Michigan House Republicans
This Week’s Vote Explanations
RELEASE|March 10, 2023
Contact: Pat Outman

House repeals Right-to-Work and restores Prevailing Wage

House Bills 4004 and 4005 would strip workers of the freedom to choose to join a workplace union, compelling workers to join or lose their job. These bills violate the freedom of tens of thousands of Michigan workers who opt out under Michigan’s decade-old right-to-work laws.

Why I voted no:

1. My office has fielded hundreds of calls, emails, and letters from constituents urging me not to vote for repealing Right-to-Work and restoring prevailing wage. They agree that employees should be free to choose whether or not to join a labor union. However, it should not be a condition of employment. 

2. Additionally, Right-to-Work will increase economic growth, leading to higher wages. Studies confirm that, and the proof is undeniable. States that have Right-to-Work policies are leading the nation’s economic prosperity. 

3. Prevailing Wage artificially inflates the cost of state construction projects, wasting taxpayer dollars with little-added value. 


House passes bills to expand Elliot Larsen, with no religious exemptions

HB 4003 and SB 4 would amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

I agree with the bill’s intent, which is that members of the LGBTQ community should never be allowed to be discriminated against. Everyone has rights and deserves to be treated with respect. However, I had several concerns with the bill that the sponsors did not address. 

Why I voted no:

1. Again, my office fielded hundreds, if not thousands, of calls, letters, and emails urging a no vote or additions of religious protections. Their concern is that the state should not infringe upon the fundamental right to practice their personal religious beliefs by forcing them to provide services to individuals who act inconsistent with those beliefs. 

2. The 22 states with similar or exact laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., all have religious exemptions. Michigan would be the outlier. 

3. All amendments to add the protections were rejected, including the one I offered for the protection of religious schools. 

4. Michigan courts have ruled that the ELCRA already prohibits discrimination based onsexual orientation and gender identity; writing these terms into the statute is unnecessary.


Michigan House passes legislation that lowers literacy requirements for Michigan elementary students

Senate Bill 12 amends the Revised School Code by removing the mandatory retention requirement from the third grade reading law passed in 2016.

Why I voted no:

1. Michigan is currently ranked 43rd out of all 50 states in fourth grade reading scores. We should not be advancing students who are not able to read proficiently.

2. Being able to read properly is crucial for a student’s success not just in school, but in life. Not being able to read at the proper level puts a barrier in front of someone’s life.

3. The retention aspect of the law had just started to take effect, so it is not possible to properly yet gage how big of an impact it has had on students’ success.


Requiring universal background checks when purchasing a firearm

HB 4138 requires background checks on all firearm purchases, not just handguns as is required under current law.

Why I voted no:

1. This effectively bans private transfers and loans of hunting rifles and shotguns. 

2. Rifles and shotguns (which this bill targets) are used in a very small percentage of crimes in Michigan. According to FBI’s 2021 data, rifles and shotguns were each used in about 1% of all violent crimes. For homicides, rifles are 3% and shotguns are 1%. To put this in perspective, knives and other cutting implements were used in about 6% of homicides; about double the amount of homicides with rifles. 

3. Michigan’s mental health care system is still on the mend, and many people still do not have access to necessary care. We need to seriously deal with the larger underlying issue that is only continuing to get worse.

4. These bills create a false sense of security and do nothing to address the root cause of violent crime. The overwhelming majority of people who commit mass shootings – including the murderer at Michigan State University – have or could have passed background checks to acquire their guns.

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