How They Voted
The House and Senate are out for a two-week spring break. Therefore, this report contains no votes but several recently introduced bills of general interest.
Senate Bill 59 and House Bill 4409: Authorize student loan tax breaks
Introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) and Rep. Andy Schor (D), respectively, to authorize an income tax credit equal to 50 percent of the amount of student loan payments made by a resident (subject to some caps) who got a degree from a college or university in Michigan and is employed in the state. The credit would not be “refundable,” but would reduce an individual’s tax liability on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 81: Scrap national “Common Core” curriculum and tests
Introduced by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R), to cease all planning and actions related to adopting the national “common core” curriculum in Michigan schools and tests, and replace this with the curriculum that was in effect in Massachusetts during the 2008-2009 school year. This would be an interim step pending creation of Michigan content standards, which the bill proposes be adopted in five years. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 84: Ban discrimination based on not having a residence
Introduced by Sen. Bert Johnson (D), to establish in statute that the privileges and immunities associated with being a resident and citizen of this state and country apply equally to an individual who has no permanent mailing address. This would include the right “to use and move freely in public spaces, including sidewalks, parks, transportation and public buildings.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 88: Let Detroit issue automated “photo cop” school bus citations
Introduced by Sen. Bert Johnson (D), to allow the Detroit public school district to contract with a private vendor to install and operate an automated traffic citation system to ticket motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus, based on images collected by cameras attached to school buses. Fines would start at $300, rising to $1,000 for a third offense, and the money would go to the Detroit public school district (less the amount collected by the private vendor). The Senate passed a version of this bill last year with just three opposing votes, but the House did not take it up. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 91, and House Bills 4129 and 4310: Exempt feminine hygiene products from use tax
Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), Rep. Rep. Brian Elder (D) and Rep, Scott Dianda (D), to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax.
Senate Bill 151: Ban “photo-cop” traffic tickets
Introduced by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R), to prohibit the use of automated, unmanned traffic monitoring devices for issuing traffic law tickets. A Michigan driver who was issued an automated ticket in another state would not get “points” on his or her license for automated traffic tickets issued there. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bills 4046, 4129 and 4376: Authorize 3-mill “sinking fund” property tax for school buses
Introduced by Rep. Robert Kosowski (D) and Rep. Aaron Miller (R), respectively, To allow school districts to levy a 3-mill “sinking fund” property tax for 10 years to buy school buses. These are a permanent funds that originally could only be used only for land purchases and the construction or (major) repair of school buildings, but a 2016 law expanded this to include school security measures and “technology” purchases. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4053: Establish English as official state language
Introduced by Rep. Tom Barrett (R), to establish English as the official state language. This would apply to government activities, but not to private sector activity. It would require governmental documents, records, meetings, actions, or policies to be in English, but would not prohibit them from also being in another language. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4105: Withhold state money from so-called “sanctuary cities”
Introduced by Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R), to prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing a policy that limits officials or police from communicating or cooperating with appropriate federal officials concerning the status of illegal aliens. Cities would have notify police and other staff of their duty under the law, and notify the state they have done so. Jurisdictions in violation would not receive the optional, non-constitutional portion of state revenue sharing dollars. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4108: Allow temporary speeding to pass
Introduced by Rep. Beau LaFave (R), to allow drivers who are passing another car on a highway to exceed the speed limit by up to 10 miles per hour while passing, except in a city or school zone. Drivers would have 10 seconds after passing to slow back down. See also House Bill 4062, which would require left lane drivers to get over for passing cars. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4134: Prohibit mandating that licensed doctors also be “board certified”
Introduced by Rep. Edward Canfield (R), to prohibit state licensure authorities from requiring a physician to hold one of the various professional association board certifications. Some national organizations that make money from these certifications have been advocating that states mandate them. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
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