MichiganVotes.org sends a weekly report to newspapers and TV stations around the state showing how state legislators in their service area voted on the most important or interesting bills of the past week. The Legislature did not meet this week, so instead of votes this week's report contains several newly introduced bills of interest.

Newly introduced bill of interest: Senate Bill 1239 and House Bill 5976 (State takeover of "distressed" municipal pensions)
Introduced by Sen. Michael Switalski (D) and Rep. George Cushingberry (D), to authorize a state takeover of a municipal pension fund if there have been criminal convictions of trustees for abusing the fund, chronic contributions below actuarial sound levels, chronic contributions that exceed 15 percent of a municipality's revenue or 30 percent of its payroll, or other "triggering" events. The system's employee benefits would not be changed under the bill.

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Newly introduced bill of interest: Senate Bill 1230 (Secede from federal gas tax payments)
Introduced by Sen. Wayne Kuipers (R), to adopt a state law that requires fuel distributors to send the federal gasoline tax money they collect to the Michigan state Department of Treasury, notwithstanding existing federal law that requires them to send the federal gas tax money to the federal government.

Newly introduced bill of interest: House Bill 5962 (Make mis-classifying workers compensation employees a felony)
Introduced by Rep. Andrew Kandrevas (D), to make it a felony punishable by 18 months in prison and a $15,000 fine for an employer to mis-classify an employee as an "independent contractor" under the state workers compensation law. The bill would also allow unions to sue for alleged violations, give the state "stop work" powers and more.

Newly introduced bill of interest: House Bill 5980 (Require film subsidy screen credits)
Introduced by Rep. Marty Knollenberg (R), to require movies shot with Michigan film production subsidies to place a "filmed in Michigan using Michigan's film production financial incentive" statement or logo in the end credits.

Newly introduced bill of interest: House Bill 5992 (Expand scope of wetland permit requirements)
Introduced by Rep. Rebekah Warren (D), to expand to more properties the scope of the state wetland law that requires a property owner to ask for and recieve permission from the government before undertaking any improvements on his or her property; and also give Department of Natural Resources and Environment the power to deny a permit even if has been authorized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Newly introduced bill of interest: House Bill 5998 (Create new transit-oriented tax breaks and subsidies)
Introduced by Rep. David Nathan (D), to give the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and local "economic development" agencies the power to grant selective tax breaks and subsidies to developers selected by agency officials who do projects within a half mile of a transit station, and to transit stations themselves. This is one of a large bipartisan package of House and Senate bills authorizing "transit oriented" tax breaks and subsidies.

Newly introduced bill of interest: House Bill 6001 (Ban county government employee pension "double dipping")
Introduced by Rep. Fred Miller (D), to prohibit a "retired" county employee from collecting both a monthly pension benefit and also collecting a regular paycheck as a direct employee of the county, or indirectly as an independent contractor.

Newly introduced bill of interest: House Bill 5987 (Suspend income tax hike phase-out)
Introduced by Rep. Rebekah Warren (D), to suspend a gradual phase out of the 2007 state income tax increase, which under current law is scheduled to begin on Oct. 1, 2011. Under the bill, four annual one-tenth percent tax rate decreases would not go into effect unless there was $200 million in the "rainy day" fund. There has not been more than a few million in this fund for at least five years.

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 MichiganVotes.org.

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