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Michigan House Republicans
Rep. John Reilly – 2019 Vote Explanations
RELEASE|September 3, 2020
Contact: John Reilly
Roll CallDateBill NumberVote explanation
19-JanHR 1The new Legislature is in session! I proudly voted for Lee Chatfield for Speaker of the House, who was elected unanimously, in my first vote as a member of the historic one hundredth Legislature at Lansing.
Representative Chatfield has been a tireless advocate for Michigan as Speaker Pro Tempore throughout my first term of office, and I know he will continue to serve with distinction for all people of Michigan: to treat all of our colleagues fairly, to honor and uphold the legislative process, and to expand transparency. It was my honor and privilege to support his nomination for Speaker of the House.
29-JanHR 2I voted for House Resolution 2, to name Jason Wentworth as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives. Rep. Wentworth has been an honorable and trusted colleague, always acting in the interest of his constituents and all people of Michigan. His nomination was supported unanimously.
39-JanHR 3I voted for House Resolution 3, to name Gary Randall to another term as Clerk of the House of Representatives. Gary Randall, himself a former Representative, has served as Clerk of the House since before my term of office, and performed the duty impeccably in my first term. I’m honored to support him for another term. His nomination was endorsed unanimously.
47-FebHCR 2I voted for House Concurrent Resolution 2, to disapprove of Executive Order 2019-2, which would effectively repeal multiple laws passed in the previous term (PA 267, 268, and 269 of 2018) and therefore abolish the recently created Environmental Permit Review Commission, Environmental Science Advisory Board, and Environmental Rules Review Committee. These review committees provided important oversight of the Department of Environmental Quality and gave citizens long-overdue access to the rule-making process. More fundamentally, the governor does not have the power to abolish entities created by statute, and this Executive Order was therefore a violation of the constitutional separation of powers. There were, incidentally, other aspects of the Order I agreed with, such as abolishing the Michigan Agency for Energy and returning that authority to the Public Service Commission. But the bad far outweighed the good. The resolution passed 58 – 51.
5 & 628-Feb4001 & 4002I proudly voted for House Bills 4001 and 4002, which would require a criminal conviction before proceeding with asset forfeiture in cases involving up to $50,000 in seized property (i.e. major drug busts). Civil asset forfeiture occurs when the government takes and keeps the property of an individual it suspects of having committed a crime. For the majority of the more than 6,000 forfeiture cases in Michigan, assets were taken from people who were never convicted of a crime. In 2017, Michigan law enforcement agencies reported confiscating $13.1 million worth of cash and property through civil asset forfeiture. In more than 200 cases, people who were later found not guilty were forced to forfeit their property, never to have it returned. In a staggering 736 cases, charges were never even filed. This is a serious violation of the due process rights of citizens and must be corrected. The bills passed 107 – 3.
728-Feb4061I voted for House Bill 4061, which would designate a portion of M-53 in Macomb County the Chief Petty Officer Jason Freiwald Memorial Highway. Jason Freiwald was a highly trained and decorated Navy SEAL, having received the Bronze Star Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals, to name a few. He died September 12, 2008, from injuries sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan. There is no taxpayer cost for memorial highway signage, which is privately funded. The bill passed unanimously.
85-Mar4101I voted for House Bill 4101, which would allow the CEO of a municipality to appoint a designee to his seat on a Downtown Development Authority board. DDA boards are required to include their municipalities’ CEO; I see no problem with allow that person to designate someone else for that role. It passed unanimously.
96-Mar4119I voted for House Bill 4119, which would allow charter townships to reestablish free public libraries. This essentially legalizes the way things are currently done; a 1976 law had left this unclear but the Library of Michigan has assumed that previously existing libraries were lawfully established. The bill is not expected to change any current conditions and it passed unanimously.
107-Mar4244I voted for House Bill 4244, a supplemental appropriation for the Natural Resources Trust Fund: $26 million for 34 recreational development projects and 30 acquisition projects statewide. I worked with Rep. Webber to secure $228,400 to develop the Northern Trailhead for the Paint Creek Trail in Oakland Township, which will provide a new access point, parking and rest facilities for trail users to enjoy the scenic statewide Iron Belle Trail system. We also secured $300,000 for Orion Township to develop additional trail along the south side of East Clarkston Road to connect to the Paint Creek Trail near Kern Road. The project will fill a critical gap in the Iron Belle Trail route, and connect the Polly Ann Trail with the Paint Creek Trail. A Transportation Alternatives Grant Program through the Michigan Department of Transportation will also be supporting the project. When complete, visitors will be able to roam pristine pathways and boardwalks over Oakland County’s most-cherished wetlands and forested land. The Paint Creek Trail junction will connect trail users to a variety of alternative paths and bring in more visitors to support Orion Township. The bill passed unanimously.
11 & 127-Mar4066 & 4067I voted for House Bills 4066 and 4067, which would allow schools to install manual fire alarms further inside the schools where there is a vestibule. Schools that have a vestibule or waiting area may currently be out of compliance if the manual fire alarm is installed inside the main part of the school and not in the vestibule. Requiring a manual fire alarm to be located in a potentially small waiting area by an exit could slow down the evacuation process in the event of an emergency. This is a common sense rule fix and it passed unanimously.
137-Mar87I voted for Senate Bill 87, which would restore the 95A district court in Menominee County, which was slated for removal. The 2012 Judicial Resources Recommendation called for its removal but local felony caseloads have risen since that recommendation. Under the bill the county would retain its 1 district judge instead of sharing one with two other counties. It passed unanimously.
1412-Mar4112I voted no on House Bill 4112, which would require alcohol licensees post a sign “informing” the public that drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects. This is totally unnecessary (alcohol already has warning labels) and insulting to the public. The insult is compounded by the required condescending wording: “Pregnancy and alcohol do not mix.” It passed 100 – 10.
1512-Mar4286I proudly voted for House Bill 4286, which would appropriate $10 million for the compensation of victims of wrongful imprisonment and require quarterly reports from the Attorney General on payments made, settlements, denied claims, and the balance of the fund. The state owes the wrongfully convicted the compensation that state law demands. It passed unanimously.
16 – 1912-Mar4129 – 4132I voted for House Bills 4129 – 4132, which would allow parole boards to parole “medically frail” prisoners to a medical facility for the length of their parole term. These are elderly prisoners with chronic or severe health conditions that require constant expensive care, currently funded by the Department of Corrections. It’s far more cost effective to take care of someone inside a medical facility than a prison, and under the bill they would likely qualify for Medicaid. This would save taxpayers money (an estimated $4,000 per prisoner per year). The bills include protections to ensure public safety, protect victims’ rights, and restrict the option to only those prisoners that pose a minimal public safety risk. It also allows the prosecuting attorney or victim to object to the parole board’s decision and appeal to the sentencing judge. Prisoners would not have their sentences ended prematurely; they would complete their sentences in a nursing home or hospital rather than a prison. The bills passed 104 – 6, 104 – 6, 110 – 0, and 108 – 2.
2019-Mar4055I voted for House Bill 4055, which would require that property taxes be paid on a parcel before being divided. Currently local governments may have difficulty collecting delinquent property taxes when a parcel is split and new parcel numbers are created. It passed unanimously.
2119-Mar4060I voted no on House Bill 4060, which would designate a portion of M-10 in Detroit the “Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway.” Highway memorial bills are to honor our fallen heroes, soldiers and police officers, whose names might otherwise slip from our collective memory but whose sacrifice should be remembered. Aretha Franklin was a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and is among the top-selling recording artists of all time. She will be a part of Detroit history forever. I don’t support the Memorial Highway Act being used in this way. The bill passed 101 – 6.
22-3019-Mar4007 – 4016I voted for House Bills 4007 through 4016, which are similar to bills passed in 2017, that would create a new Legislative Open Records Act to provide for public inspection of records of the legislature and the governor beginning next year. As they did two years ago, all of the bills passed unanimously. (The package did not pass the Senate in the previous term.) The bills largely mirror current provisions in the Freedom of Information Act, with some reasonable exceptions. This would greatly expand transparency for both the legislature and governor. As President James Madison said, “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both.”
3119-Mar3I voted for Senate Bill 3, which would allow court officers and deputy sheriffs to execute writs of restitution (eg evictions) and specifies procedure for removing occupants and personal property from the premises. Current law does not specify who can be authorized to carry out the eviction or what to do with the property. Often property left on the curb and is frequently stolen. This will ensure evictions are executed by court officers trained in proper procedure. It passed 106 – 1.
3220-Mar4077I voted for House Bill 4077, which would move of the effective start and end dates for a commercial rehabilitation certificate if the qualified local government failed to forward the application to the State Tax Commission. This became an issue when a company received timely approval for a commercial rehabilitation exemption certificate from the City of Flint, but the City filed the application late, causing the taxable value of a property to reflect the 2018 value rather than the 2017 value. It wasn’t the fault of the business and all parties involved intended for the tax abatement to be realized. The bill passed 102 – 4.
33 & 3420-Mar4366 & 4367I voted for House Bills 4366 and 4367, which would allow trained library employees to administer opioid antagonists and provide some liability protection for those doing so. Because public libraries are open to all and offer solitude for extended periods, they are tragically becoming places for people to take opioids. The bills only create voluntary provisions and might help libraries cope with this emerging crisis. It’s sad what this has come to. The bills passed unanimously.
3520-Mar4296I voted for House Bill 4296, which would extend the sunset on e-filing court fees another ten years, through February 2031. The e-filing system was created in 2015 to implement statewide electronic fling for Michigan courts. The fees, which range from $5 for small claims to $25 for circuit, probate, and appeals courts, fund the entire e-filing system. E-filing improves service to the public, increases access to courts, and reduces the cost of filing for litigants. The bill passed unanimously.
36HB 4014I voted for House Bill 4014, which is part of the Legislative Open Records Act package we passed month, to provide for public inspection of records of the legislature and the governor beginning next year. The sponsor of this bill was in the hospital when the package was voted on, so the vote on it was postponed (she has made a full recovery). The bill passed 109 – 0.
37-42HB 4102-4107I voted for House Bills 4102 through 4107, which would include cryptocurrency as a form of currency as it is defined in various crimes. This is essentially to keep up with technology, since the old definitions of money simply did not include cryptocurrency. This created a loophole for people engaging in criminals acts like drug trafficking, embezzlement, and money laundering. The bills passed 108 – 1.
43HB 4226I voted for House Bill 4226, which would cap the redemption fee that may be charged to a borrower reclaiming his property at $250. That is on top of the sale price of the property, the interest from the purchaser’s mortgage, the $50 sheriff’s fee, back taxes, liens, and so on. The $250 is for the purchaser’s designee’s trouble in calculating the total amount required to redeem the property. The issue is that the designee can currently set this price arbitrarily high and the redeeming owner has no avenue to challenge the amount of the fee. This would enable a purchaser to essentially block a redemption by setting an exorbitant fee. $250 is reasonable and homeowners going through the hardship of foreclosure. shouldn’t be ripped off at the moment they are saving their homes. The bill passed 108 – 1.
44HB 4121I voted for House Bill 4121, which would make permanent a bill that will expire at the end of this coming June that would allow county treasurers to continue to enter into tax foreclosure avoidance agreements with property owners for terms of up to five years. This is a successful program that has helped countless citizens avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. It passed unanimously.
45,46HB 4224I voted for House Bills 4224 and 4225, which would exempt hospices from a law we passed last term to require a “bona fide doctor-patient relationship” (defined by certain requirements) be established before a doctor could prescribe opioids. I was one of only 8 members of the House that voted against passing that law (SB 270 of 2017) at the time, concerned about unintended consequences, and I noted it was a violation of medical freedom and privacy. Shortly after its passage, we discovered, sure enough, this would cause suffering to many people in hospice care. These bills exempt hospices to relieve the suffering of those individuals. The bills passed unanimously.
47SB 203I voted for Senate Bill 203, which would clarify that “applicants” for cannabis business licenses include managing employees, partners, spouse, and those holding a 10% or greater ownership interest. This reverted a recently-changed definition that would have otherwise required the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board to perform criminal background checks on each and every personal involved with a prospective facility, rather than only those with a 10% or more interest. It passed 109 – 1.
49HB 4051I voted no on House Bill 4051, which would create a “CARES” (Community, Access, Resources, Education, and Safety) hotline at a cost of $1 million to $2.5 million annually to operate. The hotline would refer individuals who do not know where to turn for help to local services or health facilities with available providers. It’s not clear to me that the public would even know about it, and use it if they did. We already have a 2-1-1 hotline that connects people to community services, crisis services, healthcare, and many other types of community support. The bill passed 99 – 8.
50HB 4156I voted for House Bill 4156, which would allow retired mental health professionals to return to work without forfeiting their pension benefits. This would help address the shortage of mental health professionals. Those retirees earned and deserve their pension and that should not disqualify them from being able to work for pay. It passed unanimously.
51HB 4206I voted for House Bill 4206, which would make an exception to the required minimum number of school days due to the brutal winter we had with many more snow days than usual. It would allow districts to count a day as pupil instruction in the event the school was closed due to a declared state of emergency. School districts have construction projects waiting to be started as soon as school ends for the summer and those need to be completed before school starts again in the fall. Districts shouldn’t be punished for unpredictable weather emergencies. It passed 101 – 7.
52HB 4440I voted no on House Bill 4440, which would prevent an applicant for a medical marijuana facility from receiving a license if they had operated the facility with an invalid license as of this June. Since passing medical (and now recreational) marijuana laws, the state has had ongoing problems with licensing these facilities. In January, 72 unlicensed medical marihuana facilities were shut down by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Subsequently, the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board adopted a resolution to allow unlicensed facilities to reopen until March 31st while the department worked through the backlog of applicants. Three different lawsuits were filed in the Court of Claims against the state by unlicensed facilities. On March 28th, the Court of Claims issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the state from shutting down unlicensed facilities until the case can be decided. This legislation would essentially force these facilities to shut down until this litigation and licensing is worked through (which could take an unknown number of months if not years). It’s unfair to force these facilities out of business and this legislation may amount to “guild protection” for those currently licensed. The bill passed 102 – 4.
5323-AprHB 4118I voted no on House Bill 4118, which would authorize unposted 25 mph speed limits on non-subdivision streets. In 2016, we passed legislation with stronger requirements to post realistic and safer speed limits on most main collectors, arterials, and highways. A key provision was excluding main collector and arterial streets running adjacent to or between subdivisions from being part of them and subject to statutory and unposted 25 mph speed limits. It was no longer legal to set speed limits below the 50% percentile speeds of traffic since doing so defines over half of drivers as violators. Michigan does not have 50% bad drivers. This bill would allow 25 mph limits where no speed limits are posted and most drivers, likely unaware of the new law, would be unfairly ticketed for exceeding a low and unposted speed limit they have no reasonable expectation of knowing. It passed 106 – 4.
5424-AprSB 2I voted for Senate Bill 2, which would require a criminal conviction before proceeding with civil asset forfeiture. This is the latest of several bills on this issue, all of which I supported. You can’t take someone’s property if you haven’t even charged them with a crime. It passed 107 – 3.
55-7025-Apr4133-4146, 4443, & 4452I voted for House Bills 4133-4146 and 4443 and 4452, which amend various laws to make it so that 17-year-old are not automatically charged with crimes as adults. Michigan is one of just four states that automatically charges all 17-year-olds as adults, no matter the severity of the crime. This would not prevent minors who commit violent crimes from being prosecuted as adults. Prosecutors will continue to have some discretion, allowing them to place minors who commit violent crimes into the adult system when it’s appropriate. We should seek to a more standard delineation between juveniles and adults, and 18 is the age of majority. This would keep most 17-year-old offenders in the juvenile justice system, allowing them to receive age-appropriate rehabilitation services and education. The bills passed by a range of 101 – 9 to 109 – 1.
71 & 7225-AprSB 122 & 202I voted for Senate Bills 122 and 202, which would maintain the current percentage that teacher evaluations take “student growth” into consideration at 25%. Since the 2015-16 school year, 25 percent of the annual year-end evaluation has been based on student growth and assessment data. Beginning in the current school year, the percentage is set to increase from 25% to 40%. There is a lack of evidence showing student growth indicates teacher effectiveness and most states use it as a factor at or below 25%, if at all. It’s not good to constantly whipsaw our schools by changing the evaluation standards, and these bills would keep things the same, if only for one more year. They passed 109 – 1.
73 & 7425-AprHB 4001 & 4002I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bills 4001 and 4002, which I voted for previously, to require a criminal conviction before proceeding with civil asset forfeiture. The Senate gave the bills immediate effect, and for some reason removed language from one bill and moved it into the other. Concurrence passed 107 – 3.
75, 7630-AprHB 4152 & 4153I voted for House Bills 4152 and 4153, which would provide that an individual born to unmarried parents prior to 1979 would be ale to search for their birth record at their local registrar at no additional fee. Before October 1, 1978, if a child was born to unmarried parents, the birth certificate would only be filed with the state registrar, which costs more time, money, and travel to obtain. This legislation would make it possible for them to obtain the records locally by having their local registrar obtain the information from the state. It passed unanimously.
771-MayHB 4206I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4206, to not require schools make up some of the days missed due to snow emergencies this past winter. The Senate removed a provision that would have required schools pay hourly employees for the days they did not work. Local school districts would still have this option. If the concurrence vote failed, schools would likely have had to make up those missed days, extending the school year into late June. Concurrence passed 56 – 53.
78, 792-MayHB 4031 & 4032I voted for House Bills 4031 and 4032, which would simplify and generally reduce the fees parolees and probationers pay to a flat $30 monthly fee or $60 for supervision involving tethering systems. The fees would be waived for indigent persons. Currently, the courts use a sliding scale that assesses fees based on projected monthly income, up to $135 per month for those earning $2700 per month or more. Currently those on tether could be charged as much as $555 a month. Reducing supervision fees will result in more offenders being able to pay them. The bills passed unanimously.
802-MayHB 4120I voted for House Bill 4120, which would allow county road commissions to finance the purchase of property over 30 years instead of the current limit of 15 years. Giving county road commissions more flexibility on property purchase payments will allow for more money to be spent directly on road repairs.While this could potentially lead to more long-term financial liability, this is the road commissions’ responsibility and road repairs are urgently needed today. The bill passed 103 – 6.
817-MayHB4131I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4131, which I voted for previously, making it a misdemeanor to assist a parolee in attempting to leave a medical facility in which the parolee has agreed to be placed as a condition of parole. This was part of the package allowing for paroling the medically frail to hospitals. The Senate clarified that this does not apply to nursing staff performing required duties. Concurrence passed 109 – 1.
82 & 837-MayHB 4304 & 4305I voted for House Bills 4304 and 4305, which would update state law for child support orders to bring it in compliance with federal rules by allowing the use of public health coverage for a child who is subject to a support order by a parent subject to the support order. In December 2016 the federal government changed the definition of healthcare in a rule to include public healthcare coverage. This means that public coverage is now an option to parents that cannot afford or do not have access to private healthcare coverage through an employer or self-employed plan. Michigan law does not currently reflect these changes and does not allow for public health coverage as an option in child support orders. This change was needed to maintain compliance with federal law and not risk losing $400 million in federal funding. It passed unanimously.
848-MayHB 4397I voted for House Bill 4397, to reform Michigan’s auto insurance law that has caused Michiganders to pay by far the highest auto insurance prices in the country. Auto insurance is one of the only, if not the only, instances where the government requires people to buy the “highest tier” of a given product. Under the new plan, people will be able to choose between $50,000, $250,000, $500,000 or unlimited medical coverage. If an injured driver who was not at fault reaches their coverage limit they would be able to sue the at-fault driver for medical and economic damages. It also creates a fee schedule for No Fault medical benefits and attendant care benefits based on the Workers Comp fee schedule. There are additional details I will explain in depth in my next monthly e-newsletter. Our car insurance system is the largest issue holding our state back from further growth. For each day that passes without long-overdue change, some Michigan families are left with the tough decision of either putting food on the table or properly insuring their car. That’s the nightmare some of our constituents are stuck living in. The House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates gave everyone an opportunity to discuss solutions and after 4 months of an open process we came up with a genuine solution to make car insurance affordable for all Michigan motorists. It passed 61 – 49. Thank you, Speaker Chatfield and Chairman Wentworth, for your leadership on this critical issue.
85 & 8614-MayHB 4320 & 4321I voted for House Bills 4320 and 4321, which would prohibit abortion by dismemberment. As described by an abortionist before the House Judiciary Committee, in dismemberment abortion “the fetal parts are removed using forceps or grasping tools until the uterus is completely emptied.” Asked to clarify in what order “fetal parts” were removed, the doctor responded that the “parts” are removed in “whatever order is safest for the mother,” typically “whatever is closest to the opening.” Usually performed in the second trimester, these “fetal parts” are the limbs of a developing baby being torn off, hence the term. Dismemberment abortion is a brutal and barbaric procedure, carried out with wanton disregard for the suffering of the child being killed. While the Supreme Court has disgracefully legalized the killing of unborn children, the very least we can do for these developing babies is to end their lives humanely — not by breaking off their limbs and leaving them to bleed to death. They passed 58 – 51.
8714-MayHB 4045I voted for House Bill 4045, which would increase the maximum bounty a county can offer for information leading to the arrest or conviction of a person posing a threat to public safety. The $2,000 was limit established in 1927 and money is worth far less today due to the Federal Reserve. HB 4045 would increase the limit to $20,000. No county is ever obligated to offer a reward; this just gives them the option to offer more. It passed unanimously.
8814-MayHB 4306I voted no on House Bill 4306, which would require advertised foreclosure notices include the address of the property and contact information of the foreclosing attorney, as well as additional notices such as the fact that the forecloseing attorney is a debt collector and that homeowners can contact MSDHA to find resources to assist them. Most of these details are already standard practice, and as the Michigan Poverty Law Program noted in its testimony, not one homeowner reported to them that he or she was notified of the foreclosure by picking up the newspaper. They receive the notices from a letter they receive from the foreclosing attorney. Moreover, including a street address could help foreclosure rescue scammers locate distressed homeowners and target them with false promises of saving their home. I am concerned that it was newspapers that appeared to support the bill (they make money from these required publications) and no poverty or housing advocates. It passed 107 – 2.
8914-MayHB 4510I voted for House Bill 4510, which would require the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to allow variations to safety equipment on an elevator if the director of the agency believes that reasonable safety will be secured. This would allow for quicker processing of applications for changes to update existing elevators. Some hotels have been required to shut down several of their elevators which, if built new today, would meet all requirements and generally be approved, but because the ASME safety code state that any alteration to an elevator not specifically covered in the rules shall not diminish the level of safety below what it was prior to alteration. This is an unnecessary and burdensome regulation hurting local businesses with elevators. The bill passed 57 – 52.
9015-MaySB 106I voted for Senate Bill 106, which would prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and make it illegal for a minor to possess e-cigarettes and their components, and for furnishing these products to minors. This does not classify them as tobacco products. While these nicotine extracts may not have the same harmful effects as smoking tobacco, nicotine is the addictive chemical that will lead many to then take up smoking. Of course, most smokers begin as minors. The bill passed 100 – 9.
9115-MaySB 155I voted no on Senate Bill 155, which would require child safety features on liquid nicotine containers and require stores keep e-cigarette and vaping products in a locked case. I don’t generally support these kinds of cumbersome rules for businesses to follow, and as Rep. Beau LaFave (who is an amputee) noted, they burden people with disabilities. It passed 99 – 10.
9215-MayHB 4227I voted for House Bill 4227, which would create an advisory-only committee to study the future of mineral mining in Michigan, similar to a strategic committee formed in Minnesota in 2004 whose reports helped guide long-term and sustainable mining goals there. The committee is required to issue a final report within 2 years after enactment, dissolves the committee 60 days after that, and this act repealed 90 days later. The committee would consist of ten members appointed by the governor. The bill passed 107 – 1.
9321-MayHB 4056I voted for House Bill 4056, which would allow properly trained state and local correction officers to carry and administer opioid agonists. Prescription dug abuse has become one of the fast growing public health concerns. With the ever-increasing number of opiates on the market, the likelihood of a person overdosing continues to rise. Corrections officers should have the same tools and medications police officers and emergency service personnel have to respond to drug overdoses. It passed unanimously.
9421-MayHB 4095My legislation to allow more children (10 instead of 6) into residential foster homes on large (20+ acre) parcels was passed by the House with more than two thirds voting in support! If the Senate approves and Governor Whitmer signs it into law, this is one small but tremendous step we can take to address the foster care crisis in Michigan. This common sense bipartisan legislation has faced surprising hurdles at every step, but throughout the process, Local Government Chairman Representative Jim Lower helped move this legislation forward to do the right thing for these needy children. Thank you Representative Lower for your hard work and support for this bill.
95-9722-MayHB 4189-4191I voted for House Bills 4189 through 4191, which would prohibit the MEDC and Strategic Fund (corporate welfare agencies) from amending any outstanding “MEGA” tax credit agreements if doing so would increase the liability to the state or extend the duration of the agreements, but allow existing benefits to be transferred in the event of an acquisition. These bills limit the financial liability to the state by capping the value and reducing the duration of the credits, and the remaining credits that were already awarded to an existing company should not be relinquished because a company changes hands. This helps preserve Michigan jobs without costing taxpayers more money. The bills passed 106 – 3.
98 & 9924-MayHB 4444 & 4445I voted for House Bills 4444 and 4445, which would update the state Freedom of Information Act to allow state agencies make public records available in an electronic format to meet the publishing requirement and expand the definition of non-paper media to include all media, not just “computer discs” and “computer tapes.” This is a common sense update for technology to allow a transition to faster and more cost-effective media. The bills passed unanimously.
10024-MayHB 4434I voted for House Bill 4434, which would lower the penalty for carrying a handgun with an expired Conceal Pistol License to be a civil infraction as long as the CPL is expired less than one year and the person is still eligible to renew the CPL. Also, the fine would be waived if the license is updated within 60. Under current law, carrying with a CPL that is lapsed even one day is a felony, which is wildly unreasonable and inappropriate for what is essentially a paperwork error. This bill would make it a simple “fix it ticket” for honest, well-intended people who are qualified to carry a handgun (and frankly should not need permission from the government to do so in the first place.) This is an important piece of mind protection for all responsible CPL holders. It passed 90 – 19. I salute Rep. Matt Hall for his leadership on this issue.
10124-MayHB 4331I voted for House Bill 4331, which would allow people to transport loaded firearms in any vehicle, including ATVs, on private land as long as they are accompanied by or have permission from the landowner. Currently people are prohibited from transporting or possessing a loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle, unless the firearm is unloaded and enclosed in a case, or unloaded and carried in the trunk of a vehicle, or unloaded in a motorized boat. This would bring Michigan into compliance with the Second Amendment. A hunter with a firearm who is simply traveling to or from a blind on private property is doing nothing wrong. This bill would also benefit farmers as well as hunters; farmers often need easy access to a firearm to protect crops and livestock from nuisance animals. The bill passed 67 – 42.
10224-MayHB 4407I voted for House Bill 4407, which would allow a district court magistrate to hear and preside over civil infractions under the state’s marijuana laws. Currently magistrates can’t do this, so these issues must go before a judge. This will save court and taxpayer costs in resolving these violations. It passed 108 – 1.
10324-MayHB 4249I voted for House Bill 4249, which would codify the current rules for multi-line phone systems and limit the authority of the public service commission to make new rules. The proposed new rules, which would require every phone terminal in an office transmit exact location data to police in a 9-1-1 call, would impose millions in new compliance costs when a caller currently can just tell the operator his or her location. This is unnecessary new red tape on rapidly aging land line technology. The bill passed 106 – 3.
10424-MayHB 4412I voted no on House Bill 4412, to prohibit the sale of dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medicines, to minors. While DXM is technically an opioid, it has no effect on pain reduction, does not act on the opioid receptors, and is not addictive. DXM has been around since the 1950s and it’s not at all clear that the drug which the FDA says is safe and effective and the DEA does not regulate has risen to the level to require policing by the state and additional rules for retailers. The bill passed 104 – 5.
10524-MaySB 1I voted for Senate Bill 1, to overhaul Michigan’s auto insurance law. This is similar to House Bill 4397 passed weeks earlier, but with various compromises made with the governor that unfortunately will provide less rate relief and restrict the consumer choices in the House version of the bill. The biggest change is that instead of providing a consistent fee schedule uniformly applied at the Workers Compensation rate, the new fee schedule won’t take effect for another two years and most of the treatments would be compensated at 190% of the Medicare rate (which is about 40% higher than Worker’s Compensation). The option to opt out of personal injury coverage was eliminated for drivers unless they are on Medicare or have private health insurance covering their entire household including auto coverage and a deductible lower than $6,000 per person. (In other words, those that most need rate relief can’t get it.) The 50k coverage option was eliminated except for those on Medicaid. Everyone else must have at least $250k in personal injury coverage (by comparison, New York requires $50k, New Jersey requires $15k, Florida requires $10k, and Massachusetts requires $8k). Because of the inflated fee schedule, the rate rollbacks were reduced, so where the House-passed bill offered a 60% PIP rate rollback on the $250k coverage option, the compromise bill offered only a 35% reduction. While I’m disappointed the governor has weakened the legislation with these changes, this is still an improvement for Michigan motorists and the first chance we’ve had in a long time to offer some rate relief. The bill passed 94 – 15.
1064-JunSB 239I voted for Senate Bill 239, which would allow mortuary science students to perform an embalming under the supervision of a licensed mortician. Currently, on licensed morticians and resident trainees are allowed to perform embalmings. Hands-on experience is an important aspect of training and the law shouldn’t discourage these activities.Also, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has adopted the American Board of Funeral Services Education manual which requires students to perform embalmings. This is in conflict with current law that prohibits students from performing embalmings. The bill passed unanimously.
1074-JunHB 4397I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 4397, to reform Michigan’s auto insurance law. Since Senate Bill 1, which would also reform auto insurance, was signed by the governor, this substitute bill removes most of the original language that was passed by the House and replaces it with specific sections that required updated language. This new language was technical in nature; for example, section 3135 of SB 1 codified the legal precedent pertaining to the verbal threshold of death, serious impairment of body, or permanent serious disfigurement. An enacting section was added to give effect to this court decision. This section was intended for SB 1 but was not included. I am disappointed that in compromising with the governor the original version of this bill was significantly weakened, but this is the best we could do. Concurrence passed 89 – 20.
108 & 1096-JunHB 4549 & 4550I voted for House Bills 4549 and 4550, which would allow child welfare caseworkers access to confidential records for the children and families they work with. They would also allow national accreditation programs to access confidential information while doing onsite visits at a child welfare agency. Current law is not clear on access to confidential information by caseworkers. Without this access, caseworkers might not be aware of critical information. For example, a child in foster care may have a condition that needs medication. Without access to medical records, the caseworker may not know that the medication is required for the child’s health. The bills passed unanimously.
1106-JunSB 150I voted no on Senate Bill 150, which would spend $28.7 million for various unrelated purposes, some of which I have a problem with. It would provide $5 million for radio, TV, and gas station ads to encourage the “hardest to reach” populations to participate in the census, $400,000 for the Attorney General investigation into the Catholic clergy to preserve documents, $2 million to subsidize fruit and vegetable purchases with SNAP benefits, and $5 million to “implement recreational marijuana,” among other things. It did include good things, such as $163,000 for tornado damage relief in Shiawassee County and the long-overdue appropriation of $10 million for wrongfully convicted prisoner compensation, which I strongly supported as a stand-alone bill, but I do not support rolling their owed compensation to a “must-pass” spending bill where we are forced to vote on all of this or none of it. It passed 107 – 2.
11111-JunSB 112I voted for Senate Bill 112, which would clarify who can make a determination that property has been abandoned (such as in an eviction). This would allow a court officer, bailiff, sheriff, or deputy sheriff (as well as the owner, as is now permitted) to make a good-faith determination that the tenant has abandoned the premises and after diligent inquiry has reason to believe the tenant does not intend to return and current rent is unpaid. This will protect property owners and tenants by allowing a neutral party to verify that property is abandoned. The bill passed unanimously.
112 – 11611-JunHB 4229, 4238, 4616, 4615, 4231I voted for House Bills 4229, 4231, 4238, 4615, and 4616, which are budget bills for the Departments of Agriculture, Corrections, Judiciary, State Police, and Military and Veterans Affairs, respectively.This is an early step in the budget negotiation process; details will later be negotiated with the Senate and Governor Whitmer. The governor asked taxpayers for more money for several new government programs. Instead, we’re taking a hard look at state government spending and finding even more ways to deliver better value for hardworking taxpayers. That will be our priority as the budget process continues. We are asking many state departments to find a savings of 3 percent in their administrative budgets. That is money for bureaucrats in Lansing, not programs in our local communities. The votes were largely along party lines but we anticipate compromises will be made as the process continues.
117 – 12112-JunHB 4230, 4234, 4235, 4237, 4239I voted for House Bills 4230, 4234, 4235, 4237, and 4239, which are budget bills for community colleges, general government, and the Departments of Health and Human Services, Insurance and Financial Services, and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.This is an early step in the budget negotiations. The votes were largely along party lines but we anticipate compromises will be made as the process continues.
12212-JunSB 129I voted for Senate Bill 129, which would allow a local government to prohibit intentionally using drones in a manner that interferes with a commercial use of horses, and only then if the government also prohibits the use of motor vehicles (i.e. this would only apply to Mackinac Island). Law enforcement, utilities, insurance adjusters, and licensed news reporters are exempted. Harassing the island’s horses with a drone can startle them and put the public at risk, and intentionally interfering with commerce is generally unlawful anyway. The bill passed 95 – 12.
135 – 14319-JunHB 4229, 4231, 4232, 4236, 4238, 4239, 4241, 4242I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendments to the various budget bills, as did all of my House colleagues on both sides of the aisle. This is a standard procedural vote that triggers the creation of the “conference committee” where the House and Senate get together to negotiate the differences. The budget negotiations will continue.
14419-JunHB 4509I voted for House Bill 4509, which would allow an LLC comprised of only one or two people to be represented in an eviction case by one of its members if that person has direct and personal knowledge of the facts of the case, subject to a few condition, rather than having to hire an attorney. This would simplify legal proceedings and save money for small, family-owned property management companies. The facts of an eviction case are often very straightforward (e.g. the tenant hasn’t paid rent) and shouldn’t require an attorney. It passed 62 – 47.
145, 148, & 15219-JunHB 4374 & 4383I voted no on House Bills 4374 and 4383, which would make it criminal for someone to intentionally use their professional position of authority to prevent, or attempt, another from reporting criminal sexual conduct to police or a Title IX coordinator at a college. These bills are clearly aimed at addressing the Michigan State University sexual abuse scandal, but while we cannot change the past, we need to consider whether this would actually prevent someone from interfering with reporting a sex crime. It’s hard to imagine a predator involved in a sexual abuse conspiracy would be deterred from preventing another from reporting the crimes because that would be an additional offense. Instead of putting a new and very specific law on the books, a better approach would have been to reexamine our extortion law and ensure that all attempts to coerce another into not reporting a crime be covered. The bills passed 108 – 1.
146 & 14919-JunHB 4376 & 4108I voted no on House Bills 4376 and 4108, which would make athletic trainers and physical therapists “mandatory reporters” required to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the Child Protective Services (CPS). I’m not generally comfortable with the notion that someone should be sanctioned or fired for failing to initiate a criminal investigation against another person, but at least those currently required to make these reports — police, doctors, child care providers — are likely to be trained to identify child abuse. Most physical therapists don’t work with children. It’s an odd notion that there are athletic trainers and physical therapists out there that see child abuse but do not report it because they are not required to. This is an effort to address the MSU sexual abuse scandal but it’s not clear to me that these bills would prevent such a thing from happening again. They passed 106 – 3 and 107 – 2 respectively.
14719-JunHB 4377I voted for House Bill 4377, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services create and distribute training materials for mandatory child abuse reporters and require their employers make these materials available to them. It is important that DHHS make their requirements known to those affected by the requirement, and it’s not a great burden on employers to simply share documents with their employees. It passed unanimously.
15019-JunHB 4451I voted no on House Bill 4451, which would require insurers cover prescription eye drop refills if 23 days have passed from the most recent refill or prescription distribution, or if 75% of dosage has been consumed according to the prescription. Reportedly this is because have trouble taking eye drops and run out of the medicine early due to spillage. Why should the insurer be required to pay for this? It passed 105 – 4.
15119-JunHB 4408I voted for House Bill 4408, which would allow a Parks and Rec board that does not levy taxes to be audited only once every two years instead of every year. The current auditing requirement is burdensome when they are operating on a small budget and this will save them money that can be used on providing more park services instead of being consumed complying with an annual audit. It passed unanimously.
153 – 16019-JunSB 134, 137, 138, 139, 141, 144, 147, & 149I voted for Senate Bills 134, 137, 138, 139, 141, 144, 147, and 149. These are various departmental budgets for the upcoming year. 134 was community colleges, 137 was DEQ, 138 was general government, 139 was DHHS, 141 was DIFS, 144 was military/veterans affairs, 147 was state police, and 149 was transportation. These are all procedural votes on the Senate budget that will later be negotiated with the House and Governor. The bills all passed essentially on party lines. The budget process continues.
16119-JunSB 294I voted for Senate Bill 294, which would exempt the interior space of an outdoor viewing area from the heating requirement in the construction code. Without this, schools would have to divert resources towards heating these structures or else tear them down. This is unnecessary and adds costs to schools for a structure that isn’t often used. The bill passed 57 – 52.
16219-JunSB 128I voted for Senate Bill 128, which would change the definition of a “bona fide doctor-patient relationship” by adding the definition of telehealth. This was a technical update and passed unanimously.
16320-JunHB 4234I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4234, which was converted from a budget bill into a $15 million farm bailout. Understandably, it’s unfortunate for farmers that we had a very rainy spring that has harmed them, but every industry has unexpected, uncontrollable events that impact them, and it’s not to only give one particular industry special treatment when these matters are typically addressed by insurers. Concurrence passed 99 – 6.
164 & 16520-JunHB 4728/9I voted for House Bills 4728 and 4729, which were the combined budget plans for the House. This is the compiled version of all of the departmental budget bills we passed and this, again, is a procedural vote to bring negotiations forward. It passed along party lines, 57 – 52.
16620-JunHB 4223I voted no on house Bill 4223, which would require children receive dental screenings before entering kindergarten and create a dental oral assessent program to administer the screenings. This would cost the Department of Health and Human Services millions of dollars annually to police parents. This is unnecessary and overbearing. It passed 93 – 16.
16720-JunHB 4121I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4121, to eliminate the sunset on tax foreclosure avoidance agreements, which I voted for previously. The Senate changed the bill to extend the sunset by seven more years rather than eliminate it entirely. Concurrence passed unanimously.
16820-JunHB 4225I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4225, which I voted for previously, to exempt patients in hospice care for the “bona fide doctor-patient relationship” required under a recent law to prescribe opioids. The Senate version changed the tie-bar on another bill from the House to a Senate bill (this makes no difference, but the Senate sponsor gets the credit for the bill becoming a law). Concurrence passed unanimously.
16920-JunHB 4227I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4227, which I voted for previously, to create an advisory committee at no cost to study the future of minerals mining in Michigan. The Senate simply updated the name of the Department of Environmental Quality to reflect its new name, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Concurrence passed 108 – 1.
17020-JunHB 4694I voted for House Bill 4694, which would allow retired teachers to serve as renewal coaches or high impact leadership facilitiators for grant-funded projects without impacting their retirement. There is a shortage of people to fill these critical roles and I don’t see a conflict in someone who has already earned and is collecting retirement pay from also working for pay. It passed 102 – 7.
17120-JunHB 4411I voted for House Bill 4411, which would allow a credit service organization to not perform agreed-upon services within 90 days if the agreement may be canceled by the buyer, the buyer agrees to periodic payments for ongoing services, and the agreement involves the improvement of one’s credit over time. Current, a credit services organization is required to perform an agreed-upon service with no exceptions, even if the buyer doesn’t want the services and the organization is providing ongoing services. The bill passed 108 – 1.
172 & 17320-JunHB 4069 & 4465I voted for House Bills 4069 and 4465, which would clarify that alternative energy systems aren’t taxed as property. The General Property Tax Act already excludes increases for normal repairs, replacements, and maintenance in determining the true cash value of a property. This includes furnaces, gas burners, and hot water heaters. In addition, liquefied petroleum gas tanks are exempt from personal property taxes. Solar panel owners just got burned by the Public Service Commission denying them equal rates for the energy they put into the grid and the energy they take out, so I’m not opposed to giving them the same tax treatment as other energy systems here. The bills passed 106 – 3 and 107 – 2 respectively.
17420-JunHB 4044I voted for House Bill 4044, which would prohibit someone from being licensed as an insurance agent if they have been convicted of a financial or violent felony, or any felony in the past 10 years. Passed unanimously.???
17520-JunHB 4446I voted for House Bill 4446, which would update and clarify campaign finance laws with regard to prizes and gifts associated with fundraising. It would codify current practice regarding the use of secondary depositories for the transfer of funds from joint fundraising events. Providing clearer rules and eliminating inconsistencies will help people better understand the campaign finance process. It passed 85 – 24.
177 & 17828-AugHB 4336 & 4574I voted for House Bills 4336 and 4574, which would clarify the authority granted to the Office of the Auditor General to include examination of electronically stored information and confidential information. The bills further clarify that the Auditor General does not have the authority to access and examine information that falls under the attorney/client privilege or any other privilege recognized by law. Currently, there are conflicting interpretations of the statute, which results in the Auditor General being denied access to certain electronically stored information and confidential information. There are some ongoing audits where this interpretation is specifically causing issues. The bills would clarify that the Auditor General is permitted access to electronic and confidential information. They passed 103 – 3.
17929-AugHR115I voted for House Resolution 115, which calls upon Rep. Larry Inman to resign. Rep. Inman was indicted in mid-May by a federal grand jury for soliciting bribes via text message and lying to the FBI about it. Inman then pled as a defense that he is addicted to opioids and was too drugged to understand what he was writing. Even if Rep. Inman is acquitted, he will not be able to provide effective representation for his constituents for the remainder of his term. The people of Grand Traverse County are entitled to representation, which Rep. Inman, through his actions, is no longer able to provide. The resolution was adopted 98 – 8.
18029-AugHB 4570I voted for House Bill 4570, which would designate a portion of I-69 the Bataan and Corregidor Veterans Memorial Highway. On December 7, 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 200th Coast Artillery Regiment from New Mexico, stationed in the Philippines on the Bataan peninsula and the Island of Corregidor, were attacked by the Japanese Imperial Army. In the months and years that followed the approximately 75,000 Americans and Filipinos experienced unrelenting combat, a 70-mile death march to prison camps, and three years of imprisonment for those who survived. Now 78 years later, there has been little recognition of these heroes, many who lost their lives in the fight for freedom. The bill passed unanimously.
1813-SepHB 4018I voted for House Bill 4018, which would increase the fine for illegally taking sturgeon. Lake sturgeon are a unique fish species in Michigan and listed as a threatened species. They can grow up to 200 pounds seven feet long. Their typical lifespan is 55 years for males and 70 to 100 years for females. Commercial fishing of lake sturgeon is currently prohibited in Michigan and sport fishing is closely regulated. Committee testimony revealed that poaching of the lake sturgeon’s egg roe, then discarding of the fish, is a particular problem during the spawn season. The bill passed 107 – 2.
182 & 1834-SepSB 23 & 24I voted no on Senate Bills 23 and 24, to make mail theft, which is already a federal crime, also a state crime. According to the text of the bill (which I always read carefully), it would be a misdemeanor for a first offense and felony for subsequent offenses for anybody to “take, hold, conceal, or destroy mail addressed to another person with the intent to defraud any person *or deprive the person to whom the mail was addressed of the mail.*” While this intends to prevent mail theft, as it is written it would also be a crime to throw out (or even remove from your own mailbox) junk mail addressed to someone that does not live at the address. Reportedly this bill was introduced because federal law enforcement doesn’t adequately enforce laws against mail theft, but I’m not sure that the state government should expend resources enforcing federal laws on federal property, as mailboxes are. That, along with the presumably unintended error sweeping in good people not responsible for mis-delivered mail, led me to vote no. They passed 106 – 3.
184 & 1854-SepHB 4372 & 4373I voted for House Bills 4372 and 4373, which would require the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs investigate an allegation that a health profession was convicted of sexual misconduct under pretext of medical treatment and automatically, permanently revoke such a person’s license. This was one of the recommendations of a House panel inquiry into the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case, to prevent any doctor convicted of sexual misconduct done under the guise of medical treatment never be allowed to practice again. The bills passed 108 – 1.
1864-SepHB 4378I voted for House Bill 4378, which would allow a public body to exempt information from disclosure under FOIA that would reveal the identity of an individual who has filed an anonymous civil lawsuit. The Freedom of Information Act was intended to be a tool for the citizens of the state to keep an eye on their government. It was not intended to be a tool to be used against citizens engaging in the private legal matters. It passed unanimously.
1875-SepHB 4261
1885-SepHB 4081
5-SepHB 4485
5-SepHB 4572
5-SepHB 4611
5-SepSB 169
5-SepSB 362
1895-SepSB 372
20717-SepHB 4446I voted to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 4446, which I voted for previously, to make various clarifications in the state election law with respect joint fundraising and secondary depositories for campaigns. The Senate made 6 minor changes requested by the governor, the most significant being that a candidate committee will still have to have its official depository in a bank in Michigan. The changes were all pretty minor and needed to ensure passage into law. Concurrence passed 82 – 26.
20817-SepSB 452I voted for Senate Bill 452, which inserts a missing reference into the Emergency 911 Service Enabling Act to ensure proper implementation of changes made to the Act in 2018. This was purely a technical correction and it passed unanimously.
209, 211 – 2179/17 – 9/18SB 438 – 445I voted for Senate Bills 438 through 445, which extend the sunset on various fees paid to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for business licenses. These fees fund the department and without them the cost would be paid by taxpayers in general rather than the users directly. Senate Bill 438 passed 106 – 2 and the rest 108 – 1.
21018-SepHB 4190I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4190, which would prohibit the Michigan corporate welfare agency from amending any outstanding MEGA tax credit agreements if the amendments increase the liability to the State or extend the duration of the agreements. This was part of a package to ensure that a certain company didn’t lose an existing credit as the result of an acquisition and the Senate version made more explicit that this only applies to that instance. Concurrence passed 104 – 5.
218 & 2209/18 – 9/19HB 4370 & 4371I voted no on House Bills 4370 and 4371, which would impose various new rules on doctors to ensure they always have “informed consent” for procedures that involve penetration. (This is another package intended to address Larry Nassar’s crimes.) The penalties range from fines to felonies, and one provides up to 180 days in jail for failing to properly fill out a medical record. This is an additional burden on health professionals across Michigan being imposed for the crimes of one doctor who is going to be behind bars for a long time. The bills passed 106 – 3 and 105 – 4.
21919-SepHB 4242I voted to support the conference committee agreement on House Bill 4242: The omnibus School Aid budget for the upcoming Fiscal Year.
221, 222, 22319-SepSB 447I voted for Senate bills 447, 448, and 450, which would extend the sunset on fees for water discharge, electronic recyclers, and livestock dealers. These fees fund the department and without them the cost would be paid by taxpayers in general rather than the users directly. They passed 108 – 1.
22419-SepSB 451I voted for Senate Bill 451, which would extend the Michigan Energy Assistance Program for another four years. The program uses funds from a federal energy assistance program and any funds collected or appropriated, capped at $50 million, to assist those that cannot afford to pay for heat. The bill passed unanimously.
22519-SepHB 4128I voted for House Bill 4128, which would allow a child to change his or her name without the permission of a noncustodial parent, if the non-custodial parent was convicted of first or second degree murder. A child should not be required to carry the name of an individual who commits a crime as heinous as murder, simply because he objects. The bill passed 106 – 3.
22619-SepHB 4209I voted for House Bill 4209, which would allow a township treasurer to name a designee to receive tax payments. This provides flexibility for township treasurers in the event they are unable to be in the office on the required dates. It passed unanimously.
22719-SepHB 4710I voted no on House Bill 4710, which would convert a registration mandate now imposed on acupuncturists into a more comprehensive licensure regime, including training and apprenticeship requirements, license fees, regulations specified in the bill plus additional ones that state licensure officials would be authorized to impose, and more. I don’t support this type of guild protection law that discourages competition and drives up costs. It passed 100 – 9.
23224-SepHB 4468I voted for House Bill 4468, which would allow for Freedom of Information Act requests to be responded to via email if the requester wishes. This is a common-sense update with technology and passed 107 – 1.
23324-SepHB 4406I voted for House Bill 4406, which would allow foster care scholarships to apply toward a training program for future employment rather than a traditional community college or university. Every student deserves the opportunity to succeed and expanding this scholarship to the skilled trades will help them pursue a career they have confidence in. It passed 104 – 4.
23424-SepSB 228I voted no on Senate Bill 228, which would create a 25-member Suicide Prevention Commission to study suicide and make recommendations. This is a large commission (with an unknown cost) to do what experts do already at no cost to taxpayers. It’s unclear what intellectual deficit this would remedy and if it would be the least bit effective. All policy-makers already have the capacity to listen to experts. The bill passed 98 – 10.
228 – 231, 235-24524-SepSB134, 137, 138, 139, 141, 144, 147, 149, HB 4229, 4231, 4232, 4236, 4238, 4239, 4241With one exception I voted for all of the various House and Senate annual budget bills, which would invest more in roads, schools, and other essential services without raising taxes. I thought we had reached a very good compromise with the governor, rolling back some of the more egregious spending increases she proposed, such as massive and undeserved increases in funding for the major universities. I only voted no on the department of environmental quality’s budget, which was increased by $120 million, a 23% total increase that is way out of line with other departments (K-12 education got a 1.8% increase). The bills passed by varying margins, from the Military and Veterans Affairs budget that passed unanimously to the Department of Education budget, which passed 57 – 51. Ultimately, Governor Whitmer signed the budget, but made many cuts and other alterations, which I will be discussing in upcoming posts and my monthly newsletter.
246 – 2482-OctHB 4315 & 4316I voted for House Bills 4315 and 4316, which would increase penalties for disarming a law enforcement officer if accomplished by force or if the officer is injured. Currently, an individual faces a stiffer penalty for committing an unarmed robbery than using force or violence to take a police officer’s firearm. This is disproportionate and the punishment should fit the crime. They passed 106 – 3.
249-2513-OctHB 4389-91I voted no on House Bills 4389-91, which would impose various burdens on fire fighters and their relating to perfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”). PFAS are chemicals used for insulation and fighting fires. 4389 would require fire fighters report to the department of environmental quality every time PFAS was used and that if a fire fighter knows that foam or entered a drain, storm sewer or combined sewer, they are to provide the distance and direction of the point of entry from the location where the foam was used. 4390 would prohibit the use of PFAS in training exercises (so fire fighters would be unfamiliar with it when using it for the first time in a deadly emergency) and 4391 would require MIOSHA develop rules for fire fighters’ use of foams containing PFAS.
2528-OctSB 47I voted for Senate Bill 47, which would exclude solar panels from the assessment of true cash value for a residential property. Property owners who install solar panels should not be penalized with higher taxes. The bill passed 107 – 1.
2538-OctHB 4349I voted for House Bill 4349, which would designate a portion of US-23 in Iosco County as the Peter C. Lemon Highway. Peter C. Lemon received the Congressional Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart. As a solider in Vietnam, he saved the lives of multiple members of his team. After being outnumbered and fending off the enemy, carrying other soldiers to an aid station and receiving numerous wounds in the process, Lemon still refused to be medically evacuated until more seriously wounded comrades had been evacuated first. The bill passed unanimously.
2548-OctH 4731I voted for House Bill 4731, which would designate a portion of M-53 in Macomb County as the SOC Jason R. Freiwald Memorial Highway. SOC Freiwald was a highly decorated Navy SEAL who was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2008. The bill passed unanimously.
2558-OctHB 4325I voted for House Bill 4325, which would clarify the scope of practice for counselors to overrule a proposed rule from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) that would have prohibited licensed counselors from engaging in most aspects of their practices, including administering assessments, diagnosis and treatment planning, behavioral mediation techniques, crisis intervention, and other techniques. This will prevent LARA from effectively putting mental health professionals out of work and reducing access to care. The bill passed unanimously.
25610-OctHB 4549I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4549, which would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to give child welfare caseworkers access to confidential records for the children and families they work with. The Senate added the condition that records made available to an employee would only be “for the extent necessary for the administration of child welfare services in each case.” This is fine and concurrence passed unanimously.
25710-OctHB 4550I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4550, which would update the Guardianship Assistance Act to reference national and state fingerprint-based background checks. The Senate made a technical correction as DHHS received clarification from the federal government that referencing “national and state” was not a specific enough reference. Concurrence passed unanimously.
25810-OctHB 4628I voted for House Bill 4628, which would allow the Secretary of State to remove traffic citation records on a drivers record after 3 years for various minor infractions including, speeding 15 miles or less over the limit, disobeying a traffic signal, driving without insurance, or driving without a seatbelt. By comparison, Indiana and Ohio only hold these records for 2 years; Michigan currently holds them for 7 years. This is excessive for infractions as minor as these. The bill passed 108 – 1.
25910-OctHB 4959I voted no on House Bill 4959, which would amend the Liquor Control Code to work around a residency requirement that the US Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional by replacing it with a physical presence requirement. This may be unconstitutional for the same reason; as the Court said, “Like the other discriminatory residency requirements that the [Tennessee Wine and Spirits] Association is unwilling to defend, the predominant effect of the 2-year residency requirement is simply to protect the Association’s members from out-of-state competition. We therefore hold that this provision violates the Commerce Clause and is not saved by the Twenty-first Amendment.” In any event, I don’t support imposing these requirements that limit competition and therefore raise prices. The bill passed 101 – 8.
260 & 26110-OctHB 4960 & 4961I voted no on House Bills 4960 and 4961, which would prohibit a contract between an alcohol manufacturer and wholesaler from including the disclosure of financial records and business activities. This is a restriction on private contracts where the state isn’t impacted and shouldn’t be involved. It’s common for businesses to negotiate contracts that include requirements to ensure the terms are being met in good faith, and I don’t support this infringement on the freedom to agree to a contract. The bills passed 100 – 8 and 101 – 7.
262 & 26315-OctHB 4516 & 4517I voted for House Bills 4516 and 4517, which would replace the current “handicapped” symbol with one that appears more mobile and independent. It would not mandate the replacement of existing signage but use the new one moving forward. It also directs the Department of Civil Rights to encourage people remove signs that use the term “handicapped”; I disagree with this provision as the term is not derogatory at all, but it expressly says the department may not take any legal action against anybody to coerce them to do so. The bills passed unanimously.
264-27116-OctSB 84, 90, 93, 97, 99 – 102I voted for Senate Bills 84, 90, 93, 97, and 99 through 102, which are parts of a package to specify that except for certain serious offenses, 17-year-olds are to be tried in family courts rather than adult criminal courts. Michigan currently is one of only 4 states left in the country that automatically considers a 17 year-old to be an adult for the purposes of prosecuting any criminal offense. There should be a singular age when one becomes an adult in the eyes of the law and I support these bills to treat minors as such. The bills passed by a range of 98 – 10 to 102 – 7.
272 – 27516-OctHB 4540 – 43I voted for House Bills 4540 through 4543, which would require online retailers with sales in Michigan over a certain amount to collect and remit sales tax, as brick-and-mortar retailers and some online retailers are currently required to do. The Department of Treasury was already requiring this, and it isn’t fair to everyone else that has to collect and pay these taxes. They passed unanimously.
276 – 27916-OctHB 4133, 4140, 4443, 4452I voted to concur with Senate amendments to House Bills 4133, 4140, 4443, and 4452, which I voted for previously, as part of the package to raise the age for sentencing as adults from 17 to 18. The Senate amendments were purely technical and concurrence passed 103 and 104 to 6 and 7.
28022-OctSB 257I voted for Senate Bill 257, which would update the domestic violence deferral statute to reflect changes made in a 2016 law that would otherwise leave open a loophole potentially allowing a person with multiple domestic violence convictions to get a sentence set aside in a manner inconsistent with the intent of the law. This was a presumably unintended oversight and the bill passed unanimously.
281 – 28223-OctHB 4546 – 47I voted for House Bills 4546-47, which would make students eligible for reimbursement for dual enrollment courses taken over the summer. Dual enrollment should be expanded to provide the easiest access for students to take advantage of these great opportunities and the bills passed unanimously.
28329-OctHB 4862I voted for House Bill 4862, which would include health professionals and other employees at health facilities in a voluntary, short-term, peer-based program for critical incident stress management tools for first responders in major emergencies. Currently police, fire fighters, and other first responders only have this access. Physicians, nurses, and other support staff should have the opportunity to confidentiality discuss critical incidents with a group of peers. It passed unanimously.
28429-OctSB 255I voted for Senate Bill 255, which would lower a current 10-day notification delay period to a 2- or 5-day period for notices to the department of environmental quality for moving certain construction aggregate processing materials and equipment. This is a common-sense update to allow for materials to move more quickly now that we can send notices instantly over the Internet. (The original 10-day advance notice requirement was set in 1994). It passed unanimously.
28529-OctHB 5084I voted for House Bill 5084, which would grant temporary authority for people moving from a financial intuition to an employer that isn’t federally insured to continue working as a mortgage loan originator. The licensee would be eligible to continue working under their existing license for 120 days while they work to meet the new licensing requirements. This is common sense as one doesn’t lose the knowledge necessary for licensure because he moves from one company to another. It passed unanimously.
28629-OctHB 4125I voted no on House Bill 4125, which would return the money transferred in the “lame duck” session last year from the school aid fund to a new “Renew Michigan” fund created by then-governor Rick Snyder. I opposed the original bill last year to remove the money from the schools and would have supported returning it to them, except that the bill leaves the “Renew Michigan” program intact, so the general fund simply loses out on the money. We should instead simply repeal the 2018 law and not put other programs in harm’s way. It passed 104 – 5.
28729-OctHB 4335I voted for House Bill 4335, which would allow education for barbers and cosmetologists to be used for both licenses, not just one or the other. The 1,500-hour education requirement for these professions is outrageous and I would support reducing these requirements further than this bill went by only allowing the required training apply toward either license. It passed unanimously.
288-29029-OctHB 4916I voted no on House Bill 4916 – 18, which would allow and establish a comprehensive licensure and regulatory regime for sports betting through Michigan Indian casinos and Detroit casinos, with an 8% tax on the gross receipts of the latter. Detroit casinos could also provide online sports betting. I’m not opposed to allowing sports betting but I do oppose granting a very small number of casinos a monopoly on it. The bills passed with 63-65 in support and 43-45 opposed.
291, 29330-OctHB 4308 – 09I voted no on House Bills 4308 and 4309, which would “legalize” fantasy sports by imposing a comprehensive regulatory structure and fees that would price smaller operators out of business in Michigan. I’m not opposed to legalizing fantasy sports, but players don’t seem to have a problem with current law being silent on the matter. This legislation will eliminate competition to the biggest companies and give players fewer options. The bills passed 67 – 41 and 69-39.
292, 294-29630-OctHB 4310 – 12, 4323I voted no on House Bills 4310 – 12 and 4323, which would permit, tax, and create a comprehensive regulatory regime for Internet gambling. While I don’t oppose online gambling in principle, these bills would grant a monopoly to Detroit and Indian casinos while all other current forms of online gambling would be made expressly illegal in Michigan. I don’t support giving only certain companies the ability to do business, and it’s especially strange that a brick-and-mortar business be given a monopoly on an Internet business. They passed 67 – 41, 62 – 46, 65 – 42, and 64 – 43.
29730-OctHB 4173I voted for House Bill 4173, which would revise regulations on charity gambling events (“millionaire parties”) to encourage more active participation from the charities they support. Originally, these parties were relatively small events held at places such as church festivals or parish halls. As of 2014, however, there were more than 30 permanent poker rooms that hosted multiple millionaire parties each day, and in a recent 3-year period there were at least 4 armed robberies, 47 assaults, three weapons offenses, 72 disorderly persons, and 11 fraud cases at permanent poker rooms, not including ongoing investigations. The bill would codify existing emergency rules to address these issues and the state Gaming Control Board would be required to promulgate new rules and increase oversight of millionaire parties, although it would raise some limits on the ability of real charities to host these parties. The bill passed 104 – 3.
29830-OctSB 530I voted no on Senate Bill 530, which would extend fees for the air quality program with the department of environmental quality and reorganize the fee structure to put a greater emphasis on a per-facility charge and less emphasis on the per-ton emissions fee, while also doubling the number of facility fee categories. The new formula was developed and backed by “representatives of the regulated industry” (e.g. manufacturers, power plants, and mines) who support making smaller entities (e.g. dry cleaners and parts degreasing shops) pay more. The bill passed 107 – 2.
2995-NovHB 4485I voted for House Bill 4485, which would designate a portion of M-10 in Midland the Marine Lance Corporal Steven J. Szymanski Memorial Highway. Marine Lance Corporal Szymanski was killed serving our country in an accident that occurred during a training exercise. The bill passed unanimously.
3005-NovHB 4412I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4412, which would make it illegal for businesses to sell DXM to minors. The Senate delayed the bill going into effect by 6 months, and where the House-passed bill said a first offense would be a warning, a second offense a $50 fine, and a third and subsequent offense a $100 fine, the Senate version says a court can fine them up to $100 for any infraction. These minor changes do not change the essence of the bill. As I said when the House passed it in August, DXM has been around since the 1950s and it’s not at all clear that the drug which the FDA says is safe and effective and the DEA does not regulate has risen to the level to require policing by the state and additional rules for retailers. Concurrence passed 104 – 4.
3015-NovHB 4851I voted for House Bill 4851, which would add to the definition of “qualified error” in the General Property Tax Act to include a denial in the exemption for a disable veteran or their surviving unmarried spouse due to an error made by the local tax collecting unit in the processing of a timely filed exemption affidavit or a delay in the determination by United States Department of Veteran Affairs that a veteran would qualify for the exemption. This will keep veterans from being penalized on their property tax exemption if local tax collecting unit doesn’t process their exemption on time. It passed unanimously.
3025-NovHB 4958I voted for House Bill 4958, which would prohibit pelvic examinations on anesthetized or unconscious patients without informed consent, or court order, or in an emergency. In 2005, the University of Oklahoma found that at least 24% of pelvic examinations on an anesthetized patient occurred without the patient’s consent. Informed consent to a procedure should always be required unless in a case of emergency and the patient is unresponsive. Unless in a case of emergency, no patient should have a pelvic examination done on them unless authorized. It passed unanimously.
3035-NovHB 4689I voted for House Bill 4689, which would allow a school to seek permission from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to install a temporary locking barricade on doors in school buildings. The department would be responsible for adopting standards for the installation of these devices. Temporary door barricades provide an additional safety measure to protect children in the event of an emergency. The bill passed unanimously.
3045-NovB 4912I voted for House Bill 4912, which would allow the John G. Kulhavi Events Center at Central Michigan University and another event center at Western Michigan University to obtain a liquor license. Many state university and community college conference centers have been authorized by statute to obtain liquor licenses for consumption on the premises and this would allow two more. The bill passed 106 – 2.
3055-NovHB 4980I voted for House Bill 4980, which would allow for certain misdemeanor and felony convictions to automatically be expunged from one’s criminal record after a period of years. This is the first of several major bipartisan criminal justice reform bills in a package. Under the bill, a felony conviction must be set aside without the filing of an application if ten years have passed from sentencing or completion of any term of imprisonment for the conviction and the conviction or convictions are otherwise eligible to be set aside. A misdemeanor conviction must be automatically set aside if seven years have passed from sentencing and the conviction or convictions are otherwise eligible to be set aside. Under the bill, not more than 2 felony and 4 misdemeanor convictions may be “automatically” set aside during a person’s lifetime.

The bill does not apply to a conviction for an assaultive crime, serious misdemeanor, crime of dishonesty, an offense punishable by more than 10 years, a felony involving a minor, vulnerable adult, injury or serious impairment, or death, or any violation related to human trafficking. Additionally, automatic set aside does not apply to an individual who has more than 1 conviction for an assaultive crime, and a conviction must not be set aside if there are criminal charges pending against the applicant or the applicant has been convicted of an offense during the ten or seven years prior to an automatic set aside. In other words, the person must be “crime free” during the applicable seven or ten years prior to automatic set aside. Not allowing people to move on from their criminal mistakes places an undue burden on society, as said individuals are often forced to depend on the social safety nets paid for with taxpayer dollars. The bill passed 95 – 13.
3065-NovHB 4981I voted for House Bill 4981, which would allow a court to expunge traffic offenses from one’s criminal record, not including operating while intoxicated offenses, any offense causing injury or death, or commercial motor vehicle violations. Current law already allows for more serious criminal offenses to be expunged, so it makes sense that more minor traffic violations should also be eligible for expungement. It passed 102 – 6.
3075-NovHB 4982I voted for House Bill 4982, which would allow a court to set aside any number of misdemeanor marijuana offenses, if the offense would not have been a crime if committed on or after December 6, 2018 (when the marijuana decriminalization ballot proposal began to take effect). Under the bill, there is a rebuttable presumption that a misdemeanor marijuana-related conviction was based on activity that would not have been a crime. However, this presumption may be rebutted by evidence presented by the prosecuting attorney. This still gives courts discretion, such as when the original conviction was the result of a plea agreement over a more serious original charge, but allows that those convicted of something that is no longer a crime may have their records cleaned. It passed 101 – 7.
3085-NovHB 4983I voted for House Bill 4983, which would require an application to set aside a misdemeanor must be filed 3 or more years after sentencing, probation, or completion of any term of imprisonment for the conviction. An application to set aside 1 or more serious misdemeanors or 1 felony conviction must be filed after 5 or more years. An application to set aside more than 1 felony conviction must be filed 7 or more years after sentencing, completion of probation or parole, or completion of any term of imprisonment. This is part of the expungement reform package in my previous three vote explanations and passed 102 – 6.
3095-NovHB 4984I voted for House Bill 4984, which would expand the number of felony and misdemeanor convictions that are eligible to be set aside by application. Under the bill, a person convicted of 1 or more criminal offenses, but not more than 3 felony offenses, may apply to have all of his or her convictions set aside. However, an applicant may not have more than a total of 2 convictions for an assaultive crime set aside during his or her lifetime. Additionally, an applicant may not have more than 1 felony conviction for the same offense set aside if the offense is punishable by more than 10 years imprisonment. This is part of the expungement reform page and passed 97 – 11.
3105-NovHB 4985I voted for House Bill 4985, which would allow multiple felonies or misdemeanors arising out of the same criminal transaction to be considered as a single felony or misdemeanor for purposes of eligibility for expungement. Under the bill, more than 1 felony offense or misdemeanor offense must be treated as a single conviction if the felonies or misdemeanors were contemporaneous, such that they all occurred within 24 hours and arose from the same transaction. The bill does not apply to an assaultive crime, crime involving the use or possession of a dangerous weapon, or a crime with a maximum penalty of 10 years or more. This is to prevent those otherwise eligible from expungement under this criminal justice reform package to not be disqualified if they were convicted of two offenses but stemming from one actual incident. It passed 98 – 10.
3115-NovHB 5120I voted for House Bill 5120, which provides procedure for setting aside a marijuana conviction under HB 4982 (see my previous vote explanation for that bill). It passed 100 – 8.
3125-NovHB 4687I voted for House Bill 4687, which would remove the ability of the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to issue orders managing deer and elk feeding and baiting and instead allows these practices as a matter of law. The NRC voted to ban baiting and feeding wildlife in certain areas in August 2018 and expanded it to the entire lower peninsula in January of this year. It makes no sense to ban hunters from scattering apples near their deer blinds when every day in nature deer graze on fruit that falls off apple trees. The baiting ban is doing more harm than good by chasing hunting families away from the sport. The sale of hunting and fishing licenses plays an important role in supporting our state’s conservation activities, and hunting enthusiasts play a crucial role in supporting our state’s northern and rural economies. It passed 57 – 49.
3136-NovHB 4209I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4209, which I voted for previously, which would allow a township treasurer to allow a designee to receive township tax payments. The Senate version defined “designee” to mean a deputy treasurer or other individual acting on behalf of the township treasurer who serves the township as an employee or elected official and is approved by the township board to serve as the designee. Concurrence passed unanimously.
3146-NovHB 4408I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4408, which I voted for previously, to allow a recreation authority board that does not levy taxes to be audit every 2 years instead of every 1 year. The Senate narrowed the bill to apply only to an authority that has less than $100,000 in yearly expenditures. Concurrence passed unanimously.
315 & 3166-NovHB 5043 – 44I voted for House Bills 5043 and 5044, which would require a recipient of public mental health services to be notified that they may request mediation and have both parties engage in mediation regarding a dispute against a community mental health services program. The Office of Recipient Rights investigative process may take 90 days and allowing mediation prior to the completed report may save time and money. This simple fix will allow a complainant to utilize dispute resolution/mediation quickly and efficiently. They passed unanimously.
317 & 3186-NovHB 5117 – 18I voted for House Bills 5117 and 5118, which would restore the deadline for someone to file a claim for wrongful imprisonment compensation to 18 months since the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act (WICA). This was the deadline passed by the original Act, but the Court of Claims recently held that provisions in a different statute – the Revised Judicature Act (RJA) – took precedence over the time periods in the WICA. This would overturn the Court of Claims decision and provide hope for those wrongly denied their claims for compensation for having been wrongfully imprisoned. It passed unanimously.
3196-NovHB 4830I voted for House Bill 4830, which would require the Department of Health & Human Services notify ambulance operations of its quality assurance assessment annually, starting next year. Requiring notification to the departments that will be responsible for the quality assurance assessment will ensure the budget is appropriately allocated for the assessment. It passed unanimously.
320 – 3266-NovSB 174, 179 – 183, 361I voted no on Senate Bills 174, 179 through 183, and 361, which would rewrite the Animal Industry Act. These bills make many, many changes, the most contentious being extending the deadline for egg farms to go cage-free by another 5 years (from 2019 to 2024). I’m not sure this is fair to those farms that put in the effort to go cage-free by the original deadline, and I am concerned that the expansion from “livestock” to “animals” throughout the AIA could have unintended consequences. The bills passed by a range of 104 – 6 to 107 – 3, except 174, which passed 74 – 36.
3277-NovHB 4171I voted for House Bill 4171, which would amend the Income Tax Act to clarify that for a joint return, the calculation of taxes of pension and retirement income is based on the older spouse if that spouse is deceased and the surviving spouse is not remarried. The bill provides clarification for an otherwise ambiguous section relating to joint returns and pension deductions. Life occurrences such as the death of a spouse should not significantly impact the tax treatment of surviving spouses. It passed unanimously.

3287-NovSB 320I voted no on Senate Bill 320, which would remove an option that certain licensees can pay a bond to the Liquor Control Commission to obtain their license rather than obtaining liability insurance. I don’t want to reduce the number of options these licensees have, which would presumably impact those that chose to pay the bond as the better option. It passed 103 – 6.
3297-NovHB 4908I voted no on House Bill 4908, which would raise the cap on the state housing subsidy debt. Currently the amount of debt backed by the Michigan State Housing Developing Authority, which subsidizes housing developers and loans, is capped at $3.4 billion. The bill would raise in to $5 billion. $3.4 billion is enough debt. It passed 103 – 6.
3303-DecHB 4687I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4687, to overrule the Natural Resource Commission’s ban on feeding and baiting deer. The Senate allowed the ban to continue in the bovine tuberculosis zone, added a two-year sunset, and required that the allowed five gallons of bait or feed be spread over 400 square feet and with pieces “no larger than a sugar beet.” These latter changes significantly weaken the bill but I still consider it a step in the right direction. Concurrence passed 61 – 44.
3313-DecHB 4120I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4120, which I voted for previously, to extend the period that road commissions may pay for the purchase of property up to 30 years, rather than 15. The Senate amendment made this apply to only counties with populations of 100,000 or less. The largest county below this threshold is Lenawee county. While this weakens the bill, it still gives county road commissions in other counties this additional flexibility. Concurrence passed 56 – 51.
3324-DecHB 4306I voted against concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4306, which I voted against previously, to expand requirements on foreclosure notices. The Senate made it so that the party foreclosing a mortgage cannot publish a notice of foreclosure in a newspaper in which the party foreclosing, or its agent, has a majority ownership interest. This is fine but the bill still fundamentally includes extraneous requirements that simply makes these notices more expensive (the bill was supported by the newspapers that charge for these notices). Concurrence passed 107 – 2.
333 -3354-DecHB 5241 – 5243I voted no on House Bills 5241 through 43, which would delete a state insurance code exemption for some insurers from certain “valuation manual” requirements related to pricing life insurance policies. This is to comply with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Michigan regulates its own insurance industry, and we don’t need to codify and require by law that private companies follow accrediting standards that may be subject to change. The bills passed 107 – 2.
3364-DecHB 4091I voted no on House Bill 4091, which would clarify that both the legal description of the property and a statement that unless revoked the certificate remains in effect for the period stated on the certificate must be included on a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ) certificate. This is part of an upcoming package to expand the limitations on NEZs, which are local property tax exemptions I don’t support in principle. The bill passed 75 – 30.
3374-DecSB 152I voted no on Senate Bill 152, an omnibus supplemental budget that funds various government programs totaling $459 million gross, of which $257 million is from the general fund. Many of these programs I support; for example, I was pleased to see that my legislation to restore funding for the County Jail Reimbursement Program, which had been vetoed by Governor Whitmer in the annual budget, was included to restore this important funding for our counties. However, I have strongly encouraged colleagues to take an item-by-item approach so that each of these items be given the scrutiny they are due; as a result of having a single vote on over 40 line-items, dubious items were also included, such as $50 million to pay a federal insurance fee on behalf of insurers, $1 million to build a website providing a search tool for autism services (my staffer once joked he would build it over a weekend for $500,000), $8 million for “multicultural integration” (“funding to specialized communities to assist with navigating Michigan’s complex social services programs”), $10 million for U.S. Census outreach, $1 million to a private charity, and so on. I am glad to see other funding restored, but would have preferred we took the opportunity to rethink our budget process. The bill passed 103 – 2.
3384-DecSB 154I voted no on Senate Bill 154, an omnibus supplemental budget for education that funds various programs totaling $114.5 million, of which $70.5 million is from the School Aid Fund, $4.3 million is from the General Fund, and the rest is federal TANF dollars. As with my previous vote, I support much of the funding, which was restored from Governor Whitmer’s prior vetoes, but disagreed with several line-items, including $10 million to develop a “panic button” phone app that could undoubtedly have been purchased for far less money and that my schools specifically requested I urge the governor veto to put that money back in the classrooms, $10.5 million for the hiring of teacher coaches (not teachers). I was, however, grateful to see that funding for public school academies was restored, as well as for small isolated school districts, the Michigan Competitive Scholarship, dropout recovery programs, and more. Again, I would have preferred we approved these line-items individually. And my support was unnecessary; the bill passed 104 – 1.
3394-DecHB 5176I voted for House Bill 5176, which would allow the enforcement of an agreement between the Governor and Legislature to not allow the State Administrative Board to make certain transfers. This is part of the supplemental budget deal with Governor Whitmer, who had used the SAB authority unexpectedly and across many departments to radically shift appropriated funds to other programs. I discussed this in more depth in last month’s e-newsletter available at RepReilly.com. The bill passed 57 – 48.
3404-DecHB 5177I voted for House Bill 5177, which would require the legislature to pass and present budgets to the governor on or before July 1. The current legislature cannot bind a future legislature, so this isn’t enforceable, but it’s a sign of good faith negotiations to be made in at least the upcoming budget. It passed unanimously.
3414-DecHB 4307I voted no on House Bill 4307, which make various updates to Michigan’s gambling law, all of which appear to benefit casinos. For example, it deleted the Gaming Control Board’s authority to discipline a licensee for a violation of the Liquor Control Code, deleted the requirement that a casino remove a disassociated person from the premises, deleted the prohibition on an occupational licensee holding a 10 percent interest in a casino licensee, and rolled back the quarterly audit requirements for casino licensees to just annually. These were just a few of many provisions, and the bill appeared totally one-sided as such. It passed 89 – 16.
34210-DecSB 152I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to the supplemental budget, which I voted against previously. The Senate version contained a good provision to allow the legislature to overrule the governor by concurrent resolution on administrative transfers within a derpartment as part of the ongoing negotiation of the Administrative Board power, but as I expressed in my original vote’s explanation, there were problematic components of the spending bill that I think should have been considered individually rather than rolled into one “must pass” bill. Concurrence passed 105 – 2.
34310-DecHB 5176I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 5176, which would limit the ability of the State Administrative Board (SAB) to transfer funds without legislative approval. Under the Senate version, the SAB would be prohibited from unilaterally making transfers unless both the State Budget Director has first requested the approval of the House & Senate Appropriations Committees for each and every intended transfer, and at least six session days or 30 calendar days, whichever is earlier, have passed from the date the transfer request is made to the appropriations committees and both committees failed to approve the transfers in that time. This is an important step to restore the balance of power between the governor and the legislature. It passed unanimously.
34410-DecHB 4336I voted to concur with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4336, which I voted for previously, that would clarify the Auditor General has the authority to access confidential information in fulfilling its oversight duties. The Senate removed a provision that the agency is responsible for paying all costs to produce information, and included “executive privilege” and “subject to a court order” along with attorney-client privilege as records the Auditor General cannot access. Concurrence passed unanimously.
34510-DecHB 4700I voted for House Bill 4700, which would require the Michigan Department of Corrections create a pre-release mental health discharge plan for each prisoner who is receiving mental health services or medication before being released on parole, and require the Department of Health and Human Services to help in creating the required plans. This will hopefully improve outcomes for prisoners released on parole, reduce the number of people who reoffend and ultimately reduce taxpayer dollars spent on prisons. It passed 96 – 11.
34610-DecSB 110I voted for Senate Bill 110, which would allow a court to appoint a limited guardian to supervise visitation with an incapacitated person. As citizens age and lose capacity to care for themselves there often comes a time that the court must appoint a guardian for that person. Tragically, sometimes there is a falling out among the rest of the family that leads to the incapacitated person being shut out from other family members. This legislation creates a path for families to see relatives when another individual is refusing them access. It passed 100 – 7.
34710-DecSB 348I voted for Senate Bill 348, which would require prospective effective dates when DHHS interprets existing Medicaid provider policy directly affecting nursing facility Medicaid cost reports. When DHHS issues a settlement, the facility is required to pay back the costs associated with the audit for those costs that are not eligible for reimbursement. When DHHS changes its interpretation on Medicaid Provider policies, unaudited cost reports remain filed on the original policy interpretation. This leads to retroactive application of a reinterpretation that ultimately leaves the facility on the hook to repay the cost. The following legislation simply makes policy changes prospective. It passed unanimously.
34810-DecHB 5103I voted for House Bill 5103, which would clarify the priority among persons seeking appointment as a general personal representative of a deceased person as it relates to the disposition of their remains. Confusion over current state law has led to funeral homes across the state holding remains for long periods of time when someone dies and no heirs are present. Funeral directors cannot conduct final disposition until they receive authorization from the person who is legally responsible for directing the disposition. This plan clearly identifies who is responsible for arranging the funeral and burial in these cases. Under the current system, funeral homes often have no choice but to hold remains for long periods of time while they wait for authorization. This opens them up to violations during regulatory inspections.
This bill would ensure unclaimed remains receive proper, timely burials and prevent funeral homes from being sanctioned for something out of their control. It passed unanimously.
34910-DecHB 5124I voted for House Bill 5124, which would amend the General Property Tax Act by providing assistance to low-income homeowners at risk of facing foreclosure. When property that is subject to an exemption under the poverty property tax exemption and the property’s owner has not previously received a payment reduction, the foreclosing governmental unit may do one or more of the following: 1) If the total amount of unpaid delinquent taxes on the forfeited property was greater than 10% of the most recent taxable valuation prior to the property receiving exempt status, the amount would be reduced to 10% of the most recent taxable valuation of the property prior to the property receiving exempt status under 7u. 2) Cancel some or all unpaid delinquent taxes for enforcement of a lien under Sec. 21(3) of the Revenue Bond Act. 3) Cancel some or all of the interest, penalties, and fees required to be paid to redeem the property. Counties could choose not to participate in this program, but is a tool for those that want it to help prevent people from losing their homes. It passed 106 – 1.
35010-DecHB 4449I voted for House Bill 4449, which would repeal limits on the reimbursement of certain chiropractic services by auto insurance. Currently a chiropractor can only be reimbursed by PIP for services that were defined within the chiropractic scope of practice prior to January 1, 2009. This would allow chiropractors to be reimbursed through PIP coverage for services that they can legally provide through the scope of practice expansion. It passed 102 – 5.
35111-DecHB 4395I voted for House Bill 4395, which would repeal an antiquated provision of law that a car honk its horn when passing another vehicle. Nobody does this. It passed unanimously.
352 & 35311-DecHB 4203 & 4204I voted for House Bills 4203 and 4204, which would exempt prosthetic devices from sales and use tax, as most medical devices already are. This is the way it was, until in July of 2018, when the Department of Treasury changed its policy regarding how medical implants for surgery are taxed by no longer allowing a sales tax and use tax exemptions under the definition of “prosthetic device”. Treasury provided the following explanation regarding their policy change: “It is commonly understood that prescriptions are given to patients or persons, and not to entities. Therefore, if something is shipped to a for-profit hospital or surgery center, or a physician’s office, even if pursuant to a physician’s order, it would not meet the definition of a “prosthetic device” because it would not be dispensed pursuant to a prescription.” This legislation will ensure these types of devices continue to remain tax exempt as originally intended. The bills passed 72 – 35.
35411-DecHB 4217I voted no on House Bill 4217, which would require prescriptions be filled electronically from the practitioner to the pharmacist — written prescriptions would be illegal. Law should not dictate the type of system a doctor should utilize in the doctor’s private practice, nor mandate doctors buy the software in order to send prescriptions electronically. It passed 105 – 3.
35511-DecSB 340I voted for Senate Bill 340, which would allow for remote pharmacies to be created using telepharmacy systems, such as real-time audio and video. Authorizing remote pharmacies will allow pharmacy services to better service more rural areas. It passed 98 – 10.
35611-DecHB 4823I voted for House Bill 4823, which would allow all school districts that would receive funds under a new or renewed enhanced millage ballot question to be listed collectively as “public schools” instead of listing each school district on the ballot. This would make certain ballot questions more concise, so voters are not confused or overwhelmed by a large number of school districts listed on multiple pages of a ballot. It passed 107 – 1.
35711-DecHB 4181I voted no on House Bill 4181, which would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from using a cell phone to make and take phone calls while driving, except in the case of an emergency, and removes the ability for hands-free calling. The Michigan Vehicle Code already prohibits a teen who is learning to drive (level 1 and 2 restricted licenses) from using a cell phone for any purpose other than in emergencies. I don’t believe it’s appropriate for a law to apply to a certain subset of licensed drivers based only on their age. Some people get their license for the first time as adults, and some teenagers are more mature than others; this bill discriminates based on age as the one and only factor. It passed 87 – 21.
35811-DecSB 455I voted no on Senate Bill 455, which would give one Nevada company with property in Michigan, Switch, a big tax break, on top of a big tax break they just received in the previous term. Switch operates a large “data center” for Internet companies in Michigan. Other data centers in Michigan wouldn’t get the tax break – just Switch, which would gain the ability over competition to pass their cost savings (in the form of tax breaks) to lower prices for their customers.

Switch is already benefiting from state “renaissance zone” subsidies and tax breaks from additional school and local personal property taxes (which are levied on business tools and equipment). This bill would further exempt it from local debt millages, local special assessment levies, and some school property tax levies (“revenue enhancement” millages and “sinking fund” taxes).

Members of both parties were split on their votes for the bill, and the bill passed by just one vote, 55 – 53.
35911-DecHB 4308I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4308, which I voted against previously, to create an expansive regulatory scheme on fantasy sports betting. The Senate change was technical and non-substantive. The bill was supported by the largest companies in the business to regulate the competition out, and current fees price them out of Michigan’s marketplace. This is guild protection, and there was no evidence presented that those currently enjoying fantasy sports today have a problem that requires the state to regulate the industry. Concurrence passed 99 – 9.
36011-DecHB 4310I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendments to House Bill 4310, which I voted against previously, to amend the Michigan Horse Racing law by re-writing the requirements for placing a parimutuel wager on horse racing in Michigan to allow for the use of new technologies as they are developed. The Senate made several changes, including specifying that wagers placed at a licensed race track would be subject to a 3.5% tax and wagers placed using Advanced Deposit Wagers would be subject to a 1% tax. 90% of the ADW revenue would be distributed to the MI Agriculture & Equine Industry Development Fund and 10% to the horse racing advisory commission. I didn’t support the bill the first time, and these changes didn’t improve things. Concurrence passed 99 – 9.
361 – 36311-DecHB 4311I voted no on concurring with the Senate changes to House Bills 4311, 4312, and 4323, which I voted against previously, to legalize and regulate Internet gambling in Michigan provided that only the casinos would be allowed to operate such websites. The Senate made a number of changes, but I voted no because the original problem — that casinos would get a monopoly — was not addressed. Concurrence passed by a range of 96 – 12 to 98 – 10.
36411-DecHB 4173I voted against concurring with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4173, to revise various regulations on charity “millionaire parties”. The Senate changed the definition of “lawful purpose” from those written into the bylaws of the qualified organization to a tax-exempt purpose, allowed (rather than requireed) the executive director to issue a license to qualified applicants, clarified the executive director shall not require more than 2 members of the licensee to be present at all times during an event, and changed making false statements on an application or to the executive director a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Concurrence passed 105-3.
365 – 36711-DecHB 4916 – 4918I voted no on concurring with the Senate amendments to House Bills 4916 through 4918, which I voted against previously, to “legalize” Internet sports betting (by giving the casinos a monopoly). The Senate changed the revenue distribution for sports betting at tribal casinos as follows: 90% (not 52.5%) to the Internet Sports Betting Fund; 10% (not 17.5%) to the Corporate Welfare Handout Fund; no funds would go to the local jurisdiction (previously 30%). I didn’t support this in the first place and I certainly don’t support it now. Concurrence passed by a range from 98 – 10 to 100 – 8.
36811-DecSB 319I voted no on Senate Bill 319, which would amend the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone Act by increasing the threshold for the value of property that could be eligible for a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ) from $80,000 to $120,000. Additionally, the thresholds are also increased for the renovation costs that are eligible. NEZs are essentially exempt from property tax as the owner pays an alternative “NEZ tax” for development of residential housing — so local governments lose the tax revenue, which instead goes to developers. I don’t support NEZs, so I don’t support their expansion. The bill passed 90-18.
369 & 37011-DecHB 4620 & 4621I voted for House Bills 4620 and 4621, which would allow for qualified entities to a special license for spirit tastings and to allow them to provide brand-logoed items. (Special licenses are for temporary events like festivals.) Last year we passed legislation for beer and wine makers to do this and I see no problem allow spirit makers to do the same. The bills passed 106 – 1 and 107 – 2 respectively.
37111-DecHB 4307I voted no on concurrence with the Senate amendment to House Bill 4307, which makes various changes to the gambling law to benefit casinos. I didn’t support the bill originally, and the changes didn’t affect the essence of the bill. The Senate eliminated the requirement for employees of the gaming board submit financial disclosures, eliminated requirements for board employees being prohibited from acquiring interest or working for a regulated entity, reinstated current law for public disclosures by the board of any applicant or licensee, reinstated requirements for disclosures of any responses to a proposal for development agreements, reinstated current law concerning information required to be filed for an application to operate a casino, required casinos to comply with the federal bank secrecy act of 1970, required casinos report information on sports betting, internet gaming, and table games, and changed the sports betting tax rate to 8.4% instead of 8.75%. Concurrence passed 91-17.
37211-DecHB 4228I voted for House Bill 4228, which would designate a portion of US-41 the Samuel R. Costello Memorial Highway. Samuel R. Costello enlisted in the Air force in November of 1948 shortly after graduating high school. He was trained as an equipment repairman and was flying on a transport aircraft on Dec. 19, 1950 when the aircraft crashed into Mt. Tabayoc in the Philippines. The plane exploded and there were no survivors. Samuel R. Costello achieved a rank of Corporal in the two short years he served in the Air Force. The bill passed unanimously.
37311-DecHB 5174I voted for House Bill 5174, which would allow a surplus lines insurance provider to charge reasonable fees on each separate surplus lines policy that they write. Surplus lines insurance is insurance that is written for unique risks that an insured needs coverage for but cannot obtain from traditional insurers (vacant buildings, sporting events, etc.). Surplus lines insurers are not licensed by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services and are not regulated in the same way as other types of insurance. Currently, surplus lines insurers are considered “non-admitted” insurers because they are not licensed. If an individual is in need of insurance on the non-admitted market, there are brokers that can help in finding coverage for their unique risk. These brokers work with a retail agent to find surplus lines insurance for a customer. Brokers are licensed and regulated by the state and unlike a traditional retail agent take on other duties that an insurance company would traditional do. These include inspections, compliance and filing taxes. For this reason, brokers charge a “broker fee”, in addition to any commission, to cover these extra costs. Since 1980, Michigan has regulated the fees that a broker may charge, and we are one of only 5 states with an amount limiting broker fees (ours is set at $64). This is a disincentive for brokers to do business with Michigan clients and it prevents clients and brokers from negotiating any fees before entering into a contract. The bill passed unanimously.
374 & 37511-DecSB 322 & 323I voted for Senate Bills 322 and 323, which would remove the January 1, 2020 sunset to allow county boards of commissioners to transfer the authority of a county road commission to the county board of commissioners. Six counties have consolidated their road commissions. We can’t predict the financial health of these commissions across the state in the future, so we should keep this channel open in case more are eventually interested in making a change. They passed 77-31 and 80 – 28.
37611-DecHB 4208I voted for House Bills 4208, which would prohibit a family member of a teacher from conducting their teach evaluation. This is an obvious conflict of interest. It passed 107 – 1.
377 & 37811-DecHB 4712 & 4713I voted for House Bills 4712 and 4713, which would repeal the law that prohibits manufacture, sale, or operation of a motor vehicle “designed for the purpose of defense or attack” without a certain license. This repeals an old and completely unnecessary requirement to register antique military vehicles with county clerks. They passed 96 – 12 and 95 – 13.
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