June 20, 2014, MichiganVotes Weekly Vote Report

Votes on “navigators,” pets, squatters, woodstoves, taxi-cartels, more

This report contains more votes from the very active final week of legislative sessions ending June 13, before an extended summer break.

Senate Bill 324, Require certification of federal health care law "navigators": Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate

To require certification for the individuals and organizations acting as "navigators" authorized by the federal health care law ("Obamacare") to assist individuals who apply for government subsidized health benefits through the law's exchange, including criminal background check and training in a program that protects the privacy and security of Michigan residents' personally identifiable information. The bill authorizes administrative sanctions and fines for individuals and organizations who violate various rules, including steering a person toward a particular policy.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 910, Ban enforcement of new woodstove emissions limits: Passed 25 to 12 in the Senate

To prohibit the Department of Environmental Quality from imposing new state woodstove and wood heater regulations, or enforcing new federal ones. The bill was introduced following news reports that proposed federal Environmental Protection Agency rules would impose restrictive new limits on wood heat.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 748, Revise protectionist Detroit limousine regulations: Passed 30 to 8 in the Senate

To allow Detroit to expand the scope of a city regulatory regime on limousines, by extending it to vehicles that can carry eight people including the driver. The limousine regulations have the effect of limiting competition to the taxi cartels that are protected by the city. The bill is sponsored by Detroit Democrat Virgil Smith Jr. and co-sponsored by Oakland County Republican Mike Kowall.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 5168, Facilitate DARTA operating Woodward streetcar: Passed 32 to 6 in the Senate

To authorize the Detroit area regional transportation authority created by a 2012 law to enter agreements to operate a potential Woodward Avenue streetcar in Detroit. The bill would exempt this project from a provision requiring unanimous action by the DARTA board for any form of rail passenger service, and specify that Detroit and Wayne County would be responsible for covering the line's operating deficits, and not other communities in the RTA.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 5070, Authorize penalties on rental property squatters: Passed 32 to 6 in the Senate

To authorize criminal penalties for a squatter who illegally occupies a residence, including up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for second and subsequent violations. Squatter is defined by the bill as someone who "at any time during that period of occupancy, occupied the property with the owner's consent for an agreed-upon consideration" but not a "guest or a family member of the owner or a tenant."

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4688, Repeal licensure mandates for dietitians and nutritionists: Passed 26 to 12 in the Senate

To repeal a law that imposes a licensure mandate on dietitians and nutritionists. The mandate has not been enforced since it was authorized in 2006 because the state licensure agency was unable to devise acceptable credentialing and education requirements.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 5558, Clarify pre-emption of insurance lawsuits under Consumer Protection Act: Passed 24 to 13 in the Senate

To clarify that a prohibition of "unfair practices" lawsuits against insurance companies under the state Consumer Protection Act (rather than the state's Insurance Code) applies even if the cause of action occurred before a 2001 law was enacted specifying that industries like insurance which are already subject to a comprehensive state regulatory regime are not covered by the Consumer Protection Act. Lawsuits that have already been filed could still proceed, however.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 948, Restrict radioactive material storage and disposal: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate

To prohibit storing or disposing radioactive waste from another state or country in Michigan, and ban storing any radioactive material other than what is allowed under current law for nuclear power plants, uranium mines and medical uses. The bill would also create a state advisory board for the purpose of writing a report on the potential impact of depositing radioactive waste deep underground at a site in Kincardine, Ontario, as proposed by an Ontario utility.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 5089, Create new pseudoephedrine "straw man" buyer crime: Passed 37 to 1 in the Senate

To authorize up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for purchasing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine while knowing that it will be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 853, Ban automated eyeglass kiosks: Passed 108 to 2 in the House

To prohibit automated testing devices that provide eye exams and issue prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses. Instead, only licensed optometrists and physicians specializing in eye care could write eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions. This would pre-empt eyeglass kiosks in drugstores and other retail locations, which are reportedly a lower cost alternative to conventional optometry services and are available in some states.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 872, Reduce regulatory obstacles to developing stamp-sand property: Passed 67 to 43 in the House

To establish that property where "stamp sands" have been deposited is not subject to state environmental law restrictions unless the sands contain hazardous substances that exceed the allowable levels for unrestricted residential use. "Stamp sands" are finely grained crushed rock resulting from copper ore processing and are common in the Keweenaw region.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4534, Mandate background checks for animal adoption: Passed 98 to 12 in the House

To mandate that animal shelters run background checks for animal abuse offenses on individuals wanting to adopt an animal, using an Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) maintained by the State Police.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4874, Limit protectionist local septic facility mandates: Passed 69 to 41 in the House

To restrict a local government's ability to mandate that septic tank servicers may only dispose of customers' waste in a facility whose territory is deemed to include those customers' property. This is said to protect a heavily indebted government facility in Grand Traverse County from losing business to less costly facilities. The bill would also limit local government rulemaking on applying septage waste to land.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

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 http://www.MichiganVotes.org.