Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report on interesting votes and bills in the Michigan Legislature, and includes how each legislator voted. To find out who your state senator is and how to contact him or her go here; for state representatives go here.

House Bill 4214, Increase power of school and local emergency financial managers, passed 62 to 47 in the House
To greatly enhance the powers of Emergency Financial Managers appointed to manage fiscally failing municipalities and school districts. EFMs would have the power to cancel or amend existing government or school employee union collective bargaining agreements and other contracts. School EFMs would have authority over academic matters. An EFM could also order new borrowing, or put a property tax millage increase on the ballot.

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House Bill 4160, Spend more on tourism industry subsidies, passed 35 to 1 in the Senate
To authorize spending a total of $20 million from the “21st Century Jobs Fund” business subsidy program to pay for promotional subsidies for the tourism industry (“Pure Michigan” ads) this year, in addition to $5.4 million from another source. In effect, the bill adds another $10 million to what's already been committed.

Senate Bill 20, Ban imposing new business ergonomic regulations, passed 69 to 38 in the House
To prohibit the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) or other state agencies from imposing rules and regulations regarding workplace “ergonomics.” During the Granholm administration, a “workgroup” kept meeting for several years to draft such rules.

Newly Introduced Bills of Interest

House Bill 4305 (Establish “Arizona” illegal alien law and more)
Introduced by Rep. David Agema (R), to require state agencies and local governments to verify the legal U.S. residence status of every person who applies for various kinds of welfare benefits. Also, to mirror provisions of a controversial Arizona statute by requiring law enforcement officers and agencies to make a reasonable attempt when practicable to determine the immigration status of any person detained under any lawful stop, detention, or arrest if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal alien. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution L (Repeal constitutional prohibition on graduated state income tax)
Introduced by Rep. Jeff Irwin (D), to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to repeal the prohibition on a graduated state income tax in Michigan. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4309 (Repeal consolidated government employee transfer restrictions)
Introduced by Rep. Paul Opsommer (R), to repeal a law that prohibits the consolidation of services between local governments unless any transferred employees keep the same benefits, privileges, work rules, etc. that they had in their prior position. Related bills establish that the new entity created to provide the service would not be bound by existing union collective bargaining agreements. Under current law, existing employees must be given all their same benefits, seniority, salary, etc. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4321 (Slightly reduce teacher tenure mandates)
Introduced by Rep. Thomas Hooker (R), to place in escrow the pay of a teacher accused of a serious crime and suspended by the school district (which is optional - nothing in the law requires suspension). Such suspensions continue until a sometimes very lengthy series of procedures and potential union challenges have been completed. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 191 (Cap attorney contingency fees)
Introduced by Sen. Bruce Caswell (R), to cap attorney contingency fees in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits using a sliding scale based on the net amount recovered, ranging from 33 percent of the first $1 million, and only 10 percent of the amount over $5 million. Contingency fees allow a lawyer to take a case and only receive payment if damages are awarded. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

SOURCE: MichiganVotes.org, a free, nonpartisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, nonpartisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit MichiganVotes.org.

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