectified the conditions that led to the prior termination, because it violates a parent’s due process rights. The Court urged this legislation to “adequately protect a parent’s fundamental liberty interest in the raising of children.” In another case, the Supreme Court held that efforts at reunification of a parent and child cannot be reasonable unless DHHS modifies its services as reasonably necessary to accommodate a parent’s disability. These bills resolve these issues. They passed 104 – 4, 103 – 5, and 107 – 1.
87 2/21/18 SB 551 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 551, which would create a panel of an unspecified number of designees from the governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority Leader to review proposed spending by the Natural Resources Trust Fund before it submitted a budget recommendation. If we need to dedicate ourselves to keeping a closer watch on NRTF spending, let’s just have the lawmakers on the appropriate committees do so; why create another board? It passed 56 – 53.
88-90 2/21/18 HB 4298-4300 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 4298 – 4300, which would require forensic interviews of children at child advocacy centers to be videotaped, providing conditions for their use and penalties for misuse. It’s important to have a documentary record of these interviews, particularly because children may be vulnerable to being manipulated by an interviewer. There was at least one case where this happened and the father was exonerated only because a video of the interview was available. They passed, 91, 92, and 93 to 18, 17, and 16 respectively.
91 2/21/18 HB 4321 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4321, which appropriated $175 million for road repairs. This winter has been brutal to the roads, and it’s best we start fixing them sooner instead of waiting for next year’s budget. It’s our job to fix the roads. The bill passed unanimously.
92-94 2/21/18 HB 4536-4538 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bills 4536, 4537, and 4538, which I voted for previously. The Senate simply removed unused enacting clauses that might have tie-barred the bills to another. Concurrence passed unanimously for all three bills.
95 2/22/18 HB 4053 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4053, to make English the official language of Michigan. This would require that English be the language used in public records, meetings, and official acts of the state. A state agency or local unit of government could use or print official documents and forms in other languages as well as English, but not in foreign languages only.
It’s important that a singular language be used in public documents, and obviously sensible that English be that language. It is “our common medium of speech,” as Justice Louis Brandeis said.
Furthermore, a Department of Labor study found that immigrants learned English more quickly when there was less native language support around them. Increasing the incentive to learn English encourages immigrants to make the most of the American experience and to enrich themselves and our country.
It passed 62 – 46.
96 2/22/18 HB 5190 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5190, which would allow the Professional Golf Association Tour to get a liquor license in Michigan. Apparently some legal defect was in the way. It passed unanimously.
97 2/27/18 HB 4699 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4699, which would allow totally disabled veterans to purchase any specialty license plate for the same price as the disabled veteran license plate. Veterans who were disabled in service of our country should be permitted to obtain any type of license plate for the same price as the disabled veteran plates they are already entitled to. It passed unanimously.
98 2/27/18 SB 582 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 582, which would allow physical therapists to certify disabilities for obtaining disabled license plates and placards. This allows people to work with their therapists rather than having to go back to their doctors to obtain the certification. It passed 105 – 3.
99 2/27/18 HB 5355 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5355, which would adjust how the Public School Employees Retirement Act pays down unfunded liabilities. The bill gradually reduces the payroll growth assumption over the next ten years to create a “level dollar” payment for the schools over that period. This wold prevent payments from spiking in the future and potentially taking money out of the classroom. It passed unanimously.
100 2/27/18 HB 5010 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5010, which would extend the statute of limitations for armed robbery from 6 years to 10, as it is for kidnapping, extortion, manslaughter, and first-degree home invasion. There already is a burden on prosecutors to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and if evidence shows a suspect is guilty of armed robbery they should be charged. It passed 92 – 16.
101-102 2/27/18 HB 4666 & 4670 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 4666 and 4670, which would make it a felony for a process server to lie to a court with a false declaration of service and revises the procedure for making proof of service. The bills made the penalty for false proof of service match the penalty for perjury, which makes sense because both are acts of lying to a court. They passed 96 – 12.
103 2/27/18 HB 5282 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5282, which would clarify that a court does not retain jurisdiction after determining that a license is to be restricted to order it reinstated. That’s because the constitutional authority is with the Secretary of State. The bill passed unanimously.
104 2/27/18 HB 4614 Passage Yes I voted for HB 4614, which would repeal a requirement that teachers with a provisional certificate obtain a professional certificate if their have a single non-renewable two-year extension following a lapse of their provisional certificate. This would allow a teacher to renew the standard certificate in perpetuity. This is important for teachers that can’t be evaluated because they work in a hospital setting, preschool programs not affiliated with a K-12 school, or on temporary leave. It passed unanimously.
105-106 2/28/18 HB 4667-4668 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 4667 and 4668, which would change the Grape and Wine Industry Council to the Michigan Craft Beverage Council and be expanded to include beer makers and distillers. The council would direct the agriculture department to award certain grants for industry research. Industries should form their own private associations and the government should have no role in any of this. They passed 107 – 2.
107 2/28/18 HB 5379 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5379, which would allow sunscreen to be used in school. I can’t believe it was prohibited. It passed 108 – 1.
108 2/28/18 SB 522 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 522, which would require local governments determine the compensation of a community center’s board of directors. Current law says members of a community center’s board of directors for townships with a population of 10,000 or less must serve without compensation. This would increase the cost of government. It passed 104 – 5.
109-111 2/28/18 HB 5243, 5244, 5246 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5243, 5244, and 5246, which would require that psychological evaluations for parole be completed on a timely basis and provides court remedies if deadlines aren’t met. Establishing requirements for psychological reviews prior to trial and parole board inquiry will limit unnecessary delays and costs. They passed 107 – 2 and 108 – 1.
112 2/28/18 HB 5439 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5439, which would create a registry for psychiatric beds and require hospitals maintain current information on their vacancies. The government shouldn’t need to tell hospitals to provide marketing services, and a patient in search of a bed will unlikely have any easier time researching information in this registry than just calling a hospital and asking. It passed 106 – 3.
113 2/28/18 HB 5524 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5524, which would require teacher continuing education include mental health training. It doesn’t specify what education this will displace. This is more government micro-management with good intentions but probably not significant results. It passed 107 – 2.
114 2/28/18 HB 5097 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5097, which would cap the permit fees a county road commission may charge a phone/Internet/video provider for doing work on a county road in counties with less than 250,000 residents (all but 9 counties). Current law already says a county road commission may only charge the amount of the commission’s necessary and actual costs related to the permit. Placing a hard cap on permit fees prevents a commission from recovering its costs and forces taxpayers to subsidize the additional cost of broadband projects in their communities. It passed 68 – 41.
115-116 2/28/18 HB 5435-5436 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5435 and 5436, which would allow property owners to request the removal or reinstatement of certificates under the Commercial Rehabilitation Act and the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act. Basically these are special tax breaks: they allow for the “freezing” of a property’s value, so developers can pay the lower tax rate after redeveloping them. This is another example of government picking winners and losers, propping up some chosen entities at the expense of everyone else. They passed 96 – 13 and 100 – 9.
117 3/1/18 HB 4430 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 4430, which I voted for previously, to prohibit all governments in Michigan from providing electronic data on people to federal agencies without a warrant or the person’s consent. The Senate limited the bill by saying that any data the government collected legally (for example, data collected in a crash investigation) may be shared. This may be a little broad, but the bill’s sponsor and the governor supported the change. Concurrence passed 108 – 1.
118 3/1/18 HB 5112 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate changes to House Bill 5112, which I voted for previously, to name a section of a road. The Senate change was purely technical and concurrence passed unanimously.
119 3/1/18 SB 596 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 596, which would expand the amenities that “Pure Michigan Trails” can provide to users and allow for multi-jurisdictional trailway councils to provide guidance and receive input on possible allowed uses of trails (eg for e-bicycles). This provides the needed flexibility in the law to get the most out of our trails. It passed unanimously.
120 3/1/18 HB 4840 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 4840, which would expand the definition of school zones (where speed limits are lowered to 25 mph during certain school hours) to include highways, even if the highways have pedestrian overpasses. Reportedly at some schools students try to cut across the highways instead of using overpasses. This is a problem parents and schools should address locally, not by punishing motorists and causing traffic issues. It passed 108 – 1.
121-122 3/1/18 HB 4030-4031 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 4030 and 4031, which would provide an income tax checkoff for the Lions Foundation of Michigan. I support the Lions’ good work but I can’t support any legislation that actually names a particular organization in statute for special treatment. They passed 105 – 2.
123 3/1/18 SB 638 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 638, which would update the law on credit for reinsurance to conform to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners guidelines. For example, a credit for reinsurance would only be allowed to the extent it is consistent with certain rules promulgated by the state department (DIFS).
It’s best for the industry when states tend to have uniform policies. It passed 108 – 1.
124 3/1/18 HB 4633 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4633, which would require law enforcement submit information to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Ensuring this national database has up-to-date inform could lead to cases being solved and increasing the chance families of missing persons get answers or closure. It passed unanimously.
125 3/1/18 HB 5438 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5438, which would expand the definition of coercion in the context of human trafficking to include controlling or facilitating access to drugs. This is one of the more common forms of coercion to keep people engaged in prostitution. It passed 108 – 1.
126 3/1/18 HB 4321 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 4321, which I voted for previously, appropriating $175 million for roads. The Senate added $1 million to investigate sexual misconduct at Michigan State University, $2 million for flooding and disaster needs, and $400,000 for state police needs. Concurrence passed unanimously.
127-128 3/6/18 HB 4545-4546 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to HB 4545 and 4546, which would allow the sharing of certain employment data for the purpose of research and planning education programs to meet Michigan’s employment needs. The Senate revised various technical details, such as removing Intermediate School Districts from the bills because they are now working with the Department of Education and Unemployment Insurance Agency directly on this issue. Concurrence passed 108 – 1.
129 3/6/18 HB 4973 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4973, which I voted for previously, which would exempt critical energy infrastructure and cybersecurity-related information from public disclosure. The Senate added certain road-related data to the list, citing concerns from MDOT that as driverless vehicles use roadside devices, these could potentially become a cybersecurity issue as well. Concurrence passed 104 – 4.
130 3/6/18 HB 5417 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5417, which would allow the transportation and carrying of bows, crossbows, and slingshots without requiring they be unstrung or locked in a case. Being unloaded is sufficiently safe and we shouldn’t endanger law-abiding citizens with prosecution just because they have a strung bow in their car. It passed 99 – 9.
131 3/6/18 HB 5259 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5259, which would revise signage rules for taxis, limos, and transportation network vehicles. Basically this is to revise a quirk in the law affecting companies with outsourced dispatch systems. Specifically, it allows a vehicle to display the signage of its affiliated dispatch system provider so long as it also displays the taxi’s cab’s registration number. This bill gives customers information they need if they want to lodge a complaint about a transportation company. It passed 105 – 3.
132 3/7/18 HB 5234 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5234, which would allow counties to place an inmate in county jail on medical probation and release him if the inmate is expected to die within the next six months. It would require a court conduct a hearing to determine if release was prudent and proper and would not apply to violent offenders. Currently a county jail cannot release a prisoner who is terminally ill with a short life expectancy. Instead, the county is required to provide the medical treatment for the terminally ill prisoner, and is required to deal with the post mortem procedures when the prisoner inevitably perishes in the jail. Non-violent prisoners who are expected to perish in the near future due to a terminal illness should not have to do so within the confines of a county jail. It passed 99 to 9.
133-136 3/7/18 HB 5234, 4101-4103 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5245 and 4101 – 4103, which would allow a parole board to parole “medically frail” prisoners to a medical facility for the length of their parole term, including those that have not yet served the minimum sentence imposed by the court, and making it a crime to assist or aid a parolee attempting to flee the medical facility. “Medically frail” is defined to exclude anyone that would be a threat to society. These do not release prisoners prematurely; they simply allow medically frail prisoners to finish their sentences at a medical facility. A judge would be required to review the parole if an objection was filed, and any victims would be notified if medical parole was being considered.
The average health care cost for a prison inmate has been estimated at $5,801 per year. The cost, however, increases with an inmate’s age, from $11,000 for ages 55-59 to $40,000 for ages 80 and above. We can ease up our strained corrections budgets by not paying the high health care costs of those with severe health problems. They passed 98 – 10, 94 – 14, 95 – 13, and 101 – 7.
137-138 3/7/18 HB 4887 & Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 4887 and 5256, which would create a process for law enforcement officers to place a 90-day “hold” on items at pawn shops and secondhand and junk dealers when officers have probable cause to believe the property is stolen. (Pawnbrokers are already required to hold property for at least 90 days before selling it.) Only a court could extend the hold. A dealer could not be held liable if stolen property in their possession is seized and unable to be returned. This clears up ambiguity in the law on how to handle what is believe to be stolen property. They passed 107 – 1.
139 3/7/18 SB 442 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 442, which passed unanimously, to make various updates the Business Corporation Act, mostly due to technology, to reflect model legislation used nationally. The changes were technical in nature and it helps to have standard rules across the country.
140 3/7/18 SB 353 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 353, which would prohibit local governments from enforcing ordinances that prohibit employers from asking certain questions in job interviews, e.g. criminal history. Studies found that well-intentioned “Ban the Box” laws meant to encourage businesses to give all applicants a “fair chance” ended up leading to widespread demographic discrimination. More fundamentally, employers should be free to screen employees by any means they desire, subject to federal and state anti-discrimination and other civil rights laws. I support local control and smaller government but that does not mean allowing local governments to restrict the rights of citizens, or associations of citizens. It passed 62 – 46.
141 3/7/18 HB 5260 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5260, which passed unanimously, and would members of a club (e.g. Elks, American Legion) to purchase alcoholic drinks at other posts or locations of the same club to which they are a member. This relaxes an excessively strict rule.
142 3/7/18 HB 5215 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5215, which deletes references to a particular girl’s school that no longer exists. Legislation should [edit: NOT] affect particular named entities. It passed unanimously.
143-144 3/7/18 HB 5412-5413 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5412 and 5413, which would update the Freedom of Information Act to include newer types of electronic media in which records can be made available. The law previously referred to “discs, tapes or other digital or similar media.” It wasn’t clear whether this covers electronic publications. They passed 106 – 2 and 107 – 1.
145 3/8/18 HB 5407 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5407, which would require convicted defendants remain in the courtroom while victim impact statements are given. Criminals should have to bear the burden of knowing what harm they have done to their victims. In the Lawrence Nassar case, the judge forced him to listen to his over 150 victims despite his claim that he could not bear to hear any more. In another case, a judge granted a convicted murderer’s request to return to jail because he didn’t want to hear from the parents of the woman he murdered. Leaving the courtroom, the killer turned to the grieving family and blew a kiss at them. It passed 105 – 2.
146-148 3/8/18 HB 5530-5532 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5530 through 5532, which would prevent juveniles convicted of sex crimes from returning to the same school as their victims, expand restraining orders to cover this, and require schools expel students who commit sex crimes against another student enrolled in the same school district. This is all common sense protection for victims. In a recent case, a 16-year-old pled guilty to 6 counts after being charged with 31 felonies, including sex crimes, but was only sentenced to 45 days at a youth facility and then allowed to return to school, to the daily agony of his victims. This has to be stopped. 106 – 1, 93 – 14, and 106 – 1.
149-150 3/8/18 HB 5402-5403 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5402 and 5403, which would allow recorded forensic interviews of children be used for training purposes in other counties, if authorized by the county prosecutor where the interview was made and with the written consent of the minor’s non-offending parent or guardian. Presently, these recordings may only be used in the counties where they were made. This simply makes it easier to train interviewers and it protects people’s rights. They passed 105 – 2 and 106 – 1.
151-152 3/8/18 HB 5463-5464 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5463 and 5464, which make it a civil infraction to sell nitrous oxide cartridges to minors. Nitrous oxide is used in dentistry as an anesthetic, in race cars for speed, and in cooking for whipped cream (though notably, only professional chefs need it in quantity where it isn’t easier just to buy pressurized whipped cream containers). It can also be used to get high and this is surely the reason minors buy them. I wouldn’t support this legislation if it didn’t apply only to minors. They passed 104 – 3.
153 3/13/18 HB 4811 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4811, which I voted for previously, which would adopt the recently enacted federal food safety rules. The Senate added a definition for “micro markets” (fancy vending machines). Concurrence passed 101 – 8.
154 3/13/18 HB 4643 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4643, which would expand real estate transfer tax exemptions to allow new home builders to use the value off the improvements to the land, rather than the plot itself. A seller whose home has lost value generally doesn’t have to pay the state’s real estate transfer tax. This bill would extend the same exemption to someone who bought vacant land, built a house, and now is selling the house after it lost value. It passed 96 – 13.
155 3/13/18 HB 4084 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4084, which removes a course requirement in diagnosing and remediating reading disabilities for professional teacher certification. The requirement is a burden on those studying to become teachers and I don’t support government mandates like this. It passed 102 – 7.
156 3/13/18 HB 5394 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5394, to designate a portion of Business Route 127 in Clare County as the SPC Robert Friese Memorial Highway. Signage must be paid for by private sources, so this does not cost taxpayers money.  It passed unanimously.
157 3/13/18 SB 589 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 589, which would allow police to use three-wheeled motorized vehicles on sidewalks.  The vehicles are as wide as a sidewalk. This could pose a safety hazard to pedestrians and I don’t see a compelling need for this.  It passed 106 – 3.
158-161 3/13/18 SB 590-593 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bills 590-593, which would allow local governments to take on more debt.  There is a debt cap based on the assessed value of real and personal property in the community; the bills would allow expected revenue from personal property taxes and state revenue sharing payments to county toward the assess value and thereby raise their debt limit. Municipalities shouldn’t be going into debt and putting taxpayers on the hook for interest.  They passed
162 3/13/18 HB 5609 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5609, which would increase the limit on gifts from property-casualty insurers and agent to applicants and customers from $10 to $50. Insurers shouldn’t be threatened with losing their licenses if they happen to give a customer $11 worth of branded merchandise. There’s nothing wrong with giving out branded merchandise.  It passed 107 – 2.
163 3/14/18 HB 5430 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5430, which would allow electronic delivery of insurance documents (i.e. via email) with a customer’s permission.  The customer could withdraw permission at any time, and notice would have to meet the requirements of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and any applicable HIPAA requirements. People are increasingly conducting business electronically and this is a common sense modernization. It passed unanimously.
164 3/14/18 HB 5536 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5536, which would authorize state grants to counties for “veteran service operations,” defined as helping veterans, dependents, and survivors get federal assistance and benefits.  Each county with a veteran service office that satisfies the requirements of the bill would receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county (the number of veterans per county will be based on the most recent GDX report published by the V.A.).  The fund would be created within the department of treasury, but would be administered by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). In other words, the state pays the county to help the person get the federal funds.  It’s a government assistance program for a government assistance program.  The bill sponsor is seeking a $5 million appropriation in the upcoming fiscal year to fund these grants. I’m all for supporting our veterans but this seems like a very bureaucratic and cumbersome way to do so, especially when we could simply increase funding to the Veterans Service Organizations that already exist to provide benefits services to veterans. It passed 107 – 1.
165 3/14/18 HB 5591 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5591, which would create a statute of limitations of 18 months for Occupational Code claims against real property appraisers.  (It does not affect claims of negligence or breach of contract).  18 months is in line with deadlines for claims against residential builders and real estate licensees. These limitation laws exist to prevent lawsuit abuse in cases where the facts become difficult to prove because so much time has gone by.  Currently there is no statute of limitations on this.  It passed 107 – 1.
166 3/14/18 HB 5618 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5618, which would allocate library funds based on the number of Michigan residents they serve. The Interstate Library Compact (which I voted against having Michigan join) creates a situation where Michigan libraries can be providing services to other states. This could allow libraries to claim nonresidents for funding purposes. Funding should be based on Michigan residents served because that is whom our tax dollars are intended to benefit. It passed 80 – 28.
167 3/15/18 HB 5180 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5180, which would allow the Department of Natural Resources to issue orders allowing the use of pneumatic guns for hunting where firearms are allowed. These guns are a based on new technology and are easier to handle and use than firearms.  The laws should be updated to allow their usage; hunting rules were not intended to favor combustion over compressed air as a means of propulsion. It passed 59 – 47.
168 3/15/18 SB 662 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 662, which is substantially similar to another bill we passed unanimously last week, to allow members of social clubs (eg the VFW or Elks) to drink at any club location, not just the particular post or location to which they belong. This is a basic freedom issue. It passed unanimously.
169 3/15/18 HB 5278 Passage Yes I voted for on House Bill 5278, which would update references in law to a domestic violence prevention board to include sexual violence as well as domestic violence and gives the board power to administer relevant grants. It’s not clear to me why domestic violence doesn’t legally include all forms of sexual violence, but given that was probably the intent, it makes sense that the board cover this similar type of violence as well.  It passed unanimously.
170 3/15/18 HB 5644 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5644, which would codify the Secretary of State’s present practice providing a procedure for absentee voters to request their ballots be “spoiled” and replaced (for example, if they made a mistake when voting) and requiring the usage of paper ballots for tabulation. YES–having a paper trail is critical to ensure the integrity of an election. It passed 105 – 1.
171 3/15/18 HB 5646 Passage Yes I voted for house Bill 5646, which would require the Secretary of State to check the statewide Qualifed Voter File against the Social Security Administration’s death master file and require the SOS to participate in multi-state voter registration verification programs.  These are all sound practices to minimize election fraud and are the SOS’s present practice.  It passed 101 – 5.
172 3/15/18 HB 5669 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5669, which would codify the current list of acceptable IDs for election purposes: a state-issued ID, US passport, federal photo ID, military photo ID, tribal photo ID, or student ID issued by a high school or accredited college. Voters who do not have acceptable picture ID or forgot to bring acceptable picture ID to the polls can still vote by signing an affidavit. It’s proper to encourage current best practices are continued by defining what is a valid ID.  It passed 62 – 44.
173 3/15/18 HB 5678 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5678, which would address a flaw I foresaw in a recent law. I voted no on Senate Bill 270 of 2017, to require a “bona fide prescriber-patient relationship” for opioid prescriptions. In my explanation I wrote: ” What about in an emergency? This bill diminishes from doctors medical freedom and would prevent people from receiving urgently needed medicine.” The bill became a law, and sure enough, it turned out that the law would have prevented people in hospices from receiving urgently needed pain medicine for end-of-life care.  HB 5678 would allow the prescriber to delegate reviewing patient records and completing medical assessments to another licensed professional.  It passed 104 – 2.
174 3/21/18 HB 5456 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5456, which I voted for previously, to increase transparency in asbestos lawsuits.  The Senate version says the plaintiff must make the required filings 6 months before trial rather than within 1 month of filing, and that trust claims materials may be used to prove alternative causation or responsibility, and other minor changes. Concurrence passed 83 – 25.
175 3/21/18 HB 4922 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4922, which I voted for previously, to give police agencies more discretion in how revenue from inspection fees is used.  The Senate added that the specially trained officer performing the salvage inspection cannot also be the licensed mechanic that certifies the work performed on the vehicle. It passed 107 – 1.
176 & 180 3/21/18 HB 4360 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4360, which would prohibit local governments, universities, and law enforcement agencies from operating impound lots.  Existing facilities would be grandfathered. These lots are not a public good that only government can provide, so there is no need for those entities to own and operate those facilities to directly compete with private enterprise. It passed 81 – 27.
177 3/21/18 SB 623 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 623, which would extend a particular “renaissance zone” (business and individual tax exemptions) in Saginaw. I don’t support corporate welfare and special treatment for government-selected projects, so I don’t support extending them. It passed 91 – 17.
178-179 & 181 3/21/18 HB 5230 & 5231 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5230 and 5231, which would allow state employees and public school employees the option to receive an annuity retirement plan instead of a 401(k).  The annuity is similar to the defined-benefit pension program we just closed, but in an annuity the fund is held by the individual, not the employer, so the people of Michigan aren’t liable for unfunded liability. School and state employees should have the extra options, and because there is no match requirement as with a 401(k) this would not raise costs for the state’s retirement systems. They passed 73 – 35 and 71 – 37.
182 & 183 3/21/18 HB 5652 & 5653 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5652 and 5653, which would reform the determination of actuarial equivalent retirement allowances for judges and state employees, respectively. 5652 is my bill!  This is similar to the MPSERS reforms we passed last year, to allow the state actuary to determine the assumed interest rate rather than having it fixed at 8% and relying on mortality tables defined in 1983.  Our bills passed 107 – 1.
184 3/21/18 HB 4198 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 4198, which would require 1 hour of driver education time be dedicated to safety for bicyclists and other “vulnerable” users.  Out of 24 total hours of classroom instruction, 1 hour sounds like a lot for bicycle awareness, and this inevitably would displace other material that might be more important. It passed 106 – 2.
185 3/21/18 HB 4265 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4265, which would require cars maintain a 3-foot distance when passing a bicyclist, or at a safe distance and speed if 3 feet is impractical.  It also allows vehicles to pass in the oncoming lane, even in a no-passing zone, as long as it is safe to do so. 3 feet is very little distance and this is a reasonable rule of the road. Cyclists have the same right to the road as motorists. It passed 98 – 10.
186 3/21/18 SB 712 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 712, which would clarify that the Statewide Records Management System is not responsible for processing FOIA requests on reports submitted by subscribing agencies, but rather the agency itself.  Under current law the state police are required to produce records for FOIA requests on any data that is stored on the SRMS application, even if the data in question was originally produced by a subscriber. The system was intended to encourage data sharing but not make multiple entities responsible for these requests.  This bill would ensure the specific public body that produced the data or report is the entity that will be required to respond to a FOIA request. It passed 106 – 2.
187 3/21/18 SB 727 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 727, which would eliminate the requirement that an individual must pass the SAT when pursuing an Interim teaching Certificate and change the 3.0 GPA requirement to a cohort grade point average of candidates within a program. I don’t support artificial barriers to employment thrown up by the state; school districts should set their own rules for who is qualified to teach. This will help people become teachers.  It passed 85 – 23.
188 3/21/18 SB 081 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 801, to make Tianeptine Sodium a schedule 2 controlled substance (illegal except with a prescription). Michigan would be the first state to do so. Reportedly the drug is an addictive antidepressant; however, the drug not being Schedule 2 in any other state, nor at the federal level, leaves me with concerns that this might unduly impact people’s medical freedom. The House Fiscal Agency memo on this bill did not note any medical organizations or doctors that endorsed the bill and the only group testifying in support of the bill was Michigan State Police. I find this insufficient evidence for banning a drug.  It passed 102 – 6.
189 & 190 3/21/18 HB 4106 & 5676 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 4106 and 5676, which would grant high school credit to a high school student for completing an internship or on-the-job training and ensure that these students count as full-time pupils. Real-world learning is commendable and students should receive appropriate credit for doing so. I believe 4106 was the first bill I cosponsored in my term of office. Thank you, Representative LaFave! They passed 104 – 4 and 106 – 2.
191 & 193 3/22/18 HB 5017 & 5018 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5017 and 5018, to criminalize cyberbullying as a misdemeanor and a felony if the victim is seriously injured. There are already sufficient laws against stalking, harassment, etc. and there is nothing unique about the Internet as a medium for these crimes to require special laws.  We don’t need to put another crime on the books, and given the widespread political censorship occurring on social media it’s likely this law could encourage attacks on people’s First Amendment rights. They passed 91 – 17 and 92 – 17.
192 3/22/18 HB 5257 Concurrence No I voted against concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5257, which I voted against previously, to criminalize the possession and use of “ransomware”.  The Senate amendment was purely technical and the essence of the bill is the same. As I said before, extortion is already illegal and this could expose legitimate researchers to legal risk.  Concurrence passed 106 – 3.
194 & 195 3/22/18 HB 5152 & 5153 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5152 and 5153, which would allow patients, guardians, and advocates to submit a “do not prescribe opioids” directive, similar in nature to a “do not resuscitate” directive.  Medical directives or orders help an individual keep control of his or her medical care and convey wishes of life-sustaining measures or treatment. Health professionals would be immune from liability for following the directive. This is a health freedom issue and may help prevent people from being prescribed opioids unnecessarily.  They passed 108 – 1.
196 3/22/18 HB 5487 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5487, which would create a universal Medicaid credentialing process for those providing medical services. Instead of having to become credentialed through each health plan, DHHS would develop a singular process.  It does not impact other credentialing processes.  This simply streamlines a cumbersome process and the bill passed unanimously.
197 & 198 3/22/18 HB 5620 & 5621 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5620 and 5621, which would allow those who fail to claim a sales or use tax exemption to file a claim with the Department of Treasury to reclaim their money. Allowing the purchaser to claim a refund for their failure to provide the Certificate of Exemption at the time of purchase streamlines the process by eliminating the middle man (the seller). It should be the buyer’s job, not the seller, to reclaim this money. (Currently it is the seller’s responsibility to prove the sales and use tax should not have been charged to the buyer when the buyer fails to provide exemption information. They passed unanimously.
199 3/22/18 HB 5283 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5283, which would modify the brownfield developer subsidy deal to revise the definition of “demolition” to cover a particular concrete-clearing needed in a particular brownfield.  I oppose these subsidies, so I don’t support expanding them. It passed 66 – 43.
200 3/22/18 HB 4871 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 4871, which would allow “business improvement zones” (“BIZs”) to levy special assessments against certain pieces of private property for a more flexible period (7 to 10 years, instead of only 10).  BIZs are created by a vote of business owners and can levy special assessments on certain pieces of private property.  In other words, a majority of businesses can vote to impose fees on the minority.  These shouldn’t exist at all, so I’m not voting to give them more flexibility. It passed 107 – 2.
201 3/22/18 HB 5626 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5626, which would allow school districts that would receive additional tax money if a millage ballot proposal passes to be listed as “public schools” instead of listing each school district on the ballot. Wayne RESA has 33 school districts and over 100 charter schools within the ISD, so this is cumbersome for clerks and confusing for voters. It’s not necessary to list every school district receiving the funds.  Thank you, Representative Noble, for your leadership on this issue.  It passed 56 – 53.
202 3/22/18 HB 5090 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5090, which would make failing to stop at a weigh station a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor. It also exempts towing trailers from having to stop at them. Small businesses are typically nowhere near these weight limits and the State Police, supporting the bill, noted that they rarely enforce this law for light-duty vehicles. It passed 88 – 21.
203 – 205 3/22/18 HB 5335, 5406, & 5408 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5335, 5406, and 5408 which would create the Michigan Infrastructure Council, Water Asset Management Council, and Transportation Asset Management Council, which would maintain a statewide infrastructure asset management plan. Michigan’s infrastructure is a sad state and this implements the recommendation of the governor’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission to eliminate the current siloed configuration of statewide infrastructure and provide a unified plan of how to best spend infrastructure funding. Commission members would not be compensated.  They passed 107 – 2, 107 – 2, and 83 – 26.
206 3/22/18 HB 5494 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5494, which would make drone use considered an extension of the individual’s  regard to criminal activity. In other words, using a drone to trespass and spy on someone is the same as if the person was actually trespassing and spying directly.  This is a logical and simple way to extend the law to cover drones without having to amend dozens of criminal laws. It passed 108 – 1.
207 & 208 3/22/18 HB 5495 & 5498 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5495 and 5498, which would make it a crime to use a drone to “interfere” with the operations of a “key facility”. Key facilities include certain manufacturing plants, electric and gas utilities, law enforcement facilities, and so on.  “Interference”, however, is undefined.  There are already lots of federal regulations regarding drones, and with interference undefined, it could potentially be interpreted broadly to mean any annoyance. They passed 104 – 5 and 102 – 7 respectively.
209 3/22/18 HB 5496 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5496, which would require the Michigan Aeronautics Commission within the Department of Transportation to oversee drone issues.  There’s no additional cost and the office indicated that the additional workload would be nominal and could be accomplished with existing resources, so this is fine. It passed 107 – 2.
210 3/22/18 HB 5497 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5497, which expands those considered “public safety officials” to include corrections employees and all law enforcement officials, not just police officers, in the law prohibiting drones being used to “interfere” with such officials. Again, I am concerned that “interfere” could be interpreted very broadly to include any annoyance and be used to charge people for, say, recording video where an official might not want to be recorded. It passed 106 – 3.
211 3/22/2018 HB 5678 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5678. The original bill would allow prescribers to delegate newly-required medical assessments to other professionals to establish a “bona fide” relationship for prescribing opioids. The Senate version eliminated this to instead change the requirement to not start until the health department implements a rule to decide who should be exempt from this requirement. This is an alternative fix for an unforeseen problem in a recent law intended to curb excess opioid prescriptions, which I anticipated having unforeseen consequences.  Concurrence passed 107 – 2.
212-213 4/11/2018 HBs 5508-5509 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5508 and 5509, which would allow summer resort and park associations to convert to nonprofit corporations. These are similar in structure and function to homeowners’ associations, so they should have the same classification and be considered nonprofits. They passed 108 to 1.
214 4/11/2018 HB 4522 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4522, which would allow a taxpayer who experiences a stillborn birth to claim an additional dependency exemption for one year. This is a reasonable offset for a grieving mother who has to bear the costs of a funeral as well as a pregnancy. It passed unanimously.
215 4/11/2018 SB 521 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 521, which would make it a ticketable offense to not treat a traffic light experiencing a power failure as a four-way stop sign. I don’t know why we need to legislate this minutia; a traffic light outage typically means traffic is backed up in all directions and almost everybody always waits their turn. Plus a rolling stop is safe if everyone else is backed up. It passed 99 – 10.
216 4/11/2018 SB 809 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 809, which revise or eliminate various obsolete provisions in election law. This was based on the recommendation of the Bureau of Elections. It would remove provisions that have expired, and eliminate provisions under which a person convicted of cheating on a civil service exam is barred from various public offices for 20 years. It would also require special elections be held at least 45 days after a special primary, rather than 20 days. These were all seen as minor updates requested by the Secretary of State. It passed 107 – 2.
217, 218 4/11/2018 HB 4561, 4564 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 4561 and 4564, which I voted for previously, to clarify what agricultural equipment is exempt from sales tax. The Senate made corrections to keep with the intention of the original bills, to not change tax rates but update the code to match how the law was being interpreted. Concurrence passed 87 – 22 and 86 – 23.
219, 220 4/12/2018 HB 4562, 4563 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 4562 and 4563, which I voted for previously. The amendments are only technical changes: the Agricultural Disaster Loan Origination Program Act had to be re-enacted because the bill wasn’t signed into law before the act expired. Concurrence passed 97 – 11 and 91 – 17.
221-225 4/12/2018 SB 810-814 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 810 through 814, which would update various election laws for the changes made in SB 809 and eliminate various other obsolete provisions. These were all considered technical, inconsequential changes and they all passed unanimously.
226 4/12/2018 HB 4971 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4971, which would raise the amount of reward money a county can offer for information leading to the arrest of a criminal from $2,000 to $20,000. A county should be able to offer any reward it deems reasonable, worthwhile, and affordable. It passed unanimously.
227 4/12/2018 HB 4891 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4891, which would allow parents/guardians/foster parents to eavesdrop on their minor children’s phone conversations. Parents are legally responsible for their children’s behavior and they have a duty to police their behavior. Also, Michigan’s eavesdropping law, which defines it as hearing anything without someone’s permission, is absurdly broad. It passed 105 – 3.
228 4/17/2018 SB 841 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 841, which would protect members of Limited Liability Partnerships from personal liability except for negligence or other wrongful acts.  This is the same protection offered for Limited Liability Corporations and puts us in line with 46 other states. It passed 107 – 1.
229 4/17/2018 HB 5321 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5321, which would put a moratorium on new permits for the sterilization of game animals while Ann Arbor continues to conduct research into the viability of sterilization as a means of population control.  So far it has been shown to be ineffective at reducing deer population and a big waste of taxpayer money.  It passed 69 – 40.
230 4/18/2018 SB 290 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 290, which would require a candidate requesting a recount pay a higher fee if the candidate lost by more than 5 percentage points (or in very small races, 75 votes–whichever is greater). 5 percentage points is a margin of almost certain victory. A typical recount would affect the results by 0.3 percentage points or less. The current recount fee, however, is only $25 per precinct. Recounts cost a lot more than that, as two staffers are required for every few precincts, plus the clerks, canvassers, attorneys for the candidates, etc. This would make the fee for a “sore loser” recount $250 per precinct. It passed 93 – 16.
231 4/18/2018 HB 4115 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4115, which would increase the amount of sales exempt from tax for fund-raising activities by non-profit organizations from $5,000 to $10,000, if the total raised is less than $25,000. This amount had not been increased since 1994, so inflation has driven down the value of the amount significantly since it was last set. And I’m fine with small-scale charities not paying tribute to the state just because they have a bake sale. It passed 76 – 33.
232-234 4/19/2018 HBs 5644, 5646, 5669 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 5644, 5646, and 5669, which I voted for previously, making various updates to election laws. The Senate had to make technical corrections to reflect changes from other recently-passed bills and removed the 90-day effective date. Concurrence passed 107 – 2, 107 – 2, and 64 – 45.
235-236 4/19/2018 HBs 5686 & 5687 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5686 and 5687, which would require that Michigan driver licenses and ID cards issued to aliens expire no later than the date their visas expire. Common sense. They passed 99 – 10 and 96 – 13 respectively.
237 4/24/2018 HB 4628 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4628, which I voted for previously, to designate a part of a road between Lake City and Kalkaska as “Veterans Highway”. The amendment was technical in nature only. Concurrence passed unanimously.
238 4/24/2018 HB 4945 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4945, which I voted for previously, that would allow golf carts on roads in certain circumstances. The Senate added language to clarify that a municipality may require the golf cart to meet some safety rules, which is fine. Concurrence passed 67 – 40.
239 4/24/2018 HB 5085 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5085, which would divert money from liquor licenses to fund substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. These programs should be privately funded and administered; their being controlled by government only serves to encourage dependence on government. There were no quality or accountability requirements. It passed 104 – 3.
240-243 4/24/2018 HBs 5726 – 5729 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5726 – 5729, which would define “pyramid schemes” and illegalize them. These schemes are already illegal under federal and state law, but state law is ambiguous and these bills clarify the difference between illegal schemes, in which a seller can only make money by recruiting future sellers into the program, versus multi-level marketing and direct sales, where sellers earn money primarily from commissions on their sales. These bills clarify what is legal and what isn’t.  They passed 88 – 19, 86 – 21, 96 – 11, and 90 – 17 respectively.
244-245 4/24/2018 HBs 5578 & 5579 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5578 and 5579, which are the budget bills for the upcoming year. The was a lot of good in them; a few things I didn’t like, but the House showed great restraint in increasing the budget below the rate of inflation. However, I have voiced ongoing concerns about the extreme 4-to-1 disparity in university funding, which is severely unfair to Oakland University and other schools. I requested the budget address this and begin to narrow the funding gap, but the budget didn’t do so. I had to vote no on principle. They passed 66 – 41 and 71 – 36 respectively.
246-250 4/25/2018 HBs 5664, 5673, 4828, 5782, 618 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5664, 5673, 4828, 5782, and Senate Bill 618, which designated various roads as memorial highways. The law requires the signage be paid for by private sources, so there is no cost to taxpayers. They all passed unanimously.
251 4/25/2018 HB 5181 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5181, which would allow secured parties the ability to contest towing and storage fees, as individuals can, and reduce the 20-day waiting period for secured parties to recover an abandoned vehicle to 10 days. Anyone paying the fees should be able to contest their reasonableness. It passed unanimously.
252 4/26/2018 HB 4422 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4422, which I voted for previously, to extend a sunset on allowing retired teachers to teach as substitutes without forfeiting their pensions. It’s not “double dipping” because they are working and also earned their pensions. This would allow highly qualified teachers to make a little money and not exacerbate our shortage of substitute teachers. The Senate extended various dates and allowed certain retirees to work in literacy and leadership under High-Impact Leadership for School Renewal, a federal grant program.  This is all fine. Concurrence passed 106 – 3.
253 4/26/2018 HB 5530 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5530, which I voted for previously, that would prevent those convicted of criminal sexual conduct to return to a school a victim attends. The Senate amended it to make this provision mandatory, not subject to a judge’s discretion. Fine by me. Concurrence passed 106 – 3.
254 & 255 4/26/2018 HB 4916, 4917 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4916 and 4917, which would make late filing penalties for professional LLCs and corporations’ annual reports $10 per month, up to $50. Currently, PLLCs pay a flat penalty, so there is no incentive to file right away once it is late.  This minor change may encourage late filers to file sooner, and makes the system more standard. They passed unanimously.
256 5/1/2018 HB 5234 Passage Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5234, which I voted for previously, to allow medical parole in cases where death is imminent. The Senate amendment was strictly technical and the policy was unchanged. Concurrence passed 99 – 10.
257 5/1/2018 HB 5672 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5672, to name a portion of M-15 in Oakland County the Deputy Eric Overall Memorial Highway. The signage for memorial highways must be funded privately, so there is no cost to taxpayers. Deputy Eric Overall was killed in the line of duty on November 23, 2017, during a police pursuit that originated in Lapeer County. Deputy Overall was stopped at the corner of M-15 and Seymour Lake Road outside of his vehicle preparing to set up stop sticks when the vehicle being pursued hit him, killing him. It was a terrible tragedy. The bill passed unanimously.
258 5/1/2018 SB 297 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 297, which would impose additional burdens on those wishing to become electricians, and make it illegal for an unlicensed worker to pull wires, even if there is no power to the building. This is guild protection, driving up the cost of electrical work. It passed 89 – 20.
259 5/1/2018 HB 5504 Passage Yes I voted for House 5504, which would remove an obsolete requirement that vehicles honk when passing on the right. Obviously nobody does this. It passed unanimously.
260 5/1/2018 HB 5391 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5391, which would define electric skateboards in law and impose a regulatory regime that citizens must obey to use them, including requiring children and 18-year-old adults to hear helmets while riding them, prohibiting them from traveling faster than 25 mph, require use of reflecting clothing, etc. Reportedly we are passing this law because a single person requested it.  We should be working to protect and restore liberty, not coming up with more onerous laws for the public to obey. The age discrimination is also improper.  It passed 96 – 13.
261 5/1/2018 HB 5662 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5662, which would eliminate a requirement that helmet and protective eyewear be worn while operating an off-road vehicle towing a fishing shanty.  Happy to remove an unnecessary regulation, although it’s a bit odd that we’re voting on this immediately after having voted on another bill to impose a helmet mandate.  This bill passed 103 – 6.
262 5/1/2018 SB 815 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 815, which would include vehicles with permanent wheelchair lifts and hand controls in those eligible for a 50% vehicle registration fee reduction as wheelchair vans are given. Presumably the original intent of the law was to cover all vehicles that provide wheelchair access, not just vans, and I’m OK with reducing fees. It passed unanimously.
263 5/2/2018 HB 4991 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4991, which would specify that compensation received from wrongful imprisonment should be tax-deductible and excluded from calculating the homestead property tax credit. It’s common sense that a payment for wrongful imprisonment should not be subject to income tax. It passed 107 – 2.
264 5/2/2018 HB 5711 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5711, which would allow those in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program to hunt on public lands.  Currently they can only hunt on private land.  We should not exclude those that do not have access to private land to enjoy the benefit of hunting, increasing conservation and environmental awareness.  It passed 102 – 7.
265 5/3/2018 HB 4667 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring with Senate amendments to House Bill 4667, which I voted against previously, to expand the Grape and Wine Industry Council to cover all alcoholic beverages and rename accordingly.  I didn’t support the bill in the first place, and its essence was unchanged. Concurrence passed 104 – 3.
266 5/3/2018 HB 5767 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5767, which would revise various provisions for liquor licensing for special events (eg beer tents as festivals).  Most of the provisions were OK, except a provision that would allow alcohol suppliers to give branded materials (such as tents and umbrellas) to the retailers.  Alcohol suppliers are otherwise prohibited from giving anything of value to retailers for free.  The Liquor Control Commission says “this principle is the cornerstone of Michigan’s trade practices regulatory structure. It is designed to provide a level playing field for all industry members.”  I’m not sure the prohibition is sensible, but either way, the policy should be consistent. It passed 105 – 2.
267 5/3/2018 HB 5768 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5768, which would codify rules requiring certain kinds of alcohol be delivered to licensed wholesalers, and require a 24-hour “holding period” for the liquor commission to be able to inspect the stock. This seems unnecessary, time-consuming, and labor-intensive.  This could create needless delays and increase consumer prices. It passed 103 – 4.
268 5/8/2018 SB 440 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 440, which is a companion bill to HB 4667, which I voted against last week. We don’t need taxpayer money to fund a booze industry association, as this bill does.  It passed 107 – 2.
269 & 276 5/8/2018 HB 5829 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5829, which would require the boards of school districts, ISDs, charter schools, and non-public schools to designate a liaison to a School Safety Commission, which forthcoming bills we are voting on today would create and make its decisions binding. I will explain my opposition to this package of bills in detail once we are finished voting on them. This bill passed 95 – 14, and then on reconsideration passed 97 – 12.
270 5/8/2018 HB 5850 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5850, which would make permanent the once-temporary law creating the 24/7 school safety hotline. We already have 9-1-1, teachers, principals, guidance counselors, school resource officers, child protective services, not to mention parents to whom students can report problems. (Most of the complaints were allegations of bullying.) This is not, in my opinion, the proper role of the Attorney General, whose office administers the program. It passed 108 – 1.
271 5/8/2018 HB 5851 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5851, which would require annual reports from schools to the state police on attempted acts or threats of violence against a school.  These reports would not be subject to FOIA as they are for the police to assess risk rather than for political purposes. I’m in favor of information being disclosed for the purpose of planning protection.  It passed 69 – 40.
272 5/8/2018 HB 5852 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5852, which would require police training include active shooter training. This bill (and the others we are voting on today) are all knee-jerk responses to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, although the policy failures that led to the Florida shooting are not even present in Michigan (I will explain further in a moment).  In this case, we have an unfunded mandate that is sure to divert resources from other forms of police training, training that may be more useful to them, as school shootings are very rare crimes. We should let the police decide for themselves what training is most needed, not dictating what they must do just because of an incident that happened 1,400 miles from here.  This bill passed 108 – 1.
273-275 5/8/2018 HBs 5828, 5830 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5828 and 5830, which would create a School Safety Commission that would require boards of all schools, public and nonpublic, to comply with rules it would create, including surveillance technology (cameras in halls), remote door locks, metal detectors, reinforced entryways, and “school building layouts” (whatever that means).
These bills will cost schools money as well as the state police. It’s currently an unfunded mandate, though perhaps it will be taxpayer-funded soon enough.  In either case, this is all part of a policy craze to “do something” to prevent the next school shooting. In that context, it’s worth noting what really set the stage for the tragedy in Parkland, Florida.  In Broward County – *unlike anywhere in Michigan* – it was official policy that police could not arrest students that were committing felonious assault crimes.
On November 5, 2013, a “Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline” became the county’s official policy: to prevent dangerous students from being locked up, the policy was not to act on credible threats.  Nikolas Cruz assaulted students, cursed out teachers, kicked in classroom doors, started fist fights, threw chairs, threatened to kill other students, mutilated small animals, pulled a rifle on his mother, drank gasoline, and cut himself, among other red flags.
Over and over again, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reported Cruz’s terrifying behavior to school administrators.  At least three students showed school administrators Cruz’s near-constant messages threatening to kill them — e.g., “I am going to enjoy seeing you down on the grass,” “I’m going to watch you bleed,” “I am going to shoot you dead including one that came with a photo of Cruz’s guns. They warned school authorities that he was bringing weapons to school. They filed written reports.
Threatening to kill someone is a felony. Having a felony record would have prevented him from purchasing a gun. But Cruz was never arrested. He wasn’t referred to law enforcement. He wasn’t even expelled. The parties to the agreement that prevented law enforcement from stopping this mass shooting were the Superintendent, the Chief Judge of the 17th Circuit, a State Attorney, a public defender, county sheriff Scott Israel, the Fort Lauderdale Chief of Police, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Chair of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.
Thankfully, Michigan has no such policy. But in the craze to “prevent the next shooting” we have to find something to do, so we can boast to our constituents about having done something. But what we’re doing, in the name of prevention, is militarizing our schools, burdening everyone, most of all our children, whose learning time will inevitably be detracted by police state exercises and so forth.  This is the wrong direction.  House Bill 5828 passed 98 – 11; House Bill 5830 passed 95 – 14 and then 97 – 12 on a re-vote.
277 5/8/18 HB 4158 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4158, which would require a criminal conviction prior to civil asset “forfeiture” in drug offenses where the value of the property seized is under $50,000.  This is a basic due process issue: It’s the state’s burden to prove you guilty before they can steal your property.  You shouldn’t have to sue to get it back. It passed 83 – 26.
278 & 279  5/8/18 SBs 803, 804 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 803 and 804, which would allow the state to issue liquor licenses in Cadillac Place, a large state-owned space in the New Center district in Detroit. There are vacant areas in the building that could contribute to the economic revitalization of the area, but for the state’s prohibition on issuing liquor licenses within state-owned buildings.  This makes sense in your typical government office building, but in a million-square-foot building like Cadillac Place (former headquarters of General Motors), it’s large enough that allowing this is warranted.  They passed 103 – 3 and 99 – 8.
280 5/15/18 SB 551 Concurrence No I voted no on Senate Bill 551, which I voted against previously, to create an advisory council for the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Senate amended the bill to ask the NRTF board to consider only unanimous recommendations. The essence of the bill was unchanged, so I maintained my no vote. It passed 56 – 51.
281 5/15/18 HB 5407 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5407, which I voted for previously, to require defendants be present when victims give oral impact statements. The Senate clarified that the bill applies to cases in which sentencing occurs after the bill goes into effect, and that the court may consider any relevant statement from a victim regarding the defendant being physically present during that victim’s impact statement.  The essence was unchanged.  Concurrence passed 105 – 3.
282 5/15/18 HB 5749 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5749, which would allow “platoon trucks” (future autonomous vehicles that are electronically linked to coordinate speeds in order to enhance safety, save time and energy, and reduce emissions–these are already legal on Michigan roads) to exempt them from the requirement that trucks and truck tractors leave sufficient space between themselves for overtaking vehicles. This would streamline the process of platooning and the distance requirement is unnecessary for this type of vehicle.  It passed 64 – 44.
283 5/15/18 SB 568 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 568, which would relax a limitation on the distance between the height of the seat and handlebars on motorcycles.  There’s no need for this arbitrary restriction.  It passed unanimously.
284 5/15/18 HB 5645 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5645, which would allow support dogs for courtroom witnesses in certain circumstances. These may help young and vulnerable victims gain the courage to testify against those who hurt them.  It’s unlikely to affect insurance costs.  It passed 107 – 1.
285, 286 5/15/18 SBs 840 & 881 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 840 and 881, which would clarify that 5-acre waste treatment facilities are not lakes and do not require permit renewals.  This affects mines. Michigan’s mining laws are widely regarded as the most stringent in the world.  These bills don’t change that but allow the Department of Environmental Quality to make sensible determinations.  They passed 66 – 42 and 63 – 45 respectively.
287 5/15/18 SB 647 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 647, to make permanent a currently-temporary subsidy for weatherization funding.  The free market provides enough incentives for energy efficiency improvements. It passed 104 – 4.
288 – 295 5/15/18 SBs 851, 853, 854, 856, 857, 859, 862, 863 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 851, 853, 854, 856, 857, 859, 862, and 863, which are zero-dollar budget bills from the Senate.  These are all simply procedural bills which will eventually contain budget items but are now just to continue the budget process. They all passed 106 – 2 or 107 – 1.
296 – 303 5/15/18 HBs 5561, 5562, 5567, 5568, 5570, 5572, 5574, 5575 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5561, 5562, 5567, 5568, 5570, 5572, 5574, and 5575, which are zero-dollar budget bills.  These are all procedural bills to continue the budget process but are essentially blank at this time.  They all passed 105 – 3 to 107 – 1.
304, 305 5/15/18 SB 839 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 839, a companion bill to SB 840 and 881, which we voted on earlier. This bill would require the Department of Environmental Quality to consider if the environmental impact of a proposed mining permit amendment is materially increased or substantially different from the previously approved permit, and if not, the DEQ could approve the change without starting over the full permit process. We don’t need the entire permitting process to be restarted over a minor change.  It passed 64 – 44 and 63 – 45 on a re-vote.
306 5/15/18 HB 5901 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5901, which would extend the expiration date on an earmark for the statewide trauma system within the crime victim’s rights fund for another 3 years.  Instead of a funding stream for a statewide trauma center, where only a portion of the system actually serves victims of crimes, the fund should be spent as best determined by the fund (its primary purposes are crime victim services and crime victim compensation, which go principally to victims). It passed 69-39.
307 5/15/18 HB 5908 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5908, which would modify a detail of community stabilization revenue sharing to ensure local fire departments are held harmless from adjustments in personal property tax revenue.  We have a responsibility to reimburse local governments for this lost revenue because vital public services depend on it. It passed 92 – 16.
308 5/15/18 HB 5934 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5934, which would earmark $26 million of the Health and Human Services budget for a rural hospital access pool.  Some of our rural hospitals rely on the type of assistance and others would not offer services like delivering babies without it. We can’t force residents to drive an extra hour or more in what could be life-or-death situations. This is among the better uses of DHHS money. It passed 107 – 1.
309 5/15/18 SB 848 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 848, another zero-budget procedural bill, this one being the omnibus budget bill. Again, this was just a procedural vote to move the budget process forward.  It passed 105 – 3.
310, 311 5/15/18 HB 5738 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5738 and 5741, which would repeal obsolete laws for a commission to establish and mark the Michigan/Wisconsin/Minnesota boundary.  This was just legal housecleaning. They passed 108 – 0 and 105 – 3.
312 – 314 5/15/18 HBs 5761 – 5763 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5761 – 5763, which would repeal obsolete laws against making “false protest”: seeking to defraud or otherwise injure an insurer of a boat or the property on board. This is now covered by the felony of insurance fraud.  They passed.  This is just legal housekeeping and each passed 106 – 2, 106 – 2, and 104 – 4 respectively.
315 5/15/18 HB 5769 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5769, which would repeal an obsolete law authorizing the Department of Social Welfare, which no longer exists, to acquire land for a boys’ vocational school that was closed in 1972. The last boys’ school closed in 2015. Again, we are just removing obsolete language from the law. It passed 107 – 1.
316 5/16/18 HB 5775 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5775, which would repeal a duplicative 1931 law against the disposition and use of animals unfit for work.  This is covered by other animal cruelty laws and is obsolete.  We have several more bills today to repeal antiquated, unnecessary laws.  This one passed 99 – 9.
317 – 321 5/16/18 HBs 5884 – 5888 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5884 through 5888, which would repeal an obsolete law on the maintenance and operation of tuberculosis sanatoriums and delete references to them. We no longer have any. They passed 105 – 3, 106 – 2, 104 – 4, 105 – 3, and 105 – 3.
322 – 325 5/16/18 5892 – 5895 Passage Yes  I voted for House Bills 5892 through 5895, which would delete references in law to various rehabilitation camps that no longer exist. This is more legal housekeeping. They passed 104 – 4, 99 – 9, 99 – 9, and 98 – 10.
326 5/16/18 HB 5805 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5805, which would prohibit a pharmacist from selling a generic drug at the name-brand price, and eliminate language that would pass the savings on to an insurance company if the purchase is covered.  On one hand, it’s not the government’s job to dictate prices (supply and demand does that) and insurers shouldn’t have to pay more than the actual sale price of the drug. It passed 105 – 3.
327 5/16/18 HB 5811 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5811, which would direct the state to review and approve a program to allow documents to be notarized remotely (i.e. over the Internet).  Internet technology has become sufficiently mature for this to be done in a secure manner and it’s time to modernize how we do business. It passed 105 – 3.
328, 329 5/16/18 HBs 5325 and 5270 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5325 and 5270, which would impose local taxes and fees (“assessments”) on residents in certain districts.  These special districts are called “Business Improvement Districts”, “Principal Shopping Districts”, or “Business Improvement Zones”.  The essence of these districts is that a majority of businesses can vote to impose taxes on all of them, to pay for improvements to the area.  I don’t support this concept, period, because a majority shouldn’t have the ability to impose tyranny on a minority, and these bills go even worse by imposing these taxes on residents who don’t even get a vote on them.  Businesses should not be allowed to pass their costs of doing business off on residential property owners who happen to live next door.  They passed 76 – 32 and 77 – 31.
330 5/16/18 SB 883 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 883, which provides appropriations for the Natural Resources Trust Fund for the current fiscal year (ending this September).  The money for these projects comes from the lease of state land for oil and gas projects – not from general tax dollars. The revenue is designated roughly once a year for specific projects in partnership with local governments. The money is constitutionally protected and can’t be used for other purposes.  It included a $267,600 appropriation for the Joslyn Road Regional Pathway Rehabilitation Project in Orion Township. It passed 107 – 1.
331 – 334 5/16/18 HBs 5750, 5751, 5753, 5754 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5750, 5751, 5953, and 5954, which would outline procedures and operating policies for the surrender of newborns using “Safe Haven Baby Boxes.” The Safe Haven Baby Box has already saved two babies in the State of Indiana. The box will lock once a newborn is placed inside and a 9-1-1 call will trigger within 30 seconds. The bill also ensures that emergency services shall make a reasonable effort to contact parents who surrender their newborn and inform them of their rights to regain custody of their child. The bills passed 97-11, and 98-10.
335 5/17/18 HB 5782 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5782, to designate a memorial highway. The Senate added “USAF” to the sign language.  Concurrence passed unanimously.
336 5/17/18 HB 5411 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5411, to clarify that corrections security inspectors and corrections security representatives are covered positions within MDOC for retirement purposes. The term currently covered was “corrections security specialist” which was meant to include these positions. Apparently some bureaucrat ruled otherwise. These employees were promised certain benefits and they should not be taken away. The bill passed unanimously.
337 5/17/18 HB 5411 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 4679, which would require the House and Senate fiscal agencies supply a fiscal impact statement for every bill scheduled for a hearing in committee and for a vote on the floor. This is could allow the fiscal agencies to hold up a vote by taking time to prepare a fiscal impact statement, and these statements aren’t especially helpful anyway. Most of them say a bill will have an unknown or indeterminate impact, and It’s typically obvious when bills increase or decrease revenue or spending. The note for this bill, for example, said:
“House Bill 4679 would have no fiscal impact on state or local government.
“The bill would create additional required activities for the fiscal agencies, but they would likely be absorbed by existing staff. It is the current practice of both fiscal agencies to try to provide a summary and fiscal analysis on every bill that is taken up in a legislative committee or on the floor, and it is rare that they fail to do so; however, the agencies’ ability to do so is subject to the availability of data and the amount of advance notice that a bill is scheduled for a committee meeting or action on the floor.
“The requirement that the House or Senate could not vote on a bill on Third Reading without a fiscal note could lead to delay in cases when bills are being substituted or amended on the floor without much notice.”
I don’t see a clear need for a bill that could cause this issue. It passed 107 – 1.
338 5/17/18 HB 5454 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5454, which would allow a property owner to retain his “principal residence exemption” if he can no longer occupy his home due to damage or destruction. You shouldn’t have to pay higher property taxes if your house is destroyed by a tornado. It passed unanimously.
339 5/17/18 HB 5635 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5635, which would allow board of commissioners to meet at any time during a certain week in April, rather than on one specific date.  This is reasonable flexibility.  It passed unanimously.
340 5/17/18 HB 5766 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5766, which would allow private snow plows to keep their rotating amber lights on between jobs and allow wider plows. These were unneeded restrictions.  It passed 107 – 1.
341 5/17/18 HB 5923 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5923, which would designate a memorial highway in I-94 in Jackson county for two corrections officers, Jack Budd and Josephine McCallum, who were murdered by inmates.  The Memorial Highway Act requires signage be paid by private funds, so there is no cost to taxpayers.  It passed unanimously.
342, 343 5/17/18 HBs 5374, 5834 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5374 and 5834, to clarify that those with a mobility disability using a power-driven mobility device are still considered pedestrians and don’t require driver licenses.  Duh.  They passed unanimously.
344 5/17/18 HB 5638 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5638, which would create an alternative to the Site-Specific Review (SSR) requirement for water withdrawals. Any potential user would be able to submit data produced and analyzed by a certified hydrogeologist. If the data show no adverse resource impact (ARI), the approval would need to be issued by the Department of Environmental Quality within 20 days. Over the initial two years after approval, the DEQ would be able to request five more sets of data from the water user, but the burden of proof would be on the DEQ to prove whether or not that specific well has an ARI or not. This would relieve registrants, update current processes, and provide users with methods to make withdrawal approvals less expensive and time consuming. It passed 93 – 15.
345 5/17/18 HB 5902 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5902, which would authorize the public service commission to give one company, Hemlock Semiconductor, lower electricity rates from Consumers Energy than everyone else. This was done by authorizing a “long-term industrial rate” that applies only to those with an average demand of 200 megawatts or more at a single site — a condition that only Hemlock Semiconductor will meet in the foreseeable future.
To put this in perspective, 200 MW is how much power an entire city the size of Ann Arbor might use. General Motors probably uses about this much in Michigan (but would not qualify for the special rate because it is distributed among many plants and the bill requires one site use this much power).
In the Energy committee, we heard that this was necessary because if we did not give them this deal, they would build their own power plant, forcing Consumers to raise their rates for everybody else anyway (because they’d lose their biggest customer). But this would not be a problem in the first place if our energy market was competitive, and allowing one big company to pay less forces everyone else to pay more.
It’s a lose-lose scenario for everyone but the monopoly power company. Because our utility companies have a monopoly and a profit margin guaranteed by law, we have the highest energy prices in the Midwest, and among the highest in America. The effect on our industries is devastating. The solution to the monopoly isn’t to make special exemptions for only the largest companies. It’s to free everyone from the monopoly.
It passed 77 – 31.
346 5/22/18 HB 5093 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5093, which I voted for previously, to allow teachers in the original defined-contribution plan to get the additional benefits of the newer enhanced plan.  The Senate substitute removes a section in the bill that required the employer contributions to come from the School Aid Fund. The section would likely have been unenforceable because the legislature cannot bind future legislatures to make appropriations. Concurrence passed unanimously.
347 5/22/18 HB 5235 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5235, which I voted for previously, to allow people be paid up to the 9th instead of the first of each month. The Senate changed the date from the 9th to the 15th. Payment dates should be negotiated between employer and employee, not mandated by law, but this at least relaxes the law. Concurrence passed 70 – 38.
348, 349 5/22/18 HB 5620, 5621 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 5620 and 5621, which I voted for previously, to allow a purchaser who fails to claim a sales or use tax exemption to recuperate the money from the Treasury.  The Senate extended the enacting date to give Treasury more time to implement the program.  They passed 107 – 1.
350 – 359 5/22/18 SB 731 – 740 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 731 through 740, which codify current practices for filing documents with registers of deeds, mostly relating to newer technology.  Removing terms like “card file”, etc.  Most passed unanimously; a few bills had one or two no votes.
360 – 362 5/22/18 SB 652 – 654 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bills 652 – 654, which would create an independent oversight committee for all proposed environmental rules, create an appeals board for denied permit applications at the Department of Environmental Quality, and re-establish the Environmental Science Advisory Board to advise the governor on his request.  I appreciate the intent of the legislation (it is trying to address people’s frustration with the DEQ and give them avenues for over-ruling them), but would prefer we instead look at how to resolve problems within the DEQ directly, instead of creating even more government bodies.  They passed 57 – 51, 58 – 50, and 59 – 49 respectively.
363 – 371 5/23/18 HB 5561, 5562, 5567, 5568, 5570, 5572, 5574, 5575, 5579 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring in the Senate substitutes on HB 5561, 5562, 5567-68, 5570, 5572, 5574-75, and 5779. These are all simply procedural votes on various appropriation bills that will allow us to continue the budget process. The Senate substitutes were unanimously opposed.
372 5/23/18 HB 4475 Passage Yes I voted yes on HB 4475, which removes the cap on the amount of acreage that the state could own and implements a strategic management plan. Michigan currently owns 4.6 million acres of public land but lacks any kind of plan for how it should be managed. Moving forward, the strategic plan will ensure that any land purchased will be completed in a way that benefits Michigan families, our economy, and our natural resources. The bill passed 67-42.
373 5/23/2018 HB  5890 Passage Yes I voted yes on HB 5890, which updates communication practices within the Department of Environmental Quality. The bill will allow for the DEQ to issue permits in a manner which is modern (electronic), faster, and more efficient. The bill passed 109-0.
374 5/23/18 HB 5990 Passage Yes I voted yes on House Bill 5990, which repealed a duplicative reporting requirement regarding the Michigan Fire Fighters Training Council. The reporting requirement is already required by boilerplate in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs budget. It passed 94-15.
375 5/23/18 HB 5993 Passage Yes I voted yes on House Bill 5993, which eliminates an unnecessary nursery licensing reporting requirement. The requirement is duplicative as it has already been implemented by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. It passed 105-4.
376 – 389 5/23/2018 HB 5995 Passage Yes I voted yes on House Bills 5995 – 6007, which eliminate and repeal various outdated and unnecessary commissions, statutes, and reporting requirements. These bills are simply to “clean up the books.” They all passed by various margins.
390 5/23/18 HB 5985 Passage Yes I voted yes on HB 5985, which improves Michigan’s indigent defense services. The bill ensures that these services are consistently delivered and Constitutionally adequate throughout all parts of the state. It passed 94-15.
391 5/24/18 SB 871 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 871, which would extend the statute of limitations for certain criminal sexual conduct from 10 years to 15, or to the victim’s 28th birthday, whichever is later. This would not apply retroactively. The risk of an innocent person being convicted because of these changes is minimal because a prosecutor must still prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest possible standard. Survivors of sexual assault often do not report the assault for years, particularly those who were minors at the time. Our law should reflect this reality, and better accommodate survivors. It passed 108 – 1.
392 5/24/18 SB 872 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 872, which extend the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for sexual assault, for 10 years past the age of majority or 3 years past the discovery of an injury, and retroactive for anyone who was a minor at the time of an assault going back to 1996 if they file suit within 90 days, subject to certain conditions. Unlike in criminal cases in which prosecutors much prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a plaintiff in a civil case is only required to prove its allegations are more likely than not. This is a low standard of evidence, and extending the statute of limitation by many years limits the defendant’s ability to present evidence in his or her defense, when witnesses may be unavailable, records unavailable, and so on. It passed 99 – 10.
393 – 395 5/24/18 HB 5793, 5783, 5784 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5793, 5783, and 5784, which would establish an informed consent requirement for medical services on minors that involve penetration, require records of sensitive procedures be retained at least 15 years, require state medical boards establish guidance material for these treatments, and create penalties for failure to document such sensitive procedures. By the time some victims reported or realized they had experienced assault, their medical records were no longer available because of the short retention period in place. They passed 108 – 1.
396 – 399 5/24/18 HB 5787-5790 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5787 – 5790, which would update and strengthen laws against criminal sexual conduct carried out under the guise of medical treatment, with harsher felony penalties and requiring permanent revocation of a medical license. These terrible crimes merit harsher penalties and the bills passed 108 – 1.
400 – 402 5/24/18 HB 5794, 5660, 5661 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5794, 5660, and 5661, which would create new penalties for aggravated possession, production, distribution, and financing of aggravated child pornography (that which inherently involves sexually abusing children), and a mandatory minimum for multiple convictions. Perpetrators of these terrible crimes should be put away for a long time. The bills passed 106 – 3, 107 – 2, and 107 – 2 respectively.
403 – 404 5/24/18 HB 5537, 5982 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 5537 and 5982, which would make it criminal to intentionally use a professional position of authority to prevent, or attempt to prevent, another from reporting criminal sexual conduct. This is clearly well intended to stop people from preventing others from reporting crimes, but it is possible that candid advice could be misinterpreted as an attempt to prevent reporting.  It could therefore also lead to people being afraid to discuss these sensitive issues.  We need to be careful not to chill speech. They passed 107 – 2.
405 5/24/18 HB 5658 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5658, which would make evidence that a defendant committed a sexual assault or domestic violence previously admissible in a subsequent case of sexual assault or domestic violence. Judges should be given more discretion in determining what evidence of prior sexual acts should be admitted and considered in a criminal case. It passed 104 – 5.
406 5/24/18 HB 5796 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5798, which would allow immediate family members and guardians of a victim to make a victim impact statement in sentencing, if the victim consents. Those who are closely related to victims should have the chance to speak as well.  It passed unanimously.
407 5/24/18 HB 5791 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5791, which would require the Department of Education to develop sexual assault materials for students in grades 6 through 12. We don’t need to micromanage the Department of Education on this and it’s already in the Michigan Merit Curriculum. It passed 103 – 6.
408 5/24/18 HB 5539 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5539, which would expand the “OK2Say” hotline to include sexual assault, abuse, and rape. I’m surprised these are not already covered by the program, since they are crimes, but since the line already exists this won’t add a cost. It passed unanimously.
409 5/24/18 HB 5799 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5799, which would give the governor power to remove State Board of Education and university board members for gross malfeasance in office, even if the legislature is in session. Right now it only applies if we are out of session. Proper cause is still required. It passed 108 – 1.
410, 412, 413 5/24/18 HB 5659, SB 874, 880 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5659 and Senate Bills 874 and 880, which would expand the list of those required to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to include physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, and athletic trainers, and increase penalties for multiple failures  to report.  This will create a higher standard for those in these professions and encourage more people to look for signs of abuse.  They passed unanimously except SB 874 passed 107 – 2.
411 5/24/18 HB 5796 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5796, which would require the Department of Health and Human Service create and distribute a training package for mandatory reporters. It’s the state’s duty to inform people what their duties are.  It passed unanimously.
414 5/24/18 HB 5797 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5797, which would allow a public body to exempt information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act to keep anonymous the identity of one who files an anonymous civil lawsuit. We need to protect individuals who need to remain anonymous from being “outed” by a FOIA request. FOIA is a tool for citizens to know what our government does; it was never intended to be used against citizens in private legal matters. It passed 106 – 3.
415 5/24/18 HB 5795 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5795, which would create the Office of Campus Sexual Assault Ombudsman within the Department of Civil Rights. We already have a federal agency that does this, and if we are to create such an agency it should have a broader scope.  It passed 94 – 15.
416 5/24/18 HB 5792 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5792, which would establish the campus sexual assault response improvement plan and grant process. We already give these universities tons of money and requiring they improve their campus sexual assault response should be done through boilerplate requirements tied to their funding.  It passed 99 – 10.
417 5/24/18 HB 6043 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 6043, which would require all K-12 schools, including private schools, be required to submit reports of crimes and other inappropriate behavior to the Department of Education.  Private schools are not beholden to the Department of Education and the Department of Education should not be the custodian of such allegations. It passed 88 – 21.
459 6/12/18 SB 988 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 988, which would eliminate a sunset on the state absorbing the full cost of an administrative rate increase for foster care services. If it expired, half the cost would be absorbed by counties. Taxpayers pay either way, but this way the commitment is kept at the state level while counties have more flexibility for their own spending. It passed unanimously.
460 6/12/18 SB 1015 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 1015, which would increase the amount of funding the state retains from the hospital Quality Assurance Assessment Program from $105 million to $118 million. If we don’t make this change, we risk losing federal money for Medicaid. This does not change how much hospitals pay; it increase the amount of money the state retains to draw federal matching funds. It passed unanimously.
461-471 6/12/18 HB 5955-5965 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5955 – 5965, which would prohibit local governments from imposing new licensing requirements on jobs that would force citizens to complete courses, pay fees, etc. to get or keep a job.
As it is, we have far too burdensome occupational licensing rules at the state level. Michigan licenses about 160 occupations, far more than necessary. It requires 1,800 hours to training for one to become a barber. These rules raise the price of goods and services, restrict job opportunities, and make it more difficult for qualified workers to take their skills across state lines. More fundamentally, occupational licensing infringes on economic and personal freedom.
I would like to see more reforms at the state level. At the local level, some municipalities impose their own additional restrictions. Notably, Detroit further stifles the public by licensing 60 occupations – half already licensed at the state level. All of this is guild protection and incompatible with a free society.
Finally, it was suggested during debate on these bills that these bills took away “local control” or the freedom of municipalities to do what is in their communities’ best interest. On the contrary, depriving the people of their liberty should be no role of government at any level. The state legislature should resist federal tyranny, oppose state-level tyranny, and prohibit local tyranny. The bills all passed with 58 ayes and 50 or 51 nays.
472 6/12/18 HB 5778 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5778, which would allow for the breeding of large carnivores (eg tigers), subject to stringent accreditation rules and limitations, creation of an advisory committee, and more. Tigers are endangered species, and breeding programs play a critical role in the education and conservation efforts of our zoos. We must update our laws to allow qualified Michigan zoos to breed large carnivores.  It passed 55 – 54.
473 6/12/18 SB 916 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 916, which would impose licensure mandates on automatic recycling kiosks operated by junk and secondhand dealers. There is now a requirement that the kiosk needs to verify that the individual selling the product is the true owner. An automated recycling kiosk€ should not be required to obtain a license to operate in a local community. See my votes on the 11-bill occupational licensing reform 10 minutes ago. It passed 98 – 11. Â
474 6/12/18 HB 6050 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 6050, to allow qualified bear handlers breed captive black bears, subject to various restrictions. This plan legalizes and establishes high standards for the breeding of black bears. It passed 63 – 46.
475 6/12/18 SB 622 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 622, to designate a portion of US-23 the Peter A. Pettalia Memorial Highway, a member of the state House that was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident on that highway. It passed unanimously.
476 6/12/18 SB 459 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 459, to designate a portion of M-52 the “Trooper Calvin R. Jones Memorial Highway”, after the state trooper killed in a patrol car crash. It passed unanimously.
477 6/12/18 HB 6025 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 6025, which would designate portions of US-131 as the PFC Nicholas H. Blodgett, CPL Ross A Smith, and SPC Eric T. Burri Memorial Highways. All three soldiers grew up in Wyoming, MI and were killed at age 21 in Iraq in separate incidents. It passed unanimously.
478 & 479 6/12/18 SB 640 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 640 and 672, which would clarify that buses passing through Michigan are exempt from state regulation and subject to federal rules but those within the state are regulated by the state. Without a change, USDOT would become the enforcement agency for all buses in the state. They passed unanimously.
479 6/12/18 SB 672 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 640 and 672, which would clarify that buses passing through Michigan are exempt from state regulation and subject to federal rules but those within the state are regulated by the state. Without a change, USDOT would become the enforcement agency for all buses in the state. They passed unanimously.
480 & 492 6/12/18 SB 196 & 197 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bills 196 & 197, which would create a check-off on the income tax return charity contribution for Fostering Futures Scholarship Fund. It adds more complication to tax forms and provides an unfair advantage to one specific program over all other charities that would like to be on this form but can’t. They passed 104 – 5.
481 & 482 6/12/18 SB 684 & 685 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bills 684 and 685, which would impose additional mandates on schools’ usage of “education development plans”. I’ve spoken at length about the uselessness of these plans in discussing my bill to relieve the requirement on shared-time students. More fundamentally, Lansing should not be dictating education policies to our schools. I would vote to eliminate the EDP mandate entirely. Sadly, we’re going the wrong direction here. They passed 89 – 20 and 86 – 23 respectively.
483 6/12/18 HB 5579 Adoption of Conf. Comm. No I voted no on adopting the conference committee report on House Bill 5579, the education budget, which essentially approves it to be sent to the governor if the Senate agrees. There were a lot of good things in the budget, and some not-so-good things. In the interest of being reasonable, I asked for only one thing: that this budget begin to close the massive gap in per-pupil funding for our university students. It’s not fair that a student at Wayne State gets $4 for every $1 a student at Oakland University gets. My request was rejected.
Additionally, since the House passed the budget bill, the conference committee added a 10% growth cap on any shared-time programs, which Oxford and Orion schools use. We shouldn’t cap the number of children that can choose their path to a better education.
It passed 63 – 46.
484 6/12/18 SB 848 Adoption of Conf. Comm. No I voted no on adopting the conference committee report on Senate Bill 848, the omnibus budget, which essentially approves it to be sent to the governor if the Senate agrees. Again, there were some good things — and some great things, like closing a prison — and some not-so-good things. But although they were separate bills, my sole request of the entire budget, that college funding be distributed more fairly, was rebuffed, so I had little interest in voting for a budget larger than last year’s. It passed 66 – 43.
485 6/12/18 SB 888 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 888, which clarifies that students at junior and community colleges are not considered members of the retirement plan.  Student should not be forced to pay into a retirement system they do not plan on collecting benefits from in the future. It passed 107 – 2.
486 6/12/18 SB 344 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 344, which would create a “STEM Endorsement” for high school diplomas for students specializing in science, technology, engineering, and math. I understand these are promising fields but we shouldn’t be putting down students that might have a different calling. The state government shouldn’t be choosing winners and losers. It passed 98 – 11.
487 6/12/18 SB 946 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 946, which would codify an administrative employer subsidy program into statute, delivering taxpayer money to various institutions for job training. Employees should provide training and development to their employees without the help of government assistance. It passed 100 – 9.
488 & 489 6/12/18 SB 941 & 942 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bills 941 and 942, the “Marshall Plan for Talent” to spend $100 million on government job and career training programs, paid for with money borrowed against revenues from a 1998 state tobacco lawsuit settlement. We don’t need yet another government education program, and this one is unfunded after four years. They passed 105 – 4.
490 6/12/18 SB 175 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 175, to extend the sunset on allowing students to take certain CTE classes in place of a foreign language requirement. Students and schools should have this flexibility. It passed 90 – 19.
491 6/12/18 SB 343 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 343, which would require the board of a school district or board of directors of a public school academy to provide students with the most recent analysis of in-demand occupations in the area. This is (yet again) more meddling in our children’s education and imposing burdens on schools. It passed 96 – 13.
493 & 494 6/12/18 SB 757 & 758 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 757 & 758, which would allow for the installation of low-voltage electric fences without a permit. A little more freedom.  They passed 101 – 8 and 99 – 10 respectively.
495 – 506 6/12/18 SB 1000 – 1011 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 1000 through 1011, which would repeal various reporting requirements that are obsolete, duplicative, or unnecessary. For example, the Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps Endowment Fund was exhausted and closed, so there is no longer a need for an annual report. The bill that got the fewest votes (1005 – passed 95 – 14), repeals a requirement that MDARD report on the number of pet shop licenses issued by the department. MDARD stopped regulating pet shops in 2009, which made this reporting requirement irrelevant. The others all passed by wider margins, typically 103 – 6.
507 & 508 6/12/18 SB 302 & 303 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 302 which would approve a managed public land strategy. A 2012 law capped the amount of state-owned land at 4.626 million acres until the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) developed a managed public land strategy to be approved by the Legislature. The DNR produced the strategy in 2013 that adopted a regionally-based model. These bills adopt the strategy, removes the land cap, and provide additional criteria for the way the DNR manages public lands including addressing public access issues, land transactions, payment of state payment in lieu of taxes (PILT), and local review of potential land purchases by the DNR. This will help to free up more public access to state land and provide more guidance to the DNR when managing public lands. They passed 66 – 43 and 67 -42.
509 & 510 6/12/18 HB 5854 & 5855 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5854 and 5855 to create a voluntary wetland restoration permit program, establishes who is eligible for permits, and identifies the type of activities that will be authorized under volunteer projects. Right now, people and volunteer organizations who want to voluntarily restore our wetlands are treated no differently than people with plans to develop a property and disrupt a wetland. Many of the regulations they face simply don’t fit, resulting in complications and delays. As a result, community organizations are spending more and more to resolve legal issues, leaving less money to go toward improving the environment. This would eliminates senseless regulations that stand in the way of community organizations working to restore wetlands in Michigan. They passed 65 -44 and 64 – 45.
511 & 512 6/12/18 HB 5942 & 5943 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5942 and 5943, which provide penalties for threatening a school with a firearm or other dangerous or deadly weapon. Under current law, the only real option for prosecutors is a 20-year felony charge for terrorism, which can be difficult to charge and problematic at trial. A new graduated penalty range in the bill would allow for a 1-year misdemeanor if a threat is reasonably interpreted to be dangerous to human life but elevated to a 10-year felony if the person had specific intent to carry out the threat or was doing so. They passed 99- 10 and 96 – 13.
513 6/12/18 HB 6028 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 6028, which would allow school buses to use their hazard lights instead of the stop sign when pulling over to drop off and pick up children on a four-lane highway with a speed limit of 50. This allows buses to continue to allow traffic to move smoothly and maintain existing practices on Michigan roads. It passed 105 – 4.
514 6/12/18 HB 5536 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 5536, which I voted against previously, to create a county veteran service fund. I said at the time we should just increase funding to existing veterans service organization instead of creating another new body. The Senate clarified that the agency shall not disburse additional grants unless there is enough money to provide each county with an additional grant of $1000 or more, but the essence was the same. Concurrence passed 108 – 1.
515 6/12/18 HB 5934 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5934, which I voted for previously, to allow for rural hospital access pools. The Senate changed an appropriation to reflect what just passed in the budget. Concurrence passed 108 – 1.
516 6/12/18 HB 5985 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5985, which I voted for previously, to revise the Indigent Defense Commission. The Senate version allows court to be reimbursed for the cost of collecting funds from partially-indigent defendants, delays the effective date from 3 months to 6, and requires a court to review a local system’s determination of whether a defendant is indigent or partially indigent and whether and to what extent that defendant may contribute to the cost of his or her defense. This is all fine to me. Concurrence passed 97 – 12.
517 6/12/18 HB 6139 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendments to House Bill 5139, which I voted against previously, to require schools provide instruction on career exploration and job-readiness. The Senate pushed back the effective date but the essence was the same. Concurrence passed 98 – 11.
518 6/12/18 SB 915 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 915, which would allow a school bus be wider than 96 inches but not wider than 102 inches and is not subject to seasonal load restrictions. Other vehicles up to 102 inches are coach buses, semi-tractors, and campers. It passed unanimously.
519 6/12/18 HB 5837 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5837, which would allow municipal utilities located in other states and Canada to become members of a Joint Agency located in Michigan to pool their resources for energy-related assets and services, as long as it’s verified that they have the legal authority to join. This will allow them to provide more assets and services. It passed unanimously.
520 6/12/18 HB 5141 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 5141, which I voted for previously, to allow schools to hire CTE teachers with they have professional licenses or certificates and a diploma but not a teaching degree. The Senate version would allow them to teach for only 10 years without a teaching degree and be rated effective and adhere to some other rules. It’s still a positive step. Concurrence passed 62 – 47.
521 6/12/18 SB 889 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 889, which would eliminate the basic skills exam as a requirement for teacher certification. The requirement was already removed from the Interim Teaching Certification and teachers have enough burdens to obtain their teaching certificate. It passed 105 – 4.
522 6/12/18 SB 226 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 226, which would allow plaintiffs to pay fees for GPS verification and photo verification. They should be allowed to charge for these new services. It passed 103 – 6.
523 6/12/18 SB 542 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 542, which would limit the geographic scope of required pesticide notification to adjacent properties. Currently anyone with a diagnosed condition of chemical sensitivity can be added to a registry to receive notification about all professional pesticide applications in the area. The wide range is otherwise unnecessary and places an undue burden on local pest control companies, and no scientific evidence suggests a need to notify anyone beyond the adjacent property owners. It passed 66 – 42.
524 6/12/18 SB 836 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 836, which would allow trucks more flexibility in weight distribution. A tandem axle assembly wouldn’t be limited to 13,000 pounds. It would not increase vehicle weight just prevent people from getting in trouble over improper weight distribution (truckers try their best to distribute weight evenly anyway). It passed 95 – 14.
525 6/12/18 SB 178 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 178, which would create fundraising license plates for the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, Pistons and the Michigan International Speedway. These profit-making entities do not need legal privileges that non-profits cannot receive. It passed 80 – 29.
526 & 527 6/12/18 HB 5889 & 6076 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5889 and 6076, which would require the DNR pay their share of lake level assessments when invoiced without requiring local governments file lawsuits to be reimbursed. For the past several years the DNR has not been paying because while it was not appropriated the funds as a line item, it was authorized through the budget to pay legal settlements. This is a ridiculous way to do business, so these bills say yes, just pay the bills as long as the funds exist, which they do. The bills passed 108 – 1.
528 – 530 6/12/18 HB 6013 – 6015 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 6013 – 6015, which I cosponsored, to create the Michigan Innovative Transportation Board, to research and evaluate materials and techniques for building longer-lasting roads. The board would consist have balanced membership: 1 member from MDOT, 2 appointed by the state legislature, 1 each from the asphalt, concrete, and aggregate associations, 1 from the Council of Engineering Companies, 1 from the Infrastructure and Transportation Association, 1 from the County Road Association, 1 from the Municipal League, which represents cities; 1 from the Association of Counties, 1 from the Drain Commissioners Association, and 1 from the Road Preservation Association. Reportedly MDOT has been hesitant to put money into this research, but it’s critical for the long-term that we find innovative ways to build roads now that save money in the long term. They passed 98 – 11, 100 – 9, and 99 – 10.
531 & 532 6/12/18 HB 5143 & 5680 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5143 and 5680, which would provide a property tax exemption for alternative energy personal property, e.g. solar panels. I would not typically provide a subsidy of this type that focuses on one type of energy  we should have a level playing field for all types of energy but the Public Service Commission just massively ripped off solar panel owners by ruling that they be reimbursed for only a fraction of the value of the energy they return to the grid. Previously, a solar generator’s energy meter would essentially run backwards if they were producing more energy than they were consuming.  It was the legislature’s intent in the 2016 energy law that this be preserved, but the MPSC, as usual, gave the energy monopolies what they wanted. This legislation is a small step to reversing the harm. It passed and 106 – 3 and 105 – 4.
533 6/12/18 HB 4360 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 4360, which I voted for previously, to keep government out of the towing business. The Senate somewhat modified the terms of enforcement. Concurrence passed 82 – 27.
534 6/12/18 HB 5435 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendments on House Bill 5435, concerning flexibility on tax freezes for property rehabilitation. The Senate version just corrected a drafting error. Concurrence passed 95 – 14.
535 6/12/18 HB 4115 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to HB 4115, raising the sales tax exemption for charity fundraising, which I voted for previously. It was a non-substantive technical change. Concurrence passed 81 – 28.
536 6/12/18 HB 4438 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate on House Bill 4438, which I voted for previously, to exempt farmers providing portable toilets from requiring septage hauler licenses. The Senate version says that in order to qualify for the exemption, the toilets can only be used for farm operations and cannot be transported on a limited access highway. It also says the units must be securely fastened to a vehicle, the waste cannot be transported in tanks larger than 450 gallons, and that waste stored less than 60 days could not be stored in tanks larger than 3000 gallons. These changes were all negotiated with the sponsor, the DEQ, and farmer organizations including the Farm Bureau. Concurrence passed 80 – 29.
537 6/12/18 HB 5086 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 5086, which I voted for previously, to reduce administrative burdens in the Local Community Stabilization Authority Act. The Senate addressed issues that have arose from over- and underpayments for personal property tax reimbursement that attempt to make payments more predictable and simple. For example, it eliminates the retroactive recalculation of taxable value that occurs each year. Concurrence passed 108 – 2.
538 6/12/18 HB 4828 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4828, naming a memorial highway, which changes the number of the section to ensure it does not conflict with another highway naming bill. Concurrence passed unanimously.
539 6/12/18 HB 4918 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4918, which would criminalize receiving compensation for connecting veterans to benefits in some circumstances. I voted against it previously on the basis that it might discourage private citizens from helping inform veterans what services are available, and the Senate version didn’t change the essence of it. Concurrence passed 107 – 2.
540 6/12/18 SB 908 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 908, which would allow Lansing to charge residents and non-residents different fees for the Groesback Golf Course. Lansing tax revenue is used to maintain the course, so the city should have the option to charge non-residents more. It passed 104 – 5.
541 6/12/18 SB 1036 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 1036, which would allow the state to transfer prison property to another agency or the MI Land Bank Fast Track Authority. We’re closing a prison, due to a reduction in the prison population. Making Michigan Great Again! It passed unanimously.
542 6/12/18 HB 5145 Passage Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5145, which I voted for previously, to allow time teacher and administrators spend engaging local employers or technical centers to count toward the renewal of a teaching certificate. The Senate pushed the implementation date back six months. OK. Concurrence passed 104 – 5.
543 6/12/18 HB 5406 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5406, which I voted for previously, to create the Water Asset Management Council. The Senate modified the composition of the water council to include members from the state Department of Transportation, Municipal League (cities) Townships Association, Association of Counties, Association of Drain Commissioners, a water authority, a water infrastructure association, and an individual with water management experience. In the original version the governor and legislature could appoint any 9 people. Concurrence passed 106 – 3.
544 6/12/18 HB 5408 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5408, which I voted for previously, to modify the Transportation Asset Management Council. The Senate clarifies that MDOT’s asset management plan must be approved by the State Transportation Commission, requires the Infrastructure Council consult with the TAMC before removing a board member for incompetence, and provides that if a local road agency doesn’t submit a plan by October 2024 they have four months to do so before road funding is withheld until a plan is submitted. Concurrence passed 89 – 20.
545 6/12/18 HB 6004 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 6004, which I voted for previously, that would remove a notification requirement regarding the low income home energy assistance program block grant’s home heating credit. The Senate amendment was technical only to address the passage of Senate Bill 647 into law. Concurrence passed 86 – 20.
546 6/12/18 HB 4030 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 4030, which I voted against previously, for the tax check off for the Lions of Michigan Foundation. I don’t think any specific organizations should have this privilege, and the Senate version didn’t change that. Concurrence passed 104 – 3.
547 6/12/18 HB 4198 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 4198, which I voted against previously, to require time in driver education be set aside for instruction on looking out for bicycles, motorcycles, and other vulnerable road users. The Senate amendment was insubstantial. Concurrence passed 107 – 2.
548 6/12/18 HB 4265 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4265, which would require drivers give bicycles 3 feet when passing in normal circumstances. The Senate removed language regarding passage of a bike on its left and retained the language on passing on its right. That seems like a huge rollback (aren’t bikes almost always on the right?) but having been amended by the Senate it’s this or nothing. Concurrence passed 99 – 10.
549 6/12/18 HB 5142 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate on House Bill 5142, which I voted for previously, to allow school districts hire professionals for career/tech teachers in certain circumstances. The Senate modified the bill to conform with language that was passed in HB 5676 and the School Aid budget. Concurrence passed 72 – 37.
550 6/12/18 HB 5739 Concurrence No I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 5739, a Kiwanis fund tax check-off, which I voted against previously because particular organizations should get unique privileges. The Senate change was insubstantial. Concurrence passed 103 – 4.
551 – 553 6/12/18 HB 4926 – 4928 Passage No I voted no on House Bills 4926 & 4928, to legalize Internet gambling, allow only the existing brick-and-mortar casinos in Michigan to operate gambling websites, and criminalize it for everyone else. This expands the group monopoly on gambling to the Internet. Furthermore, a share of the revenue will be given to roads and schools, making our state dependent on a dangerous, wasteful addiction. They passed 68 – 40 on the first two and 73 – 36 on the third.
554 & 556 6/12/18 HB 5908 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate on House Bill 5908, which I voted for previously, to provide $12 million in Fire Protection Grants. The bill would have revised the distribution method for Tier 3 personal property tax payments to incorporate a population-based formula, but the Senate removed this. It passed 108 – 1 and then 96 -13 on a re-vote.
555 6/12/18 HB 5811 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5811, which would allow for Internet-based notarization. The Senate pushed the implementation deadline back by two months. Concurrence passed 106 – 3.
557 6/12/18 HB 4069 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate on House Bill 4069, which I voted for previously, to lower the number of required credits need for someone to teach as a substitute. The Senate added that a substitute in grades 9 – 12 must be at least 22 years of age. Concurrence passed 63 -46.
558 6/12/18 HB 5095 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5095, which I voted for previously, to adopt the federal regulations for ballast water exchange on oceangoing vessels. The Senate version would require these vessels take additional steps beyond conducting a ballast water exchange more than 200 miles from a shoreline to receive a permit to operate in the Great Lakes by meeting either the federal or state water management requirements. It also requires additional safety measures. Concurrence passed 56 – 52.
559 Initated legislation I voted no on the “citizen-initiated” petition to outlaw low-income jobs, which will obviously result in the lowest-income workers losing their jobs. Intended to criminalize unskilled labor competing with skilled labor, the legislation will inevitably result in lost manufacturing jobs, although the restaurant industry will be hit the hardest. The worst aspect is that tipped restaurant servers will now be forced to be paid the “minimum wage,” meaning thousands of them will lose their jobs, individually and as whole restaurants are shuttered.
I am sympathetic to the argument made by many of my colleagues that passing this legislation was necessary to allow for it to be rolled back by future legislation, which would be unconstitutional if it otherwise went to the ballot and was adopted by the general public. However, there are too many hypothetical outcomes here to justify my voting on a fundamentally immoral and harmful policy. It passed 78-28.
See also my comment in the Detroit News: https://www.detroitnews.com/…/opinion-dont-outla…/668567002/
560 5-Sep Initated legislation Passage I voted no on the “citizen-initiated” proposal to require employers provide paid sick leave time to employees. Employee compensation is a function of supply and demand, and paid leave is essentially a form of compensation, as is wages. So by mandating sick leave, we’re essentially mandating lower wages. Combined with the proposal to create a price floor on labor, we’re outlawing more jobs in addition to lowering wages. The government has no business dictating the terms of a voluntary employer-employee compensation agreement.
Again, I’m sympathetic to the argument that this allows the legislation to amend the proposal later, but not persuaded that this justifies supporting a fundamentally immoral and harmful policy. It passed 78-28.
561 5-Sep 5084 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5084, to remove outdated references to county auditors that no longer exist. The Senate removed a duplicative enacting clause. Concurrence passed 105 – 1.
562 5-Sep 5926 Passage I voted for House Bill 5926, which would revise details of a certificate of employability authorized for prisoners being released that have behaved well in prison, got counseling, earned a GED, and met other criteria. The bill would repeal a four year validity period specified on the certificates, and make them valid unless revoked. It would also revise the requirement that a prisoner complete a career and technical course, allowing this condition to be met by getting either getting a college associate degree while in prison or completing 36 credit hours of college courses in prison. It passed unanimously.
563 – 565 5-Sep 5640, 5641, 5643 Passage I voted no on House Bills 5640, 5641, and 5643, which would expand the definition of “train” in railroad law to include other on-track equipment and extend trains’ liability exemptions to this equipment. I just don’t like having to regulate the tiniest minutia, and I don’t know that defining a train to mean all on-track equipment won’t have any unforeseen consequences. I was the only no vote on these bills.
566 5-Sep 5950 Passage I voted no on House Bill 5950, which would allow a township board, by a vote of two members, to compel attendance of township officers at board meetings, and those that failed to attend would be guilty of misconduct in office. It could set bad precedent that a minority of board members could compel others under threat of prosecution to attend meetings and the potential for abuse is substantial. It passed 59 – 47.
567 5-Sep 5866 Passage I voted for House Bill 5866, which would facilitate the sale of non-game fish (eg bottom-feeders like carp) taken under a special permit. Among other tweaks, it would remove the requirement that the DNR be present during the taking of the fish. It passed 95 – 11.
568 5-Sep 5376 Passage I voted no on House Bill 5376, which would order the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to establish advisory committees for the various sections of the state building code (plumbing, electrical and mechanical). I don’t see why we need yet more government advisory panels to come up with recommendations for more rules. It passed 61 – 45.
569 25-Sep 5836 Passage I voted for House Bill 5836, which would allow boaters’ safety certificates to be displayed electronically instead of on paper. This is a basic update for technology. It passed unanimously.
570 25-Sep 5988 Passage I voted for House Bill 5988, which would allow someone ticketed for failing to produce a boater’s safety certificate to have the fine and cost waived if an electronic copy is produced before the appearance date. This makes it a “fix it ticket” for not having the documentation handy. It passed unanimously.
571 25-Sep 5989 Passage I voted for House Bill 5989, which would have the DNR develop the means for displaying boater’s safety certificates electronically. This will make it easier to go paperless. It passed unanimously.
572 25-Sep 5647 Passage I voted for House Bill 5647, which would allow the use of a handheld dental X-ray system, with a few basic safety rules. Dental clinics should have the freedom to use whatever device they believe works best for their patient’s treatment and care. It passed 105 – 1.
573 26-Sep HCR 26 Adoption I voted for House Concurrent Resolution 26, which would allow counties to receive and spend Secondary Road Patrol grant funds this fiscal year without meeting the “maintenance of effort” standard specified in law. This would prevent cuts in secondary road patrol funding in Wayne, Branch, Iosco, and Otsego Counties. This has been passed in previous years to prevent these cuts. It passed unanimously.
574 & 575 26-Sep 5548 & 5549 Passage I voted for House Bills 5548 and 5549, which would allow for online voter registration. Voters would need to submit verification information including the last 4 digits of their Social Security Numbers and the hair and eye color information on their state IDs. This will making it easier to register to vote without visiting the local clerk of Secretary of State office. They passed unanimously.
576 26-Sep 5542 Passage I voted for House Bill 5542, which would eliminate a requirement that police officers take “security” money from non-resident drivers for traffic violations when they are ticketed. It’s not appropriate that police officers demand immediate payment upon issuing a ticket when the driver should still be presumed innocent. It passed 106 – 1.
577 & 578 26-Sep 6011 & 6012 Passage I voted no on House Bills 6011 and 6012, which would enter Michigan into a national driver license compact, allow other states to have access to Michigan drivers license information, and require the Secretary of State to notify the home state of an out-of-state driver receiving a citation within 6 months. Michigan law exists to protect and benefit the people of Michigan, not other states or their residents. We already have collections remedies for receiving payments for tickets on out-of-state drivers and other states have the same; I don’t support dedicating state resources toward issues between non-residents and their state governments. They passed 105 – 2.
579 26-Sep 477 Passage I voted for Senate Bill 477, which would expand the types of vehicles you must move over and/or slow down for, including trash vehicles, road maintenance and utility vehicles, and surveyors. However, it also reduces the penalty for not doing so from a 4-point $500 misdemeanor to a 2-point $400 civil infraction. It passed unanimously.
580 26-Sep 4734 Passage I voted for House Bill 4734, which would make small changes to election law, including giving canvassers an extra day to meet after the election and require the board of county canvassers disclose the number of out-of-balance precincts that were not reconciled during the county canvass process. It passed unanimously.
581 – 583 26-Sep 5992, 6107, 6108 Passage I voted for House Bills 5992, 6107, and 6108 which would make election forgery – knowingly filing a false document or with false signatures – illegal. It would make signing a petition with multiple names a felony, and a misdemeanor to falsely sign a petition as a circulator, or with someone else’s name. These are all attempts to tamper with our democratic process and should be illegal. They passed 105 – 2, 94 – 13, and 93 – 14.
584 2-Oct 4668 Concurrence I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4668, a bill I voted against previously. The original bill expanded the statutorily-created Grape & Wine Council to be the “Craft beverage Council” and expand its scope to include craft beer. I didn’t support that, and the Senate added a provision to make it illegal to sell marijuana-infused alcohol. Concurrence passed 101 – 4.
585 2-Oct 4887 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4887, which would include additional holding requirements on pawn shops for property that law enforcement believes is stolen. The Senate would raise the allowable monthly fee that pawnbrokers can charge from $1 to $3. Concurrence passed unanimously.
586 2-Oct 5181 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5181, which I voted for previously, to give secured parties the ability to contest the reasonableness of towing and storage fees for abandoned vehicles. The Senate attached a limit to storage facility liability when a vehicle is redeemed and would allow them to charge a fee of up to $75 to inspect a vehicle and $25 for subsquent inspections. These small changes were OK by me. Concurrence passed 102 – 4.
587 3-Oct 5402 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5402, which I voted for previously, to allow recorded forensic interviews of children be used for training purposes in counties other than where they occurred, if authorized by that county’s prosecutor. The Senate added language makeing the Department of Health and Human Services the cusodian of a videorecorded statement. Concurrence passed 104 – 2.
588 3-Oct 5766 Concurrence I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 588, which I voted for previously, to allow private snow plows use rotating amber lights between jobs and allow wider plows to be used. The Senate made various tweaks, such as allowing road maintenance vehicles use green flashing lights and diverting a $1 fee for the placement or discharge of a vehicle lien to the Transportation administration collection fund starting next year. Concurrence passed 102 – 4.
589 3-Oct 5902 Concurrence I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5902, which I voted against previously, to give one company a lower rate on energy than everyone else. This was a special interest carve-out. Everyone in Michigan deserves lower energy rates, but because we have monopolies on energy by law, our rates are the highest in the Midwest. It’s not fair that one company would get a special rate when nobody else does. The Senate amendment was technical and insubstantial. Concurrence passed 78 – 28.
590 3-Oct 6052 Passage I voted no on House Bill 6052, which would require the department of corporate welfare to have an “outside expert” compare and evaluate the relative effectiveness of the state’s various corporate welfare schemes. At best it compares the programs to other spending and other programs. And that’s not the right question to ask. That’s easy to game if you want to make the spending look good or bad. The right question to ask is whether the economy comes out ahead given the costs. That is an attempt to decipher the effects that the program has on the economic data published by the BEA and BLS, not whatever numbers the state generates. I attempted to amend this bill in committee to make the study transparent so taxpayers could find out how it would be conducted, and to include an actual cost-benefit analysis for each of the corporate welfare schemes versus letting taxpayers keep their own money. My amendments were opposed, of course, by the “stakeholder” – the MEDC, which wants the report to be a whitewash, which it will be. It passed 104 – 3.
591 – 596 3-Oct 6016-6019, 6022, 6023 Passage I voted for House Bills 6016 – 6019, 6022, and 6023, which would changes various laws relating to HIV such as updating definitions, testing, and patient consent. It removes references to an outdated test, removes a requirement that local health departments only maintain HIV case information for 90 days, removes requirements that doctors provide educational materials when administering tests, and other minor changes. They all passed unanimously.
597 – 601 3-Oct 425-429 Passage I voted for Senate Bills 425 – 429, which would implement online voter registration. We passed a similar measure last week. They passed unanimously.
602 3-Oct 4224 Passage I voted for House Bill 4224, which would decriminalize ticket reselling. A venue would still be permitted to forbid it as a term of sale, but this gives sellers and purchasers more freedom and “voluntary trade is the paradigm case of mutually beneficial action.” Check out the ticket scalper chapter in Block’s classic “Defending the Undefendable.” https://mises.org/library/defending-undefendable It passed 71 – 36.
603 3-Oct 4602 Passage I voted for House Bill 4602, which would prohibit the state “Rainy Day Fund” from being spent when the state’s annual growth rate is non-negative. In other words, it can only be used if it is really needed. It’s critical to protect the state’s “savings account” from potentially being looted by a future governor or legislature. It passed 72 – 35.
604 3-Oct 6379 Passage I voted for House Bill 6379, which would allow a retired legislative employee to keep collecting his or her pension during a period of re-employment. Reportedly the Legislative Services Bureau — the people that write our bills — has had a wave of people recently retire and they urgently need experienced drafters to help author bills. The retired drafters wouldn’t come back if they had to forfeit their pensions. It passed 103 – 4.
605 3-Oct 6090 Passage I voted for House Bill 6090, which would give counties more flexibility to review and adjust rates, charges, and assessments to make them “just and equitable.” The board must meet within 60 days of a written request from an agency. It passed unanimously.
606 – 609 3-Oct 6187, 6199 – 6201 Passage I voted for House Bills 6187, 6199, 6200, and 6201, which would strengthen safety standards in the Straits of Mackinac. They would require the DNR install markers, buoys, and signage designating “no anchor” zones and make it illegal to knowingly drop anchor in a no-anchor zone, require state review and approval of oil spill response plans for oil and gas pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac, require immediate reporting of spills, and raise maximum fines for certain releases that potentially could cause significant harm. They passed 107 – 0, 105 – 2, 106 – 1, and 105 – 2 respectively.
610 3-Oct 6398 Passage I voted for House Bill 6398, to expand whistleblower protection to cover the state’s no-anchor zone violations. This is to protect the pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac from being damaged. It passed unanimously.
611 – 614 3-Oct 6110 – 6113 Passage I voted for House Bills 6110 – 6113, which would make it more difficult for an occupational license application to be denied because the applicant lacks “good moral character,” which due to vagueness in law, in practice often acts to ban individuals with any criminal record. The process lacks transparency, predictability and consistency, making it hard for workers to determine if their past conviction may be disqualifying for a certain profession. People with criminal records might take on a substantial risk if they invest their time and money to train and meet the required educational parameters for an occupation, only to be barred in the licensing process. These bills would prohibit a licensing board from using a civil judgment against someone (as opposed to a criminal judgment) as evidence of a lack of moral character and require the board only consider criminal history if it includes a felony codified as a disqualifying offense with a specific negative effect on his or her ability to perform the job duties and the specific offense is substantially related to the state’s interest in protecting the public safety. Occupational licensure, wherein one requires a license to do a job, is the most restrictive means to prohibit someone from having a job, so this high bar to preclusion is justified. They passed 106 – 1.
615 3-Oct 6381 Passage I voted for House Bill 6381, which would require the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to report the number of application that its licensing agencies deny on account of the applicants not possessing “good moral character” and report the particular criminal offenses that resulted in that determination. This is important information to understand how our occupational licensing laws prevent those with criminal histories from obtaining work. It passed unanimously.
616 – 618 3-Oct 6058 – 6060 Passage I voted for House Bills 6058 – 6060, which would allow people to apply to a state department for a preliminary determination whether they meet the “good moral character” criteria to obtain an occupational license. This would allow them to learn whether their criminal record disqualifies them from obtaining a license before they spend time and money on education in that profession. People have a right to know whether or not the state would prohibit them from obtaining a job. They passed unanimously.
619 4-Oct 4998 Passage I voted for House Bill 4998, which adds railroad police to the definition of “peace officer,” thus making it a crime to impersonate them. The definition already includes other non-traditional police officers (eg parks and recreation officer) so it makes sense to also include railroad police in this definition. It passed unanimously.
620 4-Oct 5913 Passage I voted for House Bill 5913, which would make veterans’ organizations exempt from the sales tax. The law already allows this for other non-profits, including education institutions, charities, and even political non-profits. Veterans’ organizations should have the same exemption. It passed 96 – 10.
621 4-Oct 6064 Passage I voted no on House Bill 6064, which would create a “Rural Development Fund Program” financed 50-50 with private contributions and taxpayer money. I don’t support taxpayer money artificially encouraging investment in specific areas. It passed 81 – 25.
622 – 624 4-Oct 6330 Passage I voted for House Bills 6330, 6331, and 6380, which would create a regulatory structure for growing and processing industrial hemp. It is anticipated that the federal government will soon allow states to grow hemp if they have a regulatory structure in place. This legislation was modeled after the minimally restrictive legislation used in Kentucky. Hemp is a valuable agricultural commodity and its cultivation would bring more jobs to our state. They passed 105 – 1.
625 4-Oct 901 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 901, which would update the definition of podiatric medicine to reflect current standard practices. Doctors shouldn’t be exposed to the risk of inadvertently breaking the law performing their job. It passed unanimously.
626 4-Oct 6348 Passage  Yes I voted for House Bill 6348, which would revise the distribution method for excess personal property tax payments to include a population-based formula. Excess PPT collections have been much higher than anticipated when the recent changes to it were enacted. This will ensure funds are distributed on an equitable basis that considers current funding levels and population. It passed 102 – 4.
627 11/8/18 4700 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 4700, which would have elections for precinct delegate certified by the county or local canvassing boards like other races rather than uniquely by precinct boards. It also removes the provision that allows for voting for precinct delegate write-in candidates by gluing slips onto the ballot. Election procedures should be consistent and these lowest-level races don’t merit special procedures. It passed unanimously.
628 11/8/18 963 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bill 963, which would name a portion of M-13 in Kawkawlin Township after PFC Alan Robert Blohm, who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2006 at age 21. It passed unanimously.
629 11/8/18 5697 Passage No I voted no on House Bill 5697, which would extend the expiration date on job training subsidies to some employers. Under the program, community colleges can borrow up to $50 million to provide job training for particular employers, and then the employers’ future state income tax is money earmarked to repay back the debt. It’s not fair that particular employers get these taxpayer subsidies while everyone else pays. It passed 106 – 2.
630 11/8/18 6379 Concurrence Yes I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 6379, which would retired bill drafters to return to work temporarily without forfeiting their pensions. The Senate required this be reported to the Office of Retirement Services to ensure that ORS will continue to pay a pension in this case. Concurrence passed 106 – 2.
631 11/27/18 6103 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 6103, to repeal a requirement that vehicle lights that aren’t permitted by law must be covered up. Covers aren’t made and sold for this purpose. It’s sufficient (and would still be required) that the lights are simply not used. It passed 107 – 1.
632 11/27/18 6123 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 6123, which updates the membership and duties of the Water Use Advisory Council. The council would make various recommendations to the DEQ, MDARD, DNR, and the Legislature on strategies for collection, verification, and use of data, improvements to the water withdrawal assessment tool, and new research and methods to improve the DEQ’s ability to implement the assessment tool. It passed unanimously.
633 – 636 11/27/18 6374 – 6377 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 6374 – 6377, which would make various updates to the Drain Code to create consistency in the processes for county and inter-county drains. This was the result of a grant that created a manual with updated procedures and information for drain commissioners related to the inter-county drain processes. Making procedures consistent would make it easier for drain commissioners to carry out their responsibilities and improve compliance. They passed unanimously.
637 – 641 11/27/18 664, 996 – 999 Passage Yes I voted for Senate Bills 664 and 996 – 999, which would amend various laws to allow for the electronic notarization of documents. This would streamline the process and the bills contained security provisions. They passed unanimously.
642 5765 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5765, which would create a pilot program to allow the Secretary of State to decide whether individuals that kill or maim someone in an accident may have a suspended, restricted, or unrestricted license. Under current law there is a mandatory 1-year license suspension. This would give the Secretary of State the flexibility to decide who could or could not drive. The program would expire at the end of May 2019. It passed 89 – 20.
643 11/28/18 465 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bill 465, which would allow architects and other designers to place a lien on property prior to any actual physical improvements being performed. They are already covered by contract law and liens are a tool intended for reclaiming property that hasn’t been paid for, not using the property as a collection instrument. It passed 105 – 4.
644-646 11/28/18 6129-6131 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 6129-6131, which would create a framework to allow “separate trustee provisions,” which would provide trustees with separate fiduciary responsibilities within a trust. This is based on the American Bar Association’s model legislation to address the rise of directed trusts by offering a simple framework for allocating fiduciary power and duty between a trust director and trustee. They passed unanimously.
648 & 648 11/28/18 637, 894 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bills 637 and 894, which would establish standard fees and approval timelines for small cell wireless facilities mounted on publicly-owned poles and structures in public rights-of-way. This is said to accelerate the deployment of 5G cellular technology, however, it’s not clear to me that establishing a flat rate structure across the entire state is compensating all local governments for their fair value. 5G technology is new and it is difficult to predict the future maintenance costs. I am concerned that local governments may be left to pick up the tab for the cost of the 5G transition. They passed 74-35 and 77 – 32.
649 11/28/18 6122 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 6122, which would increase the allowable moisture content of soil removed from sugar beets in processing from 36 percent to 55 before it is considered solid waste. The requirement of soil drying has not produced the environmental benefits it hoped for. The bill passed unanimously.
650-651 11/29/18 5362 & 5398 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5362 and 5398, which would establish more consistent rules for certificates of trust. We currently have two different sets of rules, one for real estate transaction and another for non-real estate assets. Harmonizing the system would simplify the process and reduce confusion. It would require the date of operate trusts be included on the certificate and make a number of similar technical changes. They passed 108 – 1 and 105 – 4.
652 11/29/18 5098 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 5098, which would prohibit permit fees from being charged for the relocation of telecommunication lines. The telecoms already paid these fees when they first laid the lines, and they shouldn’t be forced to pay for permits they didn’t request. It’s a double charge since the original charge for the permits pay for the inspection and maintenance costs. It passed 84 – 29.
653 11/29/18 6324 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 6324, which would update the School Code to reflect changes in the School Aid Act regarding Michigan Virtual University and Michigan Virtual High School. This was a technical correction to reflect an Auditor General report to update the law to reflect that the MVHS is now just Michigan Virtual School and serves middle school as well as high school students, that it does not have the ability to grant diplomas independently, and that it is a supplemental course provider, not a dual-enrollment school. The bill passed 106 – 3.
654 & 655 11/29/18 511 & 512 Passage No I voted no on Senate Bills 511 and 512, which would give an income tax exemption if the income is contributed to a specialty savings account for home purchases by those that have not bought or owned a home in the past 3 years (which the bill calls a “first time home buyer”). Sorry, people who rent or already own a home–no tax credits for you. I don’t support this type of selective tax treatment. They passed 90 – 19 and 89 – 20.
656 & 657 11/29/18 5916 & 5917 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 5916 and 5917, which would put a more strict and comprehensive regulation on pet stores to protect animals and adopters. They establish statewide buying and licensing standards and eliminate the ability of unregulated breeders (“puppy mills”) to sell to pet stores in Michigan, creating strong, enforceable statewide standards to put animal welfare first. They would preempt local governments from imposing further restrictions (other than local zoning ordinances) to discourage animal sales from being driven toward the Internet where there are few animal protections. Thank you to our resident veterinarian, Rep. Vaupel, for his leadership on these bills. They passed 57 – 52 and 56 – 52.
658 & 659 11/29/18 6419 & 6420 Passage Yes I voted for House Bills 6419 and 6420, which would legalize and regulate fantasy sports contests. Fantasy sports has become a big business in need of consumer protection and clarification on its legal status. They passed 87 – 22 and 85 – 24.
660 11/29/18 6397 Passage Yes I voted for House Bill 6397, which would allow the Legislative Corrections Ombudsman (an investigative agency within the Legislature to oversee the corrections system) to investigate facility security and interview certain people. It also removes the requirement that only a prisoner may file a complaint, and adds certain confidentiality protections. It passed unanimously.