How They Voted

The House and Senate are out for several weeks. Therefore, this report contains several recently introduced bills of interest.

Senate Bill 197: Pro-rate Michigan’s electoral college presidential votes

Introduced by Sen. Dave Hildenbrand (R), to end the current winner-take-all system of allocating Michigan’s presidential electors, and instead pro-rate the state’s electoral college votes on the basis of the state’s popular vote totals. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 199: Expand “bottle bill”

Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), to expand the state “bottle bill” deposit requirement to include water and all nonalcoholic carbonated or noncarbonated drinks sold in an airtight metal, glass, or plastic container that holds one gallon or less, except for milk and unflavored rice or soy milk, with some additional exceptions. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

2015 Senate Bill 212: Impose licensure on genetic counselors

Introduced by Sen. Judy Emmons (R), to impose licensure, fees, certification through a nationally recognized certifying agency, and more on “genetic counselors” as they are defined in the bill. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 243: Prohibit working seven days a week for same employer

Introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D), to mandate that employers must give employees “at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every calendar week,” with some exceptions. The bill would also impose a related record-keeping mandate on employers. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 262: Repeal Right to Work law

Introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D), to repeal the state’s right to work law for government employees. Specifically, the bill would allow a public school or government agency to enter an agreement with a union under which employees would be required to pay “agency fees” to the union as a condition of employment, at a level equal to full union dues. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 289 and House Bill 4587: Authorize sanctions for bad faith patent infringement claim

Introduced by Sen. Margaret O’Brien (R) and Rep. Mike Callton (R), respectively, to authorize damages for the target of a patent infringement claim that is made in bad faith. Damages of up to $50,000 or triple the actual loss would be authorized, plus legal costs. If the target demonstrates a “reasonable likelihood” that the claim is made in bad faith then the court could order the claim seeker to post a bond equal to the target’s likely legal expenses. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 224 and House Bill 4351 Impose lobbying moratorium on former lawmakers

Introduced by Sen. David Knezek (D) and Rep. Gretchen Driskell (D), respectively, to impose a two-year moratorium on lobbying by a former member of the Michigan House or Senate, or a former governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and Secretary of State. A one-year moratorium would apply to former state department heads. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4394: Let local school districts hire qualified teachers without state certification

Introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn (R), to permit local school districts to hire a teacher who has not gone through the official state teacher certification process but who is considered “appropriate and in the best interest” of the students due to “a combination of education and experience.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4402: Create government task force to reduce government red tape

Introduced by Rep. Andy Schor (D), to appoint a task force of representatives from various interests and governmental institutions to review state reporting requirements for public, private and charter schools, and recommend which could be eliminated or streamlined. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4411: Make domestic violence victims civil rights law “protected class”

Introduced by Rep. Sam Singh (D), to add domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking victimhood to the characteristics that define membership in a protected class against whom it is a crime to discriminate in matters of housing under the Michigan civil rights law. This would make it a civil rights violation to deny housing to a person who happens to be a victim of these crimes. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

– – –

Source: MichiganVotes.org, a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit www.MichiganVotes.org

How They Voted

The Senate did not meet last week, while the House convened but took no votes. This week’s Roll Call Report again examines some more recent constitutional amendment proposals of general interest.

House Joint Resolution E: Establish part time legislature

Introduced by Rep. Michael Webber (R), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment that would limit annual legislative sessions to 90 days. Legislative proposals to amend the constitution require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution I: Require property tax assessments to more quickly reflect market declines

Introduced by Rep. Lisa Lyons (R), to establish that if a property’s assessed value has decreased, then the property taxes imposed on it must go down in proportion in the following year. Under current practice, assessors use a “moving average” of a property’s value over several years, so if values go down an owner could still be assessed more the next year. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution M: Ban “lame duck” legislative sessions

Introduced by Rep. Joel Johnson (R), to establish the first Monday in November as the final day of the legislative session in even years (general election years). In other words, to prohibit “lame duck” legislative sessions held after the election. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution T: Ban income tax on individuals or businesses

Introduced by Rep. Cindy Gamrat (R), to place in the constitution a prohibition on imposing a state income tax on individuals or businesses. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution U: Revise effective date of new laws

Introduced by Rep. Edward McBroom (R), to establish that, unless it specifies otherwise, a bill passed by the legislature goes into effect 90 days after the governor has approved it. Under current provisions, the “default” effective date of new bills is 90 days after the legislature adjourns for the year, which can be changed only with a supermajority two-thirds vote. This requirement sometimes is the cause of legislative gamesmanship and “log rolling.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution Z: Ban Obamacare exchange

Introduced by Rep. Todd Courser (R), to prohibit creating a state based version of the health insurance exchanges that are part of the federal health care law. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution G: Repeal constitutional ban on private school tuition tax credits

Introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn (R), to repeal a provision in the state constitution that prohibits the state from offering tax credits based on tuition paid to a non-public school. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution E: Ban giving charter school management contracts to for-profit companies

Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), to prohibit operation of a public school from being contracted out to a for-profit education management company, which is a common way of operating charter schools. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution C: Allow NRTC funds for logging and mining infrastructure

Introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson (R), to include road infrastructure for natural-resource based industries in the things for which Natural Resources Trust Fund money can be used. This money comes from oil, gas, and mineral royalties and leases on state-owned lands, and currently may be used for state land acquisitions, and conservation and recreation projects. Some legislators have expressed concern that, theoretically, nothing prohibits the current constitutional mandate from requiring the state to eventually buy all the land within its borders. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution J: Increase maximum age of judges

Introduced by Sen. Steve Bieda (D), to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to revise the current age limit on judges, from 70 to 75 years old. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution H: Ban welfare for illegal aliens

Introduced by Sen. Joe Hune (R), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to prohibit the state from giving any kind of “public assistance” to illegal aliens. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

– – –

Source: MichiganVotes.org, a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit www.MichiganVotes.org.

How They Voted

While the legislature is in a recess with no votes to report, the Roll Call Report examines some recent constitutional amendment proposals of general interest.

House Joint Resolutions A and K, and Senate Joint Resolution F: Repeal constitutional ban on graduated income tax

Introduced by Democratic legislators Reps. Jim Townsend, Jeff Irwin and Sen. Rebekah Warren, and cosponsored by 39 other Democrats, to place before voters a constitutional amendment to repeal a current provision that prohibits imposing a graduated state income tax (as opposed to Michigan’s current flat tax). House Bill 4341 is linked to HJR K and would impose income tax rates of between 3 percent and 10 percent (the current rate is a flat 4.25 percent). Resolutions to amend the constitution require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate and approval by voters. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolutions C, Q, V and X: Repeal or Extend Legislative Term Limits

Introduced by Reps. Jeff Farrington, Charles Smiley and Edward McBroom, with many cosponsors from both parties, to repeal or extend the term limits imposed on legislators by a 1992 constitutional amendment adopted with a 59-41 percent vote of the people. HJRs Q and V would repeal the limits, and the other resolutions offer different schemes to extend them. Under current law representatives may only have three two-year terms, and senators two four-year terms. Since 2001, 37 joint resolutions have been introduced to extend or repeal term limits. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution I and HJR L: Repeal homosexual marriage ban

Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D) and Rep. Jeremy Moss (D), respectively, to repeal Section 25 of the Michigan constitution, which states, “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Joint Resolution D and HJR D: Equalize school district funding

Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R) and Rep. Joel Johnson (R), respectively, to require that all school districts get the same amount of state and local tax revenue for school operating purposes. Current funding levels are based on a complicated formula that since 1994 has set a minimum level for all districts and has gradually closed the gap. The measures do not specify whether high-spending districts’ funding would be cut or low-spending districts increased, and if the latter, where the new money would come from. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution G: Repeal constitutional ban on private school tuition tax credits

Introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn (R), to repeal a prohibition on the state offering tax credits that cover tuition paid to a non-public school. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

2015 House Joint Resolution N: Protect “electronic data and communications” from unreasonable search and seizure

Introduced by Rep. Jim Runestad (R), to add “electronic data and communications” to the state constitution’s provision that recognizes the right of the people to be secure from unreasonable government searches and seizures of their “person, houses, papers, and possessions.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution R: Require legislative consent for new regulations

Introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn (R), to prohibit any new administrative regulations from being imposed and enforced by state agencies if a majority of the House and Senate pass a resolution rejecting them. Approval of the governor would not be required. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

– – –

Source: MichiganVotes.org