Because no votes were taken in the Legislature this week, this report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest. Note: There will be no report next week, the week of Thanksgiving.

Senate Bill 1569 (Extend government pension tax exemption to private sector pensions)
Introduced by Sen. Michael Switalski (D) on November 4, 2010, to extend to the pensions of non-government workers the same state income tax exemption granted to the pensions of retired government employees. Note: Although government pensions up to certain limits are state income tax exempt, the pensions of non-government workers are not exempt and are subject to the 4.35 percent state income tax. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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Senate Bill 1585 (Require government pension system disclosures)
Introduced by Sen. Michael Switalski (D) on November 10, 2010, to require additional public disclosures for government employee pension systems, including whether the amount of annual contributions to the pension fund are keeping up with its liabilities, and whether its investments are meeting the rate of return projected for them. Note: Many government pension systems assume an 8 percent annual investment return rate considered unrealistic by experts. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 1573 (End certain state cash “corporate welfare” payments)
Introduced by Sen. Nancy Cassis (R) on November 4, 2010, to no longer grant certain cash subsidies to particular firms selected by state “economic development” officials. These particular cash subsidies are called “refundable tax credits,” but they include actual cash payments to corporations, in the amount that a grantee’s “credit” exceeds its Michigan Business Tax liability. The bill is part of a “corporate welfare” package comprised of Senate Bills 1571 to 1574. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 1581 (Fire ineffective teachers)
Introduced by Sen. Wayne Kuipers (R) on November 9, 2010, to allow school boards to require a tenured teacher to serve a four-year probationary period if he or she were rated as ineffective for two consecutive years, and prohibit continued employment unless rated effective in the last year of probation. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 6545 (Facilitate issuance of motorsports complex liquor license)
Introduced by Rep. John Walsh (R) on November 9, 2010, to allow liquor licenses to be issued to "motorsports entertainment complexes" without cutting into the statutory quota imposed on the number of liquor licenses granted in a certain area. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 6551 (Revise phone company phone book mandate)
Introduced by Rep. Tim Melton (D) on November 9, 2010, to repeal a requirement that local phone companies must provide all customers with printed phone books, and instead only require this if a customer asks for one. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 6554 (Impose alcohol sales price controls)
Introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) on November 9, 2010, to impose a statewide mandate that all package liquor must be sold at the same price and the same markup from wholesale prices. Under current law, the state mandates a minimum sale prices. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 6557 (Allow higher Detroit city income tax)
Introduced by Rep. Bert Johnson (D) on November 10, 2010, to increase the maximum city income tax that Detroit can impose to 3 percent on residents and 1.5 percent on nonresidents who work there. Under a 1998 deal that allowed the city to continue getting higher state revenue sharing payments despite falling population, Detroit was required to gradually reduce its city income tax to 2.0 percent for residents and 1.0 percent for non-residents. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 6555 (Declare April to be "Arab-American Heritage Month")
Introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) on November 9, 2010, to establish that henceforth, as a matter of law and statute, April shall be known as "Arab-American Heritage Month" in the state of Michigan. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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