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Rep. John Reilly – 2018 Vote Explanations
RELEASE|September 3, 2020
Contact: John Reilly
Roll callDateBill no.Explanation
15313-MarHB4811I 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.
15413-MarHB 4643I 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.
15513-MarHB 4084I 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.
15613-MarHB 5394I 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.
15713-MarSB 589I voted no on Senate Billl 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.
158-16113-MarSB 590-593I 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
16213-MarHB 5609I 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.
16314-MarHB 5430I 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.
16414-MarHB 5536I 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.
16514-MarHB 5591I 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.
16614-MarHB 5618I 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.
16715-MarHB 5180I 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.
16815-MarSB 662I 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.
16915-MarHB 5278I 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.
17015-MarHB 5644I 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.
17115-MarHB 5646I 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.
17215-MarHB 5669I 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.
17315-MarHB 5678I 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.
17420-MarHB4360I 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.
20-MarSB 623I voted no on Senate Bill 623, which would extend a certain “renaissance zone” in Saginaw. I don’t support corporate welfare and special treatment for government-selected projects, so I don’t support extending them.
20-MarHB5230 & 5231I voted for House Bills 5230 and 5230, 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 stopped, 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.
20-MarHB5652 & 5653I 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.
20-MarSB712I 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.
20-MarSB727I 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.
20-MarSB801I voted no on Senate Bill 801, to make Tianeptine Sodium as 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. I don’t support banning drugs and throwing people in jail for buying them.
20-MarHB4106 & 5676I 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 not be punished for doing so.
20-MarHB5456I 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.
20-MarHB5017 & 5018I 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 special about the Internet being one possible medium for these crimes. We don’t need to put another crime on the books, and given the widespread political censorship occuring on social media it’s likely this law will encourage attacks on people’s First Amendment rights.
20-MarHB5152 & 5153I voted no on House Bills 5152 and 5153, which would allow patients, guardians, and advocates place patients on a “do not prescribe” list banning doctors from prescribing them opioids.
17521-MarHB4922I 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 & 18021-MarHB4360I 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.
17721-MarSB623I 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 & 18121-MarHB5230 & 5231I 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 & 18321-MarHB5652 & 5653I 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.
18421-MarHB4198I 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.
18521-MarHB4265I 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.
18621-MarSB712I 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.

189 & 19021-MarHB4106 & 5676I 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 & 19322-MarHB5017 & 5018I 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.
19222-MarHB 5257I 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 & 19522-MarHB5152 & 5153I 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.
197 & 19822-MarHB5620 & 5621I 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.
19922-MarHB5283I 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.
20122-MarHB5626I 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.
20222-MarHB5090I 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 – 20522-MarHB5335, 5406, & 5408I 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.
20622-MarHB5494I voted for House Bill 5494, which would make drone use considered an “extension of the individual” with 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 & 20822-MarHB5495 & 5498I 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 interepreted broadly to mean any annoyance. They passed 104 – 5 and 102 – 7 respectively.
20922-MarHB5496I 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.
21022-MarHB5497I 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.
21122-MarHB5678I 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.
212-21311-AprHB5508-5509I 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’ assocations, so they should have the same classification and be considered nonprofits. They passed 108 to 1.
21411-AprHB4522I 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.
21511-AprSB521I 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.
21611-AprSB809I 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, 21811-AprHB4561, 4564I 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, 22012-AprHB4562, 4563I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 4562 and 4563, which I voted for previously. The amendments are only technical changes: the Agricultual 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.
221-22512-AprSB810-814I 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.
22612-AprHB4971I 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.
22712-AprHB4891I 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.
22817-AprSB841I 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.
22917-AprHB5321I 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.
23018-AprSB290I 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.
23118-AprHB4115I 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.
232-23419-AprHB5644, 5646, 5669I 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.
235-23619-AprHB5686 & 5687I 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.
23724-AprHB4628I 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.
23824-AprHB4945I 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.
23924-AprHB5085I 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.
240-24324-AprHB5726 – 5729I 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.
244-24524-AprHB5578 & 5579I 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.
246-25025-AprHB5664, 5673, 4828, 5782, 618I 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 by private sources, so there is no cost to taxpayers. They all passed unanimously.
25125-AprHB5181I 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.
25226-AprHB4422I 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.
25326-AprHB5530I 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.
25426-AprHB4916I 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.
28015-MayHB551I 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.
28115-MayHB5407I 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.
28215-MayHB5749I 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.
28315-MaySB568I 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.
28415-MayHB5645I voted or 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, 28615-MaySB840 & 881I voted for Senate Bills 840 and 881, which would clarify that 5-acre waste treatment facilities are not lakes and do not require permit renwals. 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.
28715-MaySB647I 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 – 29515-MaySB851, 853, 854, 856, 857, 859, 862, 863I 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 – 30315-MayHB5561, 5562, 5567, 5568, 5570, 5572, 5574, 5575I 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, 30515-MaySB839I 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.
30615-MayHB5901I 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.
30715-MayHB5908I 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.
28015-MaySB551I 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.
28115-MayHB5407I 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.
28215-MayHB5749I 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.
28315-MaySB568I 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.
28415-MayHB5645I voted or 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, 28615-MaySB840 & 881I voted for Senate Bills 840 and 881, which would clarify that 5-acre waste treatment facilities are not lakes and do not require permit renwals. 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.
28715-MaySB647I 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 – 29515-MaySB851, 853, 854, 856, 857, 859, 862, 863I 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 – 30315-MayHB5561, 5562, 5567, 5568, 5570, 5572, 5574, 5575I 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, 30515-MaySB839I 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.
30615-MayHB5901I 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.
30715-MayHB5908I 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.
30815-MayHB5934I 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.
30915-MaySB848I 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, 31115-MayHB5738I 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 – 31415-MayHB5761 – 5763I 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.
31515-MayHB5769I 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.
31616-MayHB5775I 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 – 32116-MayHB5884 – 5888I 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 – 32516-MayHB5892 – 5895I 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.
32616-MayHB5805I 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.
32716-MayHB5811I 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 suffiicently 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, 32916-MayHB5325 and 5270I 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.
33016-MaySB883I 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 – 33416-MayHB5750, 5751, 5753, 5754I 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.
33517-MayHB5782I 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.
33617-MayHB5411I 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.
33717-MayHB4679I 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:
34622-MayHB5093I 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.
34722-MayHB5235I 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, 34922-MayHB5620, 5621I 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 – 35922-MaySB731 – 740I 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 – 36222-MaySB652 – 654I 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 – 37123-MayHB5561, 5562, 5567, 5568, 5570, 5572, 5574, 5575, 5579I 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.
37223-MayHB4475I 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.
37323-MayHB5890I voted yes on HB 5890, which updates commnication 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.
37423-MayHB5990I 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.
37523-MayHB5993I 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 – 38923-MayHB5995I 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.
39023-MayHB5985I 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.
39124-MaySB871I 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.
39224-MaySB872I 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 – 39524-MayHB5793, 5783, 5784I 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 – 39924-MayHB5787-5790I 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 – 40224-MayHB5794, 5660, 5661I 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 – 40424-MayHB5537, 5982I 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.
40524-MayHB5658I voted for House Bill 5658, which would make evidence that a defendant committeed 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.
40624-MayHB5796I 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.
40724-MayHB5791I 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.
40824-MayHB5539I 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.
40924-MayHB5799I 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, 41324-MayI 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.
41124-MayHB5796I 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.
41424-MayHB5797I 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.
41524-MayHB5795I 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.
41624-MayHB5792I 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.
41724-MayHB6043I 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.
41829-MayHB5093I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4574, which I voted for previously, to make a minor clarification on handicapped parking tags. The Senate version would also prohibit the Secretary of State from issuing a permanent tag to someone that hasn’t provided proof of residency in Michigan. Concurrence passed unanimously.
41929-MayHB4643I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4643, which I voted for previously, to revise a detail on State Real Estate Transfer Tax refunds. The Senate version would allow someone to claim a refund prior to the enactment date even if they previously claimed a refund but were denied. Concurrence passed 95 – 13.
42029-MayHB5729I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5729, which I voted for previously, to ban pyramid schemes. The Senate added language to clarify that the Consumer Protection Act applies to all types of commerce both legal and illegal. Concurrence passed 89 – 19.
42129-MayHB5606I voted for House Bill 5606, would would allow wineries, distilleries, and brewers to sell or provide non-alcoholic beverages for consumption on or off their premises. Currently, winemakers are not allowed to sell nonalcoholic beverages, including bottled water, which is unreasonable. It passed unanimously.
42229-MayHB5719I voted for House Bill 5719, which would allow for towns with a population of under 1,000 residents to have one “specialty designated merchant” liquor license (for grocery stores or gas stations to selling alcohol). Currently the Liquor Control Commission may only issue one SDM license per 1,000 residents, so those with less than 1,000 residents get zero, which is unreasonable. It passed 103 – 5.
42329-MayHB5725I voted for House Bill 5725, to designate a portion of M-5 as the Staff Sergeant Duane J. Dreasky Memorial Highway, who was killed by an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq. Memorial highway signage must be funded privately, so there is no cost to taxpayers. It passed unanimously.
42429-MayHB5800I voted for House Bill 5800, which would prohibit a school from suspending for 10 days or expelling a victim of sexual assault for an action the victim took arising out of the incident of the assault. Victims should not be punished for defending thems or reporting the incident to the school administration and removing the fear of punishment may encourage victims to come forward. It passed 98 – 10.
425 – 42729-MaySB992 – 994I vote for Senate Bills 992 – 994, which repeal the Health Insurance Claims Assessment, which was not compliant with federal guidelines a replace it with an Insurance Provider assessment. This was needed to ensure the continuing of federal matching funds for our Medicaid program. They passed 107 – 1.
42830-MayHB5355I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5355, which I voted for previously, to use the level dollar methord for paying off unfunded liabilities. The Senate essentially delayed its implementation by a year, presumably to give the Treasury department time to implement the change. Concurrence passed unanimously.
42930-MayHB1012I voted for Senate Bill 1012, which updates prescribed ballot language to say “darken the box” or “darken the oval” instead of “complete the arrow” to reflect the newer ballots, and edits language on primary ballots to reflect that not just the two major parties may now be on the primary ballot (the Libertarian Party having received enough ballots in 2016 to qualify). It passed unanimously.
43030-MayHB5254I voted no on House Bill 5254, which would require the state and local governments mandate background checks and fingerprints for public employees with access to federal tax information. It’s not our job to police this; the federal government can pass its own rules for handling its information and the governor and local governments don’t need our policing on this. It passed 103 – 4.
43130-MayHB5622I voted for my bill, House Bill 5622, which would designate the portion of M-15 in Ortonville as the Purple Heart Trail. Ortonville VFW Post 582 dedicated Ortonville as a Purple Heart Community in 2016. Thanks and salute to Dennis Hoffman for testifying in support of the bill, which passed unanimously.
43230-MayHB4495I voted no on House Bill 4495, which would create vehicle fund-raising license plates for five specific private charities in Michigan. It’s not fair that only certain named charities have special access to fund-raising license plates. It passed 101 – 6.
43330-MayHB5739I voted no on House Bill 5739, which would provide an income tax checkoff for donations to the Kiwanis fund. It’s not fair that only this particular charity should get special treatment. The law should apply equally to all. It passed 101 – 6.
43430-MayHB5740I voted no on House Bill 5740, which would create the Kiwanis Fund Act, which even by its title is obviously specific to one particular private organization. It’s not fair that only one organization receive special treatment. It passed 99 – 8.
43530-MayHB5377I voted no on House Bill 5377, which would require parole boards to parole everyone after having served the minimum sentence unless there is a compelling not to, limited to a few specifically mentioned things, e.g. the prisoner refuses to participate in programming order by the Department of Corrections. I understand the need for prison reform but this goes way too far to limit a parole board’s discretion. It conflicts with MCL 791.233 which requires that the board find that the prisoner will not become a menace to society. In doing so the board assesses the mental and social attitude, which is subjective. Also, there are restrictions to denying parole for a prisoner not completing programming. This could result in a prisoner being released where the Department of Corrections failed to staff such programming. Parole first and foremost has a duty to put the public first, not the prisoner. It passed 97 – 10.
43630-MayHB5810I voted for House Bill 5810, which would revise various details of our assisted outpatient treatment law. This is for those under court orders for treatment for severe mental illness. The law has only been widely used since 2014, and these were mainly technical corrections, such as the definition of an emergency situation. It would require court orders for protective custody for a person requiring treatment be executed within 10 days, or that the responsible law enforcement agency report to the court the reason for the delay, and reduce the number of specified licensed professionals required to attest to the need for assisted outpatient treatment from 2 to 1. These changes all seemed reasonable, and it passed 104 – 3.
437 & 43830-MayHB5818 & 5819I voted for House Bills 5818 and 5819 which would allow a guardian to consent to mental health treatment for a ward, not including inpatient hospitalization. If a ward objects or refuses treatment the guardian would have to petition the court to obtain an order, so this does not give a ward final authority. They should be permitted to consent if the ward does not object. They passed 105 – 2.
43930-MayHB5820I voted for House Bill 5820, which made technical updates to procedures for judicial admissions as judicial admission facilities were eliminated several years ago. The bill was technical in nature, inoperative, and passed unanimously.
44030-MayHB5199I voted for House Bill 5199, which would require an expedited canvass occur in the event of a very close presidential election. The intent is to ensure that a canvass is not politicized and the Secretary of State cannot hold up a recount, which could cause problems with the Electoral College. It passed unanimously.
44130-MayHB5907I voted no on House Bill 5907, which would mandate schools notify their students of opportunities to take AP and IB programs (college-level courses and standardized tests). I don’t support mandates like this on our schools, or the mandated promotion of standardized tests. Teachers and guidance counselors don’t need Lansing to tell them what they should promote to their students. It passed 105 – 2.
442 – 44630-MayHB4745 & 4747 – 4750I voted for House bills 4745 and 4747 through 4750, which would allow candidates for township office and county road commission to file by paying a filing fee rather than collecting signatures, and make filing fees for those offices and those for state represenative, state senate, and county offices nonrefundable. This creates fairness and consistency in candidate filing. Managing and overseeing elections costs communities money and it doesn’t make sense to refund the filing fees of the top two candidates but not the others. They passed by a range of 90 – 17 to 97 – 10.
447 & 4485-JunHB4809 & 4810I voted for House Bills 4809 and 4810, which would make candidate filing fees for county commissioner nonrefundable. Currently the winner and runner-up get their fees refunded, while anyone coming in third place or less does not get a refund. That’s not fair. They passed 90 – 18 and 91 – 17.
4495-JunSB887I voted for Senate Bill 887, which would codify present practice that a person is building real estate using personal property is exempt from the use tax during the construction period. Treasury should not be “double dipping” and making both the customer of the item and the contractor that affixes the item to real property pay the same tax twice. It passed 107 – 1.
4505-JunHB4990I voted for House Bill 4990, which would exempt vehicles owned by nonprofit food pantries and food banks from vehicle registration fees and ensure they only need to renew the license plate every five years. It’s a small gesture but does remove a burden on feeding the hungry. It passed unanimously.
4515-JunHB4185I voted for House Bill 4185, which would require that cars give bicycles three feet when passing. This bill appears to be the same as HB 4265, which I voted for previously, except to remove some duplicative language. It passed 102 – 6.
4525-JunSB330I voted for Senate Bill 330, which would make those with suspended or revoked out-of-state licenses that cause severe injuries in traffic accidents be subject to the same penalty as those with a suspended or revoked Michigan license. It wouldn’t be fair for Michiganders to face a worse punishment for a crime that causes severe injury than someone that does the same thing but doesn’t live in Michigan. It passed 107 – 1.
4535-JunSB816 & 817I voted no on Senate Bills 816 and 817, which would create an income tax check-off for the World War II Legacy Memorial organization. The state should not give specific, named organizations privileges that other charities, including other veterans memorial organizations, could not receive.
4546-JunHB1016I voted for Senate Bill 1016, which would lower the Gross Direct Premiums Tax for health plans from 1.25% to 0.95% for next year. Small businesses would be able to provide health coverage at a lower cost due to the tax reduction.
4556-JunHB5926I voted for House Bill 5926, which would remove the 4-year expiration date on certificates of employability, which are given to qualified parolees. They could still be revoked; this just makes them not expire automatically. To whatever extent these certificates help rehabilitate parolees, they shouldn’t automatically expire for no particular reason.
4566-JunHB5640, 5641, & 5643I voted for House Bills 5640, 41, and 43, which would include on-track equipment in the list of railroad vehicles that those on the road would have to stop for. All vehicles on railroads have right-of-way.
4576-JunInitiative PetitionI voted for the citizen-initiated legislation to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law, which imposes a price floor on construction labor for government contracts, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Money should be spent in classrooms, not paying artificially high prices for constructing the building. It’s fundamentally wrong for the government to meddle in the supply and demand for labor, and it’s wrong for one industry, construction, to be subject to different rules than others. It’s also unfair to those that would earn a living in construction being told they can’t compete with union labor because they aren’t allowed to charge a more competitive rate.
45912-JunSB988I 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.
46012-JunHB1015I 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.
461-47112-JunHB5955-5965I 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.
47212-JunHB5778I 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.
47312-JunSB916I 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.
47412-JunHB6050I 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.
47512-JunSB622I 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.
47612-JunSB459I 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.
47712-JunHB6025I 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 & 47912-JunSB640I 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.
47912-JunSB672I 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 & 49212-JunSB196 & 197I 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 & 48212-JunSB684 & 685I 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.
48312-JunHB5579I 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.
48412-JunSB848I 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.
48512-JunSB888I 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.
48612-JunSB344I 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.
48712-JunSB946I 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 & 48912-JunSB941 & 942I 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.
49012-JunSB175I 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.
49112-JunSB343I 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 & 49412-JunSB757 & 758I 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 – 50612-JunHB1000 – 1011I 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 & 50812-JunSB302 & 303I 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 & 51012-JunHB5854 & 5855I 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 & 51212-JunHB5942 & 5943I 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.
51312-JunHB6028I 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.
51412-JunHB5536I 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.
51512-JunHB5934I 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.
51612-JunHB5985I 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.
51712-JunHB6139I 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.
51812-JunSB915I 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.
51912-JunHB5837I 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.
52012-JunHB5141I 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.
52112-JunSB889I 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.
52212-JunSB226I 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.
52312-JunSB542I 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.
52412-JunSB836I 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.
52512-JunSB178I 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 & 52712-JunHB5889 & 6076I 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 – 53012-JunHB6013 – 6015I 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 & 53212-JunHB5143 & 5680I 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.
53312-JunHB4360I 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.
53412-JunHB5435I 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.
53512-JunHB4115I 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.
53612-JunSB848I 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 fot 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.
53712-JunI 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.
53812-JunI 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.
53912-JunHB4918I 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.
54012-JunSB908I 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.
54112-JunHB1036I 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.
54212-JunHB5145I 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.
54312-JunHB5406I 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.
54412-JunHB5408I 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.
54512-JunHB6004I 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.
54612-JunHB4030I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 4030, which I voted against previously, for the tax checkoff 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.
54712-JunHB4198I 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.
54812-JunHB4265I 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.
54912-JunHB5142I 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.
55012-JunHB5739I 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 – 55312-JunHB4926 – 4928I 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 & 55612-JunHB5908I 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.
55512-JunHB5811I 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.
55712-JunHB4069I 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.
55812-JunHB5095I 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.
5842-OctHB4668I 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.
5852-OctHB4887I 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.
5862-OctHB5181I 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.
5873-OctHB5402I 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.
5883-OctHB5766I 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.
5893-OctHB5902I 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.
5903-OctHB6052I 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 – 5963-OctHB6016-6019, 6022, 6023I 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 – 6013-OctSB425-429I voted for Senate Bills 425 – 429, which would implement online voter registration. We passed a similar measure last week. They passed unanimously.
6023-OctHB4224I 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.
6033-OctHB4602I 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.
6043-OctHB6379I 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.
6053-OctHB6090I 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 – 6093-OctHB6187, 6199 – 6201I 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.
6103-OctHB6398I 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 – 6143-OctHB6110 – 6113I 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.
6153-OctHB6381I 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 – 6183-Oct6058 – 6060I 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.
6194-OctHB4998I 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.
6204-OctHB5913I 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.
6214-OctHB6064I 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 – 6244-OctHB6330I 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.
6254-OctSB901I 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.
6564-OctHB6348I 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.
6278-NovHB4700I 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.
6288-NovSB963I 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.
6298-NovHB5697I 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.
6308-NovHB6379I 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.
63127-NovHB6103I 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.
63227-NovHB6123I 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 – 63627-NovHB6374 – 6377I 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 intercounty drain processes. Making procedures consistent would make it easier for drain commissioners to carry out their responsibilities and improve compliance. They passed unanimously.
637 – 64127-NovSB664, 996 – 999I 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.
642HB5765I 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.
64328-NovSB465I 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.
644-64628-NovHB6129-6131I 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 & 64828-NovSB637, 894I 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.
64928-NovHB6122I 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.
650-65129-NovHB5362 & 5398I 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.
65229-NovHB5098I 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.
65329-NovHB6324I 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 & 65529-NovSB511 & 512I 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 & 65729-NovHB5916 & 5917I 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 & 65929-NovHB6419 & 6420I 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.
66029-NovHB6397I 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.
6614-DecHB5881I voted no on House Bill 5881, which makes various changes to the state casino law, all benefiting the casinos. Among the various provisions, it would provide compensation to Gaming Control Board members of $1,000 plus travel/hotel expenses per meeting attended, reduce ownership disclosure requirements from anyone with a 1% or greater interest to 5% or greater, and remove the requirement that casinos remove “disassociated persons.” It passed 88 – 18.
6624-DecHB6269I voted for House Bill 6269, which would establish a state regulatory structure for coal combustion residuals with minimum standards similar to the federal level, replacing the EPA as the primary regulating agency. It would streamline compliance requirements and enhance reporting. The Department of Environmental Quality would apply to the US EPA to fully implement the coal combustion residuals disposal program as the primary regulator. It passed 103 – 3.
6634-DecHB6056I voted for House Bill 6056, which would create a pilot program allowing military medical personnel to practice under the supervision of a licensed physician. I support reducing barriers to the job market and this will help veterans transition to valuable civilian employment while addressing the state shortage of medical staff. It passed 104 – 2.
6644-DecHB6063I voted no on House Bill 6063, which would prohibit local ordinances restricting signage for veterans or first responders who die in the line of duty. Reportedly this is in response to an issue in Grand Rapids, where a restaurant was cited for having too many signs on its building, and those signs were in honor of fallen members of the military. I don’t think it’s proper for legislation to address free speech issues entirely based on the subject and content of the speech. Whether local ordinances should be allowed to limit the signage on and within a building is a legitimate question but I don’t think it’s right to overrule local authorities specifically on the matter of one particular type of speech, which creates an inconsistent policy and also makes the code that much more complex and cumbersome to follow. it passed 91 – 15.
6654-DecHB5918I voted for House Bill 5918, which would require public employees that resign or are fired for willful and wanton neglect of duty to forfeit their retirement health benefits. Currently, a judge does not have have the ability to revoke these benefits in this situation. Those who betray the public trust and abuse their offices should not get to continue to receive taxpayer-funded benefits. It passed 91 – 15.
6664-DecHB6431I voted for House Bill 6431, which would update Michigan’s Medigap plans to comply with federal requirements. Medigap is a supplemental insurance plan for those eligible for Medicare. A 2015 federal law prohibited the sale of Medigap plans that cover the Part B deductible after the end of next year, and those newly eligible after that would be able to purchase Plan D or G but not C or F. The bill updates state law to fit these federal changes. Insurance companies must set their rates by March so it is important we update our law before then. It passed 107 – 1.
6674-DecHB6403I voted for House Bill 6403, which clarifies that in counties that do not have a formal department of veterans’ affairs, County Veteran Service Fund grants go to the counties to be disbursed for veterans. All counties that meet the requirements should be able to receive this grant money, even if they don’t have a formal department of veterans affairs. It passed unanimously.
668 & 6694-DecHB4134 & 4135I voted for House Bills 4134 and 4135, which would prohibit the State Board of Medicine, Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs from requiring physicians to maintain a national or regional certification on top of their state license requirements. This duplicative occupational licensing demands would only serve to drive up the cost of health care by requiring licensed physicians spend significant additional time obtaining these additional certifications They passed 95 – 13 and 89 – 19.
6704-DecHB6444I voted for House Bill 6444, which would clarify that independent insurance agents are allowed to sell certain types of property and casualty insurance. Currently when an insurance agent secures an “admitted” liability insurance product through a third party insurer, the agent does not have a direct appointment and is consequently in violation of the law. This fixes it and passed 107 – 1.
6714-DecHB6551I voted no on House Bill 6551, which would grant monopolies to providers of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. The legislation actually includes language to justify the monopoly, saying “the Department must exclude from designation an area that is already covered under another PACE program agreement to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and to avoid impairing the financial and service viability of an existing PACE program.” This is like a law saying “the government shall not license a pizza delivery joint in an area already covered by another pizza delivery joint to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and to avoid impairing the financial and service viability of an existing pizza joint.” It passed 105 – 3.
6724-DecHB6432I voted for House Bill 6432, which would allow employees of a health benefit corporation to sell insurance products not directly associated with the corporation. It also would require employees who transact insurance for the corporation to be licensed insurance agents. Currently the law prevents employees of a health benefit corporation from selling other types of insurance. This would allow various types of insurances to be bundled. It passed 107 – 1.
6734-DecHB6378I voted for House Bill 6378, which would create a window for community college employees wrongly excluded from the Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) to apply for benefits. This stemmed from an issue in which Southwestern Michigan College wrongly used the “predominant relationship with the college standard” to determine that student part-time employees were not members of MPSERS. There was a confusion that was corrected in a recent law moving forward but this bill would allow those part-time employees that should have been eligible to receive their benefits. It passed 63 – 45.
6744-DecHB1171I voted for Senate Bill 1171, which would slow the rate at which low-income jobs are criminalized and their workers laid off from 2022 to 2030. The bill also removes the recently-passed requirement that tipped employees be paid the full so-called “minimum wage,” which is a much larger increase and would result in mass layoffs and restaurant closures. Because minimum wage laws act by outlawing voluntary job agreements, lost jobs are the inevitable result, and those most hurt by these laws are those making the least income. Contrary to the fantasy that forcing employers to pay employees more simply causes everyone to make more, in reality it causes companies to raise prices, deny raises they otherwise would have given, and fire any employees they can’t afford. I explain this in more detail in this Detroit News op-ed: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2018/06/04/opinion-dont-outlaw-michigan-jobs/668567002/ The bill passed 60 – 48.
6754-DecHB1175I voted for Senate Bill 1175, which would reduce some of the changes in a recent “citizen-initiated” (paid for by out-of-state special interests) legislation to lower wages by forcing employers to grant employees paid sick time. All employers consider the combined costs of hiring any employees, including paid sick time and benefits. They look at total employee cost, not wage. Mandating paid sick time simply mandates offering paid time off instead of pay. It forces employees to earn lower wages. Combined with outlawing low-income jobs, this forces even more people to be completely jobless. We should completely repeal this anti-worker legislation. It passed 60 – 48.
6765-DecHB5798I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5798, which I voted for previously, to expand the list of those permitted to provide a victim impact statement in a defendant’s sentencing. The Senate amendment was purely technical and it passed unanimously.
677 & 6785-DecHB5505 & 5506I voted for House Bills 5505 and 5506, which would update license requirements for adult foster care homes, removing the burden of licensure from the smallest facilities but having other pay their own background check fees rather than taxpayers. They passed 106 – 2.
6795-DecHB6400I voted for House Bill 6400, which adds small foster care facilities to the Michigan Zone Enabling Act to clarify that these are not subject to special or conditional use permits. It passed 106 – 2.
6805-DecHB5639I voted for House Bill 5639, which would require the Secretary of State issue VIN numbers and titles to assembled vehicles (i.e. kit cars) that meet proper safety requirements. Current law doesn’t allow modified off-road vehicles to be title. People should be permitted to assemble and drive roadworthy cars. It passed 63 – 45.
6815-DecHB5598I voted no on House Bill 5598, which would require teacher preparation institutions to require all full-time faculty complete 30 hours of continuing education per school year. This will raise the cost of teaching preparation, raising the cost of becoming a teacher and making the teacher shortage worse. We already have stringent enough requirements on becoming teachers. It passed 60 – 48.
682, 683, 685, 6865-DecHB5602 – 5605I voted no on House Bills 5602 – 5605, which would require the Department of Education to develop and implement an “innovative educator corps” program, subject to various of requirements, and impose additional duties and requirements on teacher colleges and teacher training. The government control and mandates over education and here the training of teachers themselves is what’s wrong with the whole system; we should be letting schools and local districts decide who is and isn’t qualified to teach by their own standards. They passed 98 – 10, 98 – 10, 88 – 20, and 91 – 17.
6845-DecHB5385I voted for House Bill 5385, which would allow local governments to set speed limits of 25 mph on roads in residential zones as long as they are not major streets. This is a small step to allowing local governments set the speed limits of their roads and it passed unanimously.
6875-DecHB6086I voted no on House Bill 6086, which would require alcohol licensees post a sign “informing” the public that drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects. This is totally unnecessary (alcohol already has warning labels) and insulting to the public. The insult is compounded by the required wording including: “Pregnancy and alcohol do not mix.” It passed 104 – 4.
6885-DecSB751I voted for Senate Bill 751, which rolls back occupational licensing on cosmetologists infinitesimally by allowing shampoos to be performed by students. This is barely a step in the right direction, but it’s not the wrong direction. It passed 106 – 1.
689 – 6945-DecHB6253 – 6258I voted for House Bills 6253 through 6258, which would update the definition of embezzlement to include that of cryptocurrency. Just updating laws to keep with the times. They all passed unanimously.
6955-DecHB6465I voted for House Bill 6465, which would adopt federal regulations for ballast water exchange on oceangoing vessels. The federal regulations give more discretion to the U.S. Coast Guard to determine what types of ballast water exchange systems adequately protect against aquatic invasive species. Bringing Michigan more in line with federal standards will remove the competitive disadvantage we current face with neighboring Great Lakes states. It passed 80 – 28.
6965-DecHB5372I voted for House Bill 5372, which would require courts order someone at a third or subsequent drinking-and-driving conviction undergo an assessment for alcohol dependence and would likely benefit from medication-assisted treatment. The bill states that a person always has a right to refuse medication. Three drunk driving convictions demonstrates a serious problem and all avenues for improvement should be explored. It passed 107 – 1.
697 – 6995-DecHB5806 – 5808I voted for House Bills 5806 – 5808, which would establish and create procedures for juvenile mental health courts. Mental health courts were established in Michigan in the late 2000’s and have been proven successful in reducing recidivism and improving health. The current juvenile process is intertwined with the adult system; this would implement a system tailored to our youth. The bills passed unanimously.
7005-DecSB660I voted no on Senate Bill 660, which would delay for five and a half years the animal confinement standards for egg-laying hens enacted in 2009, from 2020 to 2025. Egg producers had 10 years to prepare for these standards and pushing them back just shows we aren’t serious. It passed 79 – 29.
7015-DecHB6553I voted for House Bill 6553, which would allow the Legislature to intervene in court proceedings to defend the laws it passes. Fake news notwithstanding, it does not diminish the power of the Attorney General to do so in any way. It only adds that the Legislature too can defend laws it passed as the people’s representatives. Like any party to a lawsuit the, the Legislature deserves the right to apply for a hearing, present its arguments in court, or request an appeal. The bill passed 58 – 50.
702 – 7125-DecHB6205 – 6216I voted for House Bills 6205 through 6216, which would update the Animal Industry Act. The Act had been amended in a piecemeal fashion since 1988; this legislation re-organized and restructured it based on workgroup meetings with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with stakeholders. It revised various details, such as MDARD’s ability to seize animals based on new biosecurity practices, surveillance testing provisions for the equine industry and privately owned cervids, requirements for live bird markets, and so forth. The main bill passed 94 – 14 with companion bills in that range.
713 & 7145-DecHB6393 & 6394I voted for House Bills 6393 and 6494, which would update the milk law (yes, there’s a milk law) to reflect current FDA pasteurized milk recommendations. This is just to make state law consistent with federal law and the bills passed unanimously.
7155-DecHB6344I voted for House Bill 6344, to consolidate the district courts of Lansing, East Lansing, and Ingham County into one countywide court. This will save local governments money and the consolidation is voluntary with the consent of the local units. It passed 106 – 2.
7166-DecHB4259I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4259, which would give the state Auditor General more investigative power. The Senate added a disclaimer that state employees are not subject to criminal or civil penalties for providing requested information. Concurrence passed 107 – 2.
717-7196-DecHB5217 – 5219I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 5217 – 5219, which would require certain disclosures for air-ambulance service and limit their non-emergency usage. The Senate only changed minor details like inserting a definition for group health plan. Concurrence passed 102 – 7 for each.
7206-DecHB1051I voted for Senate Bill 1051, which would require the governor submit five-year “strategic plans” for the state each year. This would have to include “measures of [each] department’s inputs, outputs, and output measures”. It’s important to have a consistently-updated plan based upon numbers. It passed 107 – 2 after having passed the Senate unanimously.
7216-DecHB5625I voted for House Bill 5625, which would require state mental health services offer mediation as a first step to resolve a dispute. Without this option, complainants have no options until after DHHS completes its investigation of the complaint. It passed unanimously.
7226-DecHB5718I voted for House Bill 5718, which allow police to donate stolen or abandoned property to charity if it goes unclaimed for 6 months, as opposed to selling or disposing of them. This will allow the items to be used by local schools or charitable organizations. It passed unanimously.
7236-DecHB6485I voted for House Bill 6485, which would define what is considered a “production expense” in calculating an oil and gas company’s state income taxes. This would codify current practice assuming that only the production and post-production expenses deducted at the federal level should be added back in to their income to begin calculating their state income tax liability. This settles the potential disagreement between these companies and the Treasury and allows for clarity in the future. It passed 58 – 51.
7246-DecHB5945I voted no on House Bill 5945, which would exempt agricultural vehicles from local weight limits and commercial vehicle and truck restrictions. This is overly broad; local road agencies know the quality and durability of their roads and set weight limits accordingly. The road doesn’t care what type of vehicle is bearing the weight. It passed 106 – 3.
725 & 7266-DecHB6087 & 6088I voted for House Bills 6087 and 6088, which would allow counties, cities, and villages to borrow funds from the State Infrastructure Bank Program. The state already allows this, but this will ensure the municipalities have proper statutory authority. They passed unanimously.
7276-DecHB6147I voted for House Bill 6147, which would designate a portion of M-53 the Sergeant Wouters Memorial Highway, a police officer killed in the line of duty arresting an armed suspect. It passed unanimously.
7286-DecSB960I voted for Senate Bill 960, which would name a portion of M-44 in Kent County as the State Trooper Timothy O’Neill Memorial Highway, who was killed while on duty last year. Funding for the sign must come from private sources so there is no cost to taxpayers. It passed unanimously.
7296-DecHB6484I voted for House Bill 6484, which would allow the state to recoup up to $5 million in liability insurance when a commercial truck hits a bridge. They are required to carry $5 million in liability insurance per federal law, so this allows us to recoup full damages up to $5 million. It passed unanimously.
730 & 7316-DecHB6421 & 6422I voted for House Bills 6421 and 6422, which would allow licensure information to be sent from the Secretary of State to the Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) for qualification of a medical marijuana card and allowing a medical marijuana operator to authorize LARA to disclose his license information to a financial institution. These are simple fixes to make it easier to process applicants. They passed 106 – 3.
7326-DecHB6153I voted for House Bill 6153, which would eliminate the Forest & Mineral Development Fund, which was never funded or used since it was created in 1991. It passed unanimously.
7336-DecHB6355I voted for House Bill 6355, which would remove licensing requirements to possess and transport minnows and similar bait if they were purchased from a licensed minnow dealer. I know, I know. It passed 108 – 1.
7346-DecHB6472I voted for House Bill 6472, which would allow the Department of Environmental Quality to create minor project and general permit categories for floodplain projects through a public notice and administrative process rather than through administrative rules, which is a long and tedious process that often takes years. This streamlines the permitting process for minor projects. It passed 107 – 2.
735 & 7366-DecHB6486 & 6487I voted for House Bill 6486 and 6487, which would create an electronic lien title system to process the notification and releases of security interests for boats and off-road vehicles. This is just using new technology to make a cumbersome process easier. They passed unanimously.
7376-DecHB5939I voted no on House Bill 5939, as I did in committee, which would, among other things, require fireworks tents to post a $5,000 bond to secure estimated sales taxes. The bill would benefit brick-and-mortar fireworks stores over seasonal tents, and an owner of a fireworks tent company eloquently pointed out that there was no pressing need for these new regulations; it was simply anti-competitive. The bill passed 92 – 17.
738 & 7396-DecHB5940 & 5941I voted no on House Bills 5940 and 5941, which would give state and local governments more ability to restrict the times fireworks can be set off. 5940 also allows local governments to regulate the use of “temporary structures” at which fireworks are sold–see my previous vote explanation. Imposing more restrictions on the sale and use of a product may discourage sales, and it’s doubtful people are going to follow restrictions anyway. They passed 96 – 13 and 103 – 6.
740 – 7466-DecHB6475 – 6481I voted for House Bills 6475 through 6481, which would reform the Michigan State Police retiree system the way similar legislation did for other government employees over this term. This is becoming a national model for how to fix broken public retirement systems. It will ensure state troopers receive the retirement benefits they’ve been promised and deserve while paying off our long-term liability. They each passed 107 – 2.
7476-DecHB6115I voted for House Bill 6115, which would remove a requirement that funeral directors provide contact information for all life insurance companies in Michigan when they provide a life insurance application. This is an absurd, totally unnecessary government mandate. The bill passed 106 – 3.
7486-DecHB6520I voted for House Bill 6520, which would require insurers submit annual statements disclosing their corporate structure. This is an accreditation requirement of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners which the state must adopt to continue receiving accreditation. It passed 107 – 2.
7496-DecHB6491I voted for House Bill 6491, which would establish an insurer’s responsibility to provide security for and protect any nonpublic consumer information it holds. We need to ensure consumers are protected from data breaches since they have little recourse once they occur. The bill passed 103 – 6.
750 & 7526-Dec6405 & 6406I voted for House Bills 6405 (the Data Breach Notification Act) and 6406, which would require companies storing personal indentifying information to notify victims of data breaches within a specific timeframe. Currently, there isn’t a time limit for companies to notify people when their identity information is stolen. This would require that and notification of the Attorney General. They both passed 103 – 6.
7516-DecHB6151I voted for House Bill 6151, make various updates to the process of notifying landowners of draining district projects, such as removing the requirement that drain commissioners twice publish notices in the newspaper on the hiring of contractors and project specifications, and clarifying that drain commissioners can adjust assessment estimates resulting from the Day of Review without holding additional public meetings. It passed unanimously.
7536-DecHB6049I voted for House Bill 6049, which would revise many details of the functions, qualifications, and requirements on property and local tax assessor offiices to raise standards. Property tax assessments are too important to leave to chance. This plan creates uniform standards to ensure all property owners are treated fairly. It passed unanimously.
754 & 7556-DecHB6053 & 6054I voted for House Bills 6053 & 6054, which would extend the dates for paying the Essential Services Assessment and the penalty for failing to pay. We’ve made countless adjustments along the way of phasing out the personal property tax and the current system offers inadequate notice before charging penalties on top of penalties. If someone pays the tax but not the penalty they get charged as if they failed to pay the tax and lose access to the personal property tax exemption. It’s not fair to punish taxpayers for not being able to perfectly follow this ever-changing scheme. The bills passed 106 – 3.
756 & 7576-DecHB6314 & 6315I voted for House Bills 6314 and 6315, which would allow a board of a school district to allow the district or a school within the district to operate as a “public innovative school,” with the state superintendent’s approval of their plan for personalized learning, mentoring, “any time, any place, any way, any pace” learning, and passing based on competency rather than hours spent in the classroom. I think this program has enormous potential, as existing innovation zones have been, giving schools flexibility in staffing, scheduling, and curriculum. So many students are diminished by the “one size fits all” approach school take in which at any given time some students are lost and other students are bored. This is an exciting opportunity to give schools the ability to try something new. Parents could opt out if they chose, and the school could revert to a regular school if the program didn’t work out. I think this is one of the best bills we’ve passed all year. I’m disappointed the bills only passed 56 – 53 and 57 – 52.
7586-DecHB6560I voted for House Bill 6560, which would allow brownfield redevelopment authorities to be reimbursed for industrial personal property to compensate for a revenue loss caused by a 2007 tax policy change. Basically, when the Michigan Business Tax was imposed in 2007 it stated “it is the intent of the Legislature to address potential revenue shortfalls for the payment of tax increment financing obligations that may result from the exemptions,” and in 2014 we exempted property used in industrial processing from the personal property tax. With the real of the personal property tax in 2014 the reimbursement for these authorities excluded eligible industrial personal property tax if it exceeds what the authority received for the year. This bill ensures local governments don’t lose revenue due to an unintended consequence of a previous tax policy change. It passed 90 – 19.
759 & 7606-DecHB6549 & 6550I voted for House Bills 6549 and 6550, which would exempt aviation repair parts from state sales tax. This is not legislation I would typically support but the circumstances are very unusual. In 2008, Ohio made such an exemption, and then Wisconsin and Indiana followed suit. As a result, pilots are taking their planes to these three neighboring states for repairs to avoid paying state sales tax. So, unless we offer a similar exemption, our 97 aircraft repair facilities lose business and we don’t get sales tax revenue either way. I don’t like these very specific tax exemptions, but then again, it’s good that states are competing to offer better tax environments. I wish it was happening more in a more general way. These bills passed 60 – 49 and 58 – 51.
761 – 7636-DecI voted for House Bills 6541 – 6543, which would allow for liquor companies to offer discounts and refunds for unused products at special events (eg festivals), provide branded items like tents, and conduct tastings. Essentially this is to allow spirit companies to do what beer and wine companies can already do. They passed 102 – 6 and 105 – 3.
7646-DecI voted for House Bill 5813, which would require law enforcement responding to an incident of alleged physical abuse of an elderly or similarly vulnerable adult to also investigate for financial abuse. Reportedly financial abuse is far more common the physical abuse, so where physical abuse is present financial abuse is likely. The bill passed unanimously.
765 & 7666-DecHB4618 & 5025I voted no House Bills 4618 and 5025, which would allow employers to enter into an agreement with the City of Detroit to collect city income taxes from their employeers and make the Detroit city income tax administered by the Department of Treasury. I don’t support city income taxes in general, which invariably lead to population flight (Exhibit A: Detroit), I don’t support state legislation that only applies to one city, and I certainly don’t support making the state of Michigan, i.e. the people of Michigan, Detroit’s tax collector. The bills passed 88 – 21 and 90 – 19.
7676-DecHB5776I voted no on House Bill 5776, which would revise details in a law imposing licensure mandates on clinical counselors in mental health, career planning, and other issues. Among the details the bill adds that in order to be licensed someone must have received a master’s or doctoral degree from a college or university approved by the department and “from a program accredited by the council for the accreditation of counseling and related education programs.” Yes, the council on counseling. I think it’s absurd that someone might have a doctoral degree from an accredited university but still not be licensed unless the program is approved by some other council. The Michigan Psychological Association, Michigan Psychiatric Society, and Michigan State Medical Society all opposed the bill. It passed 95 – 14.
7686-DecHB4856I voted for House Bill 4856, which would designate September 11 through 17 as “Patriot Week” in Michigan. The bill would have no binding effect but hopefully encourage the remembrance, honoring, and celebration of American history, our First Principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and the “exceptional, visionary, and indispensable Americans” that founded and advanced the United States. Kudos to author Rep. Jim Tedder for choosing to place Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry at the top of the list of such great Americans. The bill passed 102 – 7.
769 & 7706-DecHB6020 & 6021I voted no on House Bills 6020 and 6021, which would reduce the penalty from felony to misdemeanor for someone with HIV who knowingly has intercourse without informing his or her partner that he or she has this deadly, incurable, transmissible disease — if the partner does not actually catch the disease. Crimes and sentencing should be based on the decisions and actions of the person being charged, not affected by the happenstance of whether the disease was actually transmitted. The bill also provides a defense if someone is under the care of a physician and the virus is medically suppressed, which mitigates the risk but doesn’t eliminate it. I think about this from the perspective of victims and how they would feel about reducing penalties and therefore encouraging recklessness causing the transmission of a deadly illness. The bills passed 96 – 13.
7716-DecHB6499I voted in favor of my legislation, House Bill 6499, to allow up to 10 foster children in a home, up from 6 currently allowed by law, if the home is on a parcel of 20 acres or more. This would allow foster homes like the House of Providence to help more children. The limit of 6 makes sense in an urban setting but is low for a large property located in the country. It passed 96 – 13.
77211-DecHB1197I voted for House Bill 1197, which would create a new Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority separate from the existing Mackinac Bridge Authority to acquire, oversee construction of, and lease a utility tunnel through the Straits of Mackinac. Until the authority is created, the Mackinac Bridge Authority will serve this role. A Straits Protection Fund would be created in the state Treasury, and if the Attorney General refuses to represent the Mackinac Bridge Authority or the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority in a matter related to the tunnel the AG will provide for the costs of representation by an attorney chosen by the relevant authority to defend them. There are additional safety requirements for the Line 5 pipeline during construction of the tunnel, and once completed the pipeline within the tunnel will be vastly safer. This is a great solution to improve safety while protecting this critical piece of underwater infrastructure. It passed 74 – 34.
773 – 77511-DecHB6428 – 6430I voted for House Bills 6428 through 6430, which would resolve territorial disputes between electric providers by clarifying that a utility cannot provide service to a building that is receiving or has received in the past 3 years service from another utility. This kind of dispute would occur between one of the two major monopolies (DTE and Consumers Energy) and a local municipal utility. Basically it says whoever had it before can still have it. This was a negotiated compromise over a recent state Supreme Court ruling and the bills passed unanimously.
77611-DecHB6360I voted for House Bill 6360, which would remove the sunset on information provided by auto insurers to the Secretary of State and eliminate a loophole on when a complainant must notify the Department of Health and Human Services if the department might have a right to recover Medicaid expenses. This will ensure we have accurate, up-to-date information on car insurance coverage and accident settlements. It passed 107 – 1.
77711-DecHB5634I voted for House Bill 5634, which would allow vehicles to have a tint of up to 20% on the rear windows and up to 65% on the front side windows. The percentage refers to how much light passes through, so 20% means 80% dark and 65% is darkened by a third. These tintings are already common as many people don’t know they are against the law. People should be permitted to tint their windows other than the windshield, for light sensitivity as well as for privacy. It passed 72 – 36.
77811-DecHB4205I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4205, which I voted for previously, to limit the ability of state departments to adopt or promulgate rules that are more stringent than those enforced by the federal government. The Senate made an exception to special education programs. Rules exceeding federal standards are especially onerous for business and put Michigan at a competitive disadvantage with other states. Concurrence passed 57 – 51.
77911-DecHB6500I voted for House Bill 6500, which would clarify the definition of an applicant for a cannabis (derogatorily called and goofily spelled “marihuana”) facility, eliminate an unneeded Executive Director position from the Medical Marihuana [sic] Licensing Board, and make it illegal to hold oneself out as an operator of a cannabis facility without a license. With cannabis still illegal under federal law it’s important that these facilities be properly licensed by the state and ensure that the industry is regulated by proper health and safety measures. The bill passed 100 – 8.
78011-DecSB962I voted for Senate Bill 962, which would allow a dual license for facilities offering substance abuse and mental health treatment. People with both of these illnesses should have the opportunity to be treated at a single facility and there’s no reason a facility couldn’t do both. It passed unanimously.
781 – 78611-DecHB1154 – 1159I voted for Senate Bills 1154 through 1159, which would allow all types of alcohol makers to have tasting rooms and this does not make them retailers. They also expand the definition of manufacturer to include portions of the manufacturing process and allow manufacturers to sell their products in tasting rooms. I see no reason these shouldn’t be permitted and they passed 105 – 2.
78712-DecHB6361I voted for House Bill 6361, which is a companion bill to 6360 that we passed yesterday regarding information on auto claims involving Medicaid. See that vote explanation. This one passed 99 – 9.
78812-DecHB6525I voted for House Bill 6525, which would amend the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to allow people to transport firearms in any vehicle on private property, including ATVs, as long as they have the landowner’s permission. This is a common-sense provision to prevent individuals from being unnecessarily prosecuted for exercising their right to keep and bear arms. It passed 77 – 32.
789 & 79012-DecHB6572 & 6573I voted for House Bills 6572 and 6573, which would require law enforcement agencies with records on the reason for and circumstances surrounding an officer’s separation of service to submit a copy to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards upon its request. This is public information necessary to facilitate the sharing of employment records between law enforcement agencies and MCOLES. They passed unanimously.
79112-DecHB1013I voted no on Senate Bill 1013, which would increase the number of vehicles required to be in a “fleet” qualifying for special fleet license plates from 25 to 300. This would unfairly exclude smaller companies from being able to use this registration feature. It passed 103 – 6.
79212-DecHB1023I voted no on Senate Bill 1023, which would impose mandatory training on used car dealers (but not new car dealers, interestingly), including continuing education requirements to maintain a state license. It requires the Secretary of State, which opposes this bill to create and administer this training program. No evidence was presented that there is any need for this. It serves only to harm competitors to new car dealers. It passed 96 – 13.
79312-DecSB434I voted for Senate Bill 434, which would update the definition of a state veterans’ facility to extend the Ombudsman’s authority to new facilities. The ombudsman is the investigator within the legislature to review complaints. It’s critical the ombudsman has this ability. It passed unanimously.
79412-DecSB929I voted for Senate Bill 929, which would allow ambulances to be available at less than the normal level of licensure in very rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less and less than 7 people per square mile. This is allowing for flexibility to enable essential life-saving coverage. It passed unanimously.
79512-DecSB965I voted for Senate Bill 965, which would allow multiple municipalities to jointly administer a soil erosion permit program. Some had already formed these joint operating agreements for various related functions; counties were already permitted to do this. DEQ approval would be needed if the municipalities were not located within the same county. It passed unanimously.
79612-DecSB981I voted for Senate Bill 981, which would remove the requirement that the chief carnival-amusement ride inspector to be a licensed professional engineer and allows the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to determine who is qualified. The professional engineer in the role recently retired and LARA has had difficulty filling the vacant position. It passed 78 – 31.
79712-DecSB898I voted for Senate Bill 898, which would allow captive insurance companies to use the International Financial Reporting Stands with approval from the Department of Insurance and Financial Services in its annual reports. Currently the law requires they use generally accepted accounting principles but not this standard which is becoming the global standard. The bill passed 107 – 2.
79812-DecHB1029I voted for Senate Bill 1029, which would create a framework for a domestic stock insurer to split into two or more division with the approval of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services. This would allow them to increase efficiencies and affords additional flexibility that could benefit shareholders and policyholders. Current law makes division extremely cumbersome. It passed 108 – 1.
799 – 80712-DecHB1160 – 1168I voted for Senate Bills 1160 – 1168, which were part of a package we voted on yesterday, to allow for various types of alcohol manufacturers to have tasting rooms. See that explanation – it’s just providing more flexibility to promote and sell their products. There was one exception: I voted no 1167, which would change the definition of wine in the liquor code to include hard cider. The liquor code is a small galaxy and beer and wine are certainly treated different in various aspects of the code. Most hard ciders are bottled and sold like beer, not wine, and I’m concerned changing this definition for the entire code will have unintended consequences. The bills all passed 106 – 2 except 1167 where I voted no for a vote of 105 – 3.
80812-DecHB1181I voted for Senate Bill 1181, which would codify administrative rules prohibiting retailers from partnering with alcohol makers on ads (eg “Jack Daniel’s, available at Kroger”). Currently manufacturers are prohibited from giving anything of value to wholesalers and retailers and vice versa. This is consistent throughout the liquor code to ensure all producers are on a level playing field with all retailers. It passed 103 – 6.
809 & 81012-DecHB6124 & 6125I voted no on House Bills 6124 and 6125, which would add trailhead parking areas to those that require a Michigan “Recreation Passport.” Besides in general making one more thing subject to a fee, snowmobile and ORV users’ registration and trail fees are already intended to include maintaining parking areas, most of which local clubs maintain. They passed 89 – 20 and 87 – 22.
81112-DecHB5374I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5374 to revise the definition of “pedestrian” to include the disabled using power-driven mobility devices. The Senate just updated the text to reflect changes made by an unrelated bill that just became law. Concurrence passed unanimously.
81212-DecHB5643I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5643, which I voted against previously, to include on-track equipment in the list of railroad vehicles that road vehicles have to stop for (because it was completely unnecessary to put this into law). The Senate amendment was purely technical and didn’t change the substance at all. Concurrence passed 108 – 1.
81312-DecHB5720I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5720, which I voted against previously, to force residential properties wihtin a business development district to pay fees to fund the group they didn’t elect to join. The Senate required that real property is only assessable if the property is disclosed as part of the zone plan, which doesn’t change the essence of the bill at all. Concurrence passed 77 – 32.
81412-DecSB842I voted no on Senate Bill 842, which would require hospices have a controlled substance disposal policy to dispose of any remaining drugs a patient may leave behind upon dying. Whether this will actually do any good, who knows–maybe making everyone talk about the drugs laying around will give more people the idea of taking the drugs. Either way, it is one more administrative burden from the nanny state. It passed 106 – 3.
815 & 81612-DecHB1195 & 1196I voted for Senate Bills 1195 and 1196, which would establish standards and a fee for the disposal of technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) at specialized, secure landfills. (TENORM is created by things like mineral mining and water purification. It’s not nuclear waste.) Such landfills are required to conduct radiological monitoring, including radioactives in their leachate and groundwater analyses, measurements of radioactivity in the air, and more. This ensures taxpayers are not left on the hook for the costs associated with this type of waste disposal. The bills passed 91 – 18 and 66 – 43 respectively.
817 & 81812-DecHB6433 & 6434I voted no on House Bills 6433 and 6434, which would create tax credits for donations to charitable organizations and community foundations. It’s the government’s job to incentivize behavior with preferential tax treatment, even for groups that are universally appreciated. It’s not fair to people who don’t have money to spare for charity, and it’s not fair to other good causes out there. They passed 104 – 5 and 103 – 6.
81912-DecSB6595I voted for House Bill 6595, which would require that petition signatures for ballot questions not have more than 10% from any single congressional district. Michigan has 14 districts and there are provisions to adjust should we lose any. As our state petition system is currently structured, no single person or grassroots group of volunteers could attain the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed to do anything and it’s a system open only to those with millions of dollars to spend and a political axe to grind. It’s essentially pay for play. The least we can do is require that people across the state are represented in the signatures and not just those from one central area. The bill passed 60 – 49.
82012-DecHB4205I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4205, which I voted for previously, to limit various state administrative rules from being more stringent than federal regulations. We already had a two votes on this, but their was a typo in the enacting date being January 2018 instead of 2019. Concurrence passed 57 – 52.
82112-DecHB6582I voted for House Bill 6582, which would require a person requesting a public record provide their contact information, exempt cetain personal information in voter registration records from public inspection, and consider a request abandoned if a required deposit fee is not received within 45 days. This past August election clerks received a request for records of all ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election from a requestor identified only as “Emily” from an entity called “United Impact Group.” The requestor also wanted absentee ballots, provisional ballots, and ballots that weren’t count, along with reasons for each. It took an enormous amount of time, inquiries, and requests for legal advice just to get a quote. Lansing alone spent 275 staff hours and $12,300 just investigating the request. The group eventually admitted to the Detroit News it was affiliated with a Democrat super PAC and when clerks gave estimates of how much fulfilling such a request would actually cost, they never heard back or received a deposit, leaving taxpayers with the cost of having looked into handing over tons of vote records to a political entity. Requiring transparency from records requestors will discourage bad actors; FOIA is a tool for transparency and accountability and should those requesting it should be transparent themselves. The bill passed 99 – 10.
82212-DecHB4635I voted for House Bill 4635, which would make it illegal for a petition circulator to knowingly misrepresent the contents of the petition. In practice this will be a very hard thing to prove, but then again, it should not be legal to lie in the course of collecting petition signatures. It passed 100 – 9.
823 & 82412-DecHB5208 & 5209I voted for House Bills 5208 and 5209, which would create a procedure for the removal of one’s name from a petition and prohibit organizations from employing those convicted of election crimes. People that are misled into signing petitions should have a process to have their names removed, and no political organization should employ those convicted of political crimes. They passed 104 – 5.
82512-DecHB5212I voted no on House Bill 5212, which would require petition circulators to wear badges identifying what organization they are working with and whether they are paid or a volunteer. This could open the door for lots of confusion as a petition does not need to be circulated by only one group, paid circulators could volunteer additional time, and so on. This will lead to lots of accusations back and forth. It passed 98 – 11.
82612-DecHB5898I voted no on House Bill 5898, which would establish water fees that municipalities must pay to the state and pass on to customers: $20/year for residential and $400/year for nonresidential customers. Reportedly this will actually be just a “shell bill” for negotiations with the governor on end-of-year supplemental appropriations, but clearly this is in the text of the bill we just voted on. It passed 60 – 49.
82712-DecHB4525I voted no on House Bill 4525, which would expand the definition of “motorcycle” include a Slingshot with handlebars. We passed a law last year to classify the Slingshot as a motorcycle, although the Slingshot, with two front wheels, two front seats, a steering wheel, and dashboard clearly looks more like a car than a motorcycle. It drives like a car and does not require motorcycle skills to operate. Now we are expanding the definition of a motorcycle to include autocycles with handlebars. I don’t think these vehicles even exist yet. Google failed me. I’m not comfortable regulating a vehicle left to my imagination. It passed 65 – 44.
82812-DecHB6252I voted no on House Bill 6252, which would create a Suicide Prevention Commission within the Legislative Council to study suicide and make recommendations. Members would be appointed by various public agencies and could be reimbursed for expenses. We don’t need yet another commission to make policy recommendations. It passed 104 – 5.
829 & 83012-DecHB4785 & 4786I voted no on House Bills 4785 and 4786, which would require dog license applications ask you to donate $10 or more to a veterans service dog fund created by these bills. Besides this not being a proper role of state law, of all ways to help veterans, extensively-trained service dogs from accredited trainers are not the most economical. We tend to think of voluntary donations programs like this as having no negative consequences because we don’t think about how many consciences might be cleared and then not donate elsewhere. Everything the government does to the economy has an equal and opposite reaction. The bills passed 105 – 4 and 106 – 3.
83112-DecSB747I voted for Senate Bill 747, which would raise the retirement benefits for Michigan’s Adjutant General and top assistants. They have to spend at least 20 years in service to be eligible for these benefits, commanding the National Guard is an immense responsibility, and they’ve earned a retirement boost. It passed 95 – 14.
83212-DecHB6498I voted for House Bill 6498, which would make a variety of changes to the law on auto dealer franchises. This was a result of a compromise struck between the auto makers and dealers organizations on various issues, particularly termination of a dealership contract and how to handle succession of the dealership to a spouse or child. You can read the details here: www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2017-2018/billanalysis/House/pdf/2017-HLA-6498-67670036.pdf The bill passed 107 – 2.
83312-DecHB6024I voted for House Bill 6024, which would eliminate the requirement disabled veterans file for the disabled veterans property tax exemption every year to claim it, allowing a one-time filing instead. This is a straightforward way to get bureaucracy out of veterans’ lives. It passed 108 – 1.
83412-DecHB5801I voted no on House Bill 5801, which would eliminate a County Treasurer statement in an election notice on a tax millage and instead require the municipality to post the dollar amount the taxes would increase, what they’d be used for, and number of years the tax would be in place. Sounds great, but in practice this will just be “ad copy” for these tax hikes. It passed 106 – 3.
835 – 83812-DecSB489, 490, 797, 798I voted for Senate Bills 489, 490, 797, and 798, which would allow parents to place their children in the Safe Families program for a short period of time while the parent(s) is away from home. This is an alternative to foster care, which keeps the families out of the CPS system. Safe Families is a nationwide nonprofit program provides free help to parents in severe need of someone to care for their children. Alternatively, the Safe Families program allows a parent who knows in advance that they will be away from home for a period of time to place their child in the home of someone they can trust. When a parent experiences a financial crisis, unemployment, the birth of another child, an extended hospital stay, or an overseas deployment, they may not have someone for their child or children to stay with; the Safe Families program can provide these parents with a safe and loving option for their children. Host families do this on a purely voluntary basis and do not receive compensation. The program has been active for the past seven years and we need to keep bureaucrats from creating more licensing restrictions on the program. The bills passed 63 – 46 to 65 – 44.
839 & 84012-DecSB100 & 101I voted for Senate Bills 100 and 101, which would require the state pay your attorney fees if you win a lawsuit against the state unless there is convincing evidence the state’s position was substantially justifiable. Under current law the state is rarely ordered to pay costs when a case goes to court, and it’s extremely expensive and risky for any citizen to go into litigation against the state. This provides some assurance that you can win and be reimbursed your legal costs if you have a strong case. Departments should be held accountable if they force citizens to go to court without a strong reason. The bills passed 92 – 17 and 99 – 10.
84112-DecHB1198I voted for Senate Bill 1198, which would eliminate the expiration date of the ban on telemedicine abortions in which an abortion is prescribed with no physician on site. Current law requires an in person physical exam, informed consent, and a physician present when the drug used to initiate the abortion is dispensed. Abortion is an in herently dangerous procedure and a physical examination is necessary and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood have an extensive history of putting the desire to eliminate babies above the health of mothers. See for example: https://6abc.com/archive/9059172/ We have a responsibility to protect women’s safety and these types of abortion of have been legal or practiced in Michigan. The bill passed 62 – 47.
842 & 84312-DecSB917I voted no on Senate Bills 917 and 922, which would are Senate versions of House-passed bills I opposed to expand the list of people considered “public safety official” for the purpose of getting people in trouble for using drones. “Interference” with a public safety official is prohibited, but the term can mean different things and may lead to people being charged with crimes for only recording such officials. They passed 105 – 4.
84412-DecHB1233I voted no on Senate Bill 1233, which would permit law enforcement agencies to use a drone to surveil a state-licensed facility (e.g. a cannabis crop) without a warrant if it’s part of an investigation. The bill was cleverly worded to make it appear that it was doing the opposite. It says the state can NOT use drones for such surveillance, except with consent or a warrant, or as part of a law enforcement investigation. The consent/warrant exception is already protected by the Fourth Amendment. But in saying “you can’t do X, except when Y” they’re really saying “when Y, you can do X.” These are important privacy concerns that we should have discussed in depth. It passed 105 – 4.
84512-DecHB5321I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 5321, which would limit the DNR from issuing sterilization permits under a failed deer sterilization program. The Senate clarified on allowing deer management zones “in *or adjacent to*” urban areas. Concurrence passed 67 – 42.
84612-DecHB4421I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4421, which would allow licensed professionals to substitute-teach subjects in their expertise even if they don’t have a teaching certificate. The Senate removed a requirement vocational education teachers pass a test and allows individuals to be a substitute teacher if they have 60 college credits. The individual subbing in industrial tech or CTE must also have had 2 years of professional experts in the subject being taught within the past 10 years. We should make it easier for schools to address the substitute teacher shortage and allow people to teach children. Concurrence passed 64 – 45.
84712-DecHB6064I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 6064, which would create an operate a rural development fund program. This is another type of targeted tax incentive I’ve argued against before, it picks winners and losers and we don’t see the benefits foregone of development project not taken on. The Senate modified various details but the essence is the same. Concurrence passed 82 – 27.
84812-DecHB5526I voted no on House Bill 5526, which would assign schools in Michigan a letter grade (A – F) based on various state-ordained metrics.
I voiced my opposition to this bill at every step. It will be a disaster for our schools. It will inflame tension between parents and teachers, administrators, and school boards. And it won’t give an accurate picture of school performance by any reasonable measure.
The grade would be based on five metrics: proficiency in math and English/language arts (ELA), “growth in proficiency” in math and ELA, growth in proficiency among English-as-a-second-language students, graduation rates, and performance compared to “similar” schools.
The “growth” factors are especially problematic. 79% of 11th grade Lake Orion High School students passed the ELA portion of the M-Step in 2018. Compared to the state average is 46%, that’s excellent. But if it dips to 78% next year does that mean their “growth” letter grade will be a C, D, or even an F?

What “similar” schools will they be compared to? There’s no way this could result in fair grades for all schools.
That leaves just standardized test scores and graduation rates, which are already measured.

In sum, this will arbitrarily make schools look bad and make everyone involved miserable.

Why would a teacher want to teach at low letter grade schools? Why would a parent want to send their students to these schools? Schools will be unfairly damaged because of a letter ranking that is discriminatory and doesn’t paint the whole picture.

Not to mention the scores are based on an exam which is inherently broken. There is no individual incentive for students to score well on the M-Step.
This is a terrible example of state government controlling and diminishing the education of our children. It is a tragedy in the making. It passed 56-53.
849 & 85012-DecHB5707 & 6401I voted for House Bills 5707 and 6401, which would reduce the percentage by which annual teacher evaluations are based on test results from 40 percent to 25. I don’t support the state mandating these details that should be left to local school districts. They passed 104 – 5.
85118-DecHB1187I voted for Senate Bill 1187, which would modify the Indigent Defense Commission to merge the two seats of the cities and townships associations to make room for a second seat for the counties’ association. This would allow counties who likely pay much more for court-appointed lawyers to have more representation on the Commission to reflect their cost burden. It passed 108 – 1.
852HB1072I voted no on Senate Bill 1072, which would expand regulations and restrictions on bait fish, including mandatory registration of those selling them. It would remove the requirement that DNR and MDARD develop lists of “permitted squatic species,” which was mandated by a 2014 law and was unfinished as the list grew extremely large and difficult to manage. I support the removal of this “white list” of allowed species but not mandatory registration of bait sellers. It passed 106 – 3.
85318-DecHB1050I voted for Senate Bill 1050, which would allow broadband companies access to public rights-of-way, such a telephone companies already have. Under current law broadband companies weren’t listed as entities able to gain access, so they were registering as phone companies. They would still be required to have consent prior to construction from the appropriate governing board; this simply makes them “legit” in using public rights-of-way as they must. the bill passed 86 – 23.
85418-DecHB1253I voted for Senate Bill 1253, which would allow local governments to turn 1-way streets into 2-way streets. How they weren’t already allowed to do this must have been an oversight. It passed unanimously.
85518-DecSB882I voted for Senate Bill 882, which would allow for closed sessions of school boards to consider security planning. It could pose a security hazard for details of these plans to be a matter of public record. The bill passed 105 – 4.
85618-DecSB982I voted for Senate Bill 982, which would create the Office of School Safety within the Department of State Police. It would work with the Department of Education to create model practices for schools safety and work with local law enforcement to assess building security, offer training for school staff on safety, and apply for federal grants concerning school safety and reducing violence in school. This is a sensible step toward protecting our children in school. It passed 107 – 2.
85718-DecSB983I voted for Senate Bill 983, which would require school districts and academies develop emergency operations plans for each school building. It’s just common sense that they should have these plans and the bill passed unanimously.
85818-DecSB990I voted for Senate Bill 990, which would require schools consult with local law enforcement prior to construction or renovation of buildings. This would help maximize security in the design of the buildings. It would not compel the schools to follow the police recommendations. It passed 107 – 2.
85918-DecSB991I voted for Senate Bill 991, which would require schools provide the state police a 24/7 emergency contact person’s information. This is an obvious necessity in the event of a sudden emergency in which police must know how they can inform the school immediately. It passed unanimously.
86018-DecSB844I voted for Senate Bill 844, which would extend the sunset of the Criminal Justice Policy Commission from this January for another 4 years. The Commission was created in 2014 consisting of 17 members to make recommendations to the legislature on sentencing guidelines and practices. We spend nearly $2 billion per year incarcerating about 41,000 people and it’s critical we work to improve public safety, reduce recidivism, and prevent criminal behavior. This group provides an important interface between the legislature and various experts in criminal justice, and has zero budget and therefore no cost. The bill passed 104 – 5.
86118-DecHB1170I voted for Senate Bill 1170, which would allow partnerships, LLCs, and S corporations to claim their state and local deduction at the federal level by paying an entity tax and receiving a credit. This eliminates the unfair disadvantage put on these companies taxed at the individual owner level(as opposed the C corporations taxed at the entity level) when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress capped the deductibility of state and local taxes at 10,000. Other states (NY, NJ, OR, CT) passed similar programs to get around this disadvantage. The bill passed 64 – 45.
86218-DecSB822I voted for Senate Bill 822, which would require that memoranda of understanding (MOUs) approved by the governor be made publicly available and that they are in effect unless officially rescinded or expired. This will provide additional transparency to the public who have a right to know about these semi-formal agreements. The bill passed 64 – 45.
86318-DecHB1235I voted no on Senate Bill 1235, which would prevent townships from basing special assessments for police and fire expenses on such protection provided in a prior year to assessed property. This legislation arose from one township, Fruitport Township in Muskegon County, approving a special assessment district that included restaurants and large retailers, whch they argued was needed to account for the high volume of police and fire calls to that particular area. Businesses affected by that assessment complained that assessments should not be based on the number of calls. But it’s not unreasonable that the cost be shouldered by those most using the service and this is an overcorrection for an incident that occurred in just one township. This is a local matter in which a municipality is simply trying to apportion costs of a service toward its heaviest users. The bill passed 107 – 2.
86418-DecHB1219I voted for Senate Bill 1219, which would allow for sale of alcoholic beverages at university conference centers. These entities should be treated the same as other conference facilities where such licenses may be obtained to serve alcohol. The bill passed 105 – 4.
86518-DecHB1185I voted for Senate Bill 1185, which would prohibit local governments from requiring individuals to gain their approval before enrolling in a skilled trades program. Nobody should have to seek the approval of their local government to receive training for their chosen career. Without this legislation, non-union applicants may be discriminated against within the current application process — for example, the city of Detroit is currently requiring any city resident get permission from the city board before he or she enters an electrical apprenticeship program. This is totally antithetical to basic freedom to obtain training for and ultimately obtain a job. The bill passed 61 – 48.
86618-DecHB1207I voted for Senate Bill 1207, which would codify the International Building Code and federal standards concerning the costs of Americans with Disabilities Act renovations to existing buildings. It would limit the cost of ADA compliance to 20% of the total project costs, which is consistent with current ADA standards. This will help more businesses comply with federal standards and it passed unanimously.
86718-DecSB995I voted for Senate Bill 995, which would allow a local road agency to purchase wetland mitigation credits to fulfill wetland mitigation permit requirements. This is a more efficient use of funds than forcing them to build a wetland and it passed unanimously.
86818-DecHB1040I voted for Senate Bill 1040, which would allow military surplus vehicles of 25 years old to be registered as historic vehicles. This would allow them to be operated in parades and the like. Currently the Secretary of State does not allow military surplus vehicles to be considered historic vehicles. It passed 106 – 3.
86918-DecHB1176I voted for Senate Bill 1176, which would prohibit a public agency from requiring non-profit organizations to disclose their members, supporters, volunteers, or donors. This is already the law of the land, upheld for decades by the Supreme Court of the United States since the historic NAACP v. Alabama case. The case arose from the state of Alabama during the Civil Rights era attempting to demand the NAACP furnish its member lists, which would invariably chill participation in the organization due to the threat of intimidation and direct violence against its members and supporters. Today we see widespread tactics by the radical Left in organizing campaigns of censorship, boycotts, blacklists, deplatforming, and even direct violence against their perceived enemies. Despite free speech being protected by the courts, it’s important that we formally note in statute that a public agency may not attempt to infringe on the people’s First Amendment right to assemble, and to do so anonymously for their own safety. Disappointed by my Democrat colleagues’ total abandonment of the Constitution and Bill of Rights in unanimously voting no. The bill passed 58 – 51.
87018-DecHB1199I voted for Senate Bill 1199, which would move up the due date for the Treasury to annually update the maximum public employer contribution to medical benefit plans by 6 months. This would give employers sufficient time to set employee contribution amounts, giving employees time to weigh their options. It passed 62 – 47.
87118-DecSB838I voted no on Senate Bill 838, which would authorize more local “pension obligation bonds” — issuing debt to pay off unfunded liabilities. It would extend another 2 years the sunset on allowing local governments to borrow money to cover unfunded pension liabilities and incur long term debt to pay off future retiree health insurance costs, which unlike pensions are not legally enforceable obligations. This would be the third extension of this deadline. This is not fiscally responsible. The bill passed 103 – 6.
87218-DecSB541I voted for Senate Bill 541, which would allow for the licensing and regulation of dental therapists, which would be a new class of mid-level dental providers that could provide various procedures such as charting of the oral cavity, taking X-rays, pre-exams, and so on. They would need to graduate from an accredited dental therapy education program, pass a comprehensive exam, and complete 500 hours of supervised practice. Creating this new class would provide more acess to low-cost care, particularly for low-income patients. Dental care is vital and it’s critical everyone has access to affordable dental care. It passed 68 – 41.
87318-DecSB110I voted no on Senate Bill 110, which would authorize local governments to provide tax subsidies for low or moderate cost rental units. This is basically tax discrimination, which I don’t support at the state level or any level of government. This is picking winners and losers. All developers should pay their fair share of taxes — which I want as low as possible, but equitable across all taxpayers. The bill passed 95 – 14.
87418-DecHB1130I voted no on Senate Bill 1130, which would extend a corporate welfare deal for a company that failed to satisfy the conditions of the existing corporate welfare deal. A biorefinery facility in Alpena failed to maintain its Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone designation by employing ten people. I don’t support special treatment like this in the first place, so I don’t support further extending the subsidy after the company failed to meet the terms of the last one. The bill passed 100 – 9.
875 & 87618-DecSB361 & 362I voted for Senate Bills 361 and 362, which would calculate the tax base of financial institutions using the close-of-year amount rather than the five-year average. This makes sense for the same reason it makes sense that individuals are not taxed based on the average past 5 years’ income. It would simplify calculations and make it easier to obey the law. They would also set the fraction of the tax base apportioned to Michigan to include all gross business attributable to foreign business. Banks are currently (for the most part) not paying tax on investments in foreign entities. The clarification will result in more uniform and accurate taxation. They passed 98 – 11 and 91 – 18.
87718-DecHB4412I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 4412, which I voted for previously, to reform the Tax Tribunal. The Senate removed most of the original language, leaving in that Tribunal members must receive training and maintain his court dockets, member salary increases are eliminated, members are allowed to engage in outside employment, and members may be disqualified from hearing a case due to prejudice or bias. These are reasonable provisions. Concurrence passed 67 – 42.
87818-DecHB6444I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bill 6444, which I voted for previously, to allow independent agents to sell certain types of insurance. The Senate prevented an independent insurance agent from using this change to sell health insurance. The bill still moves in the right direction. Concurrence passed 105 – 4.
87918-DecSB304I voted for Senate Bill 304, which would eliminate the sunset on a cap on the cigar tax of 50 cents per cigar. The tobacco tax originally imposed a 32% wholesale tax on cigars which was sometimes exorbitant for premium cigars and threatened the market competing with online and catalog purchases. This simply continues our current tax rate and ensures the system remains competitive and doesn’t threaten retailers, employees, and customer. I oppose high taxes anyway. It passed 65 – 44.
88018-DecHB1244I voted for Senate Bill 1244, which would require generic cleanup criteria be promulgated for Michigan’s primary environmental cleanup program, create a hierarchy for calculating the criteria modeled after the EPA process, and clarify when vapor intrusion is a reasonable and relevant pathway for contamination. This was the result of more than five years of negotiations with the Department of Environmental Quality to make the process more responsive and provide long-needed clarity for many processes and provisions. Using the EPA’s well-established Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) will ensure our standards keep up with the best science available at any given time. It passed 56 – 53.
88118-DecHB6551I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 6551, which I voted against previously, to create a monopoly by ZIP code for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The Senate added that if the Department of Health and Human Services determines that there is an unmet need in an area already covered by a PACE organization, the department must notify the organization and allow them to submit a plan to expand their services. This doesn’t change the essence of the bill and even appears to provide assistance to the monopolies. Concurrence passed 106 – 3.
882 & 88319-DecHB4066 & 4067I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bills 4066 and 4067, which I voted against previously, to create an interstate medical licensure compact. The Senate made the bills much better by making participation voluntary but this still requires the state to appropriate taxpayer money to continue its compact membership. Concurrence passed 102 – 7.
88419-DecHB4779I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House bill 4779, which would provide for uniform electronic legal material. The Senate amendment was a trivial technical change and concurrence passed unanimously.
88519-DecHB5121I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5121, which I voted for previously, to create a “bill of rights” for foster children. The Senate eliminated the requirement that the policy ensure the “inventory and security of the child in foster care’s personal belongings.” Still a good bill, and I could imagine how that might be problematic. Concurrence passed 107 – 2.
886 – 89719-DecHB5955 – 5965I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 5955 through 5965, which I voted for previously, to limit the authority of local governments to create new occupational fees or licensing requirements or continue to regulate certain professions. It’s bad enough the state has so much of this, and it’s not the role of local government to lay on even more such mandates and costs. If licensing is truly necessary to protect the public safety it should be done at the state level. The Senate amended the definitions of licensing to include registration to ensure the term was not used to bypass the act. They also made the bills retroactive to the beginning of this year. Concurrence passed 59 – 50.
89819-DecHB6052I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 6052, which I voted against previously, to require our corporate welfare agency produce a report on the efficacy of various corporate welfare programs. We don’t need another study to know these programs don’t work, and the report will not even do a cost-benefit analysis to compare the corporate welfare deals to letting taxpayers keep their money (I know because I requested that it do this and was rebuffed). This report will inevitably paint a rosy picture because it doesn’t really compare the programs to the alternative of not making these special interest deals. The Senate added that the report be shared with the Michigan Strategic Fund prior to its release. Concurrence passed 107 – 2.
89919-DecHB5018I voted no on concurring with the Senate on House Bill 5018, which I voted against previously, to create misdemeanor and felony offenses for “cyberbullying.” This is at best redundant with other crimes and at worst a threat to people right to free speech. The Senate amendment was purely technical and didn’t change the bill’s substance. Concurrence passed 92 – 17.
90019-DecHB6378I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 6378, which would allow those wrongfully excluded from state employee pension benefits to apply for and receive their benefits. The Senate remove an appropriation that was in the House-passed version; it will probably end up in the supplemental budget coming up. Concurrence passed 63 – 46.
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