How They Voted
The 101st Michigan Legislature held its first session on Wednesday. In the coming weeks the House and Senate will organize the policy and appropriations committees through which new bills (usually) must pass on their way to potential enactment. No votes are expected before then.
The majority caucuses in the House and Senate (both Republican) sometimes signal priorities with the first bills they introduce. With no voting, this report describes those bills plus some others of general interest.
2021 Senate Bill 1: Limit state health department epidemic orders without legislative approval
Introduced by Sen. Lana Theis (R) on January 13, 2021, to restrict emergency orders the state health department (the Department of Health and Human Service) may impose in response to an epidemic to 28 days unless an extension is approved by the legislature. A state Public Health Code adopted by the legislature in 1978 gives the department the authority to issue such orders.
2021 House Bill 4001: Establish new legislator conflict of interest rules
Introduced by Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R) on January 13, 2021, to prohibit a legislator who knows he or she has a “personal or professional interest” in a bill or measure from voting on it, and also if the legislator is related or financially or legally obligated to a person or entity that would benefit.
2021 Senate Bill 2: Increase unemployment benefits
Introduced by Sen. Paul Wojno (D) on January 13, 2021, to increase the maximum period a person is eligible to collect state unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks.
Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 4002: Exempt certain pension income from state income tax
Introduced by Sen. Paul Wojno (D) and Rep. Joseph Bellino, Jr. (R), resepectively, to repeal the age-based limitations and restrictions on income tax deductions for retirement and pension benefits that were enacted as part of a 2011 tax reform and business tax cut.
Senate Bill 12: Exempt outpatient cardiac catheterization from medical services rationing (“certificate of need”)
Introduced by Sen. Dale W. Zorn (R), to exempt outpatient cardiac catheterization services from a state Certificate of Need law that requires medical service providers get permission from a panel of existing providers before investing in a new or expanded service.
Senate Bill 13: Give tax break to certain business owners and developers
Introduced by Sen. Dale W. Zorn (R), to give tax breaks equal to 50% of their state business tax liability by certain developers and business owners selected by political appointees on the board of a state Strategic Fund agency. If the tax break exceeded the firm’s tax liability the difference could be applied to future tax bills for up to 10 years.
Senate Bill 20: Authorize 3-mill “sinking fund” property tax for school buses
Introduced by Sen. Dale W. Zorn (R), to allow school districts to use a “sinking fund” property tax for “pupil transportation” (buying school buses). Under current law, schools may levy up to 3 mills for 10 years for a “sinking fund,” which is a permanent account that may only be used only for land purchases and the construction or (major) repair of school buildings, or (under recent expansions) to pay for “information technology” and school security measures.
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