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 House and Senate are in the midst of a summer break, so rather than votes this week’s report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest.

Senate Bill 517: Cut cigarette tax
Introduced by Sen. Joe Hune (R), to reduce the state cigarette tax from $2 per pack to $1.00 per pack, and cut other tobacco taxes proportionately. Before a 75-cent increase in 2004 smokers paid $1.25 per pack, and before a 50-cent increase in 2002 the tax was 75 cents per pack. The current tax is tied for 11th highest in the nation. If the bill became law this would fall to 30th place. Sens. Jansen and Brandenberg are cosponsors. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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Senate Bill 554: Include breastfeeding woman as civil rights protected class
Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), to include a woman who is breastfeeding in the protected classes in the state civil rights law. The bill would prohibit denying a breastfeeding woman “the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation,” and these places from having or posting a policy that a breastfeeding woman's patronage or presence is “objectionable, unwelcome, unacceptable, or undesirable.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4802: Ban police and fire pension “spiking”
Introduced by Rep. Douglas Geiss (D), to prohibit the “average final compensation” on which local government police and firefighter pensions are based from exceeding the employees base pay by more than 55 percent (due to overtime, fringe benefits, sick leave, bonus pay and other extras). This would apply only to employees hired beginning in 2011. House Bill 4060 amends a different state law to accomplish the same goal. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4806: Impose contraceptive insurance mandate
Introduced by Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D), to impose a new coverage mandate that would require health insurance policies that contain prescription drug coverage to cover contraceptives under the same terms, co-pays, etc. as other covered prescription drugs. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4810: Impose pap smear insurance mandate
Introduced by Rep. Vicki Barnett (D), to impose a new coverage mandate that would require health insurance policies sold in Michigan that include gynecological coverage to pay for annual pap smears. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4813: Impose infertility insurance mandate
Introduced by Rep. Sean McCann (D), to impose a new coverage mandate that would require health insurance policies sold in Michigan that include pregnancy coverage to also include coverage for infertility treatment. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4814: Require “crisis pregnancy” centers give abortion information
Introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows (D), to require that if a “crisis pregnancy” organization (defined as a non-profit organization that provides services and counseling to women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies) does not provide information on abortion, then it must explicitly tell a woman seeking services that it "does not provide information that would lead to a pregnancy termination, location of pregnancy termination services, or birth control information.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4815: Assert post-ban legality of "Michigan-made" incandescent lightbulbs
Introduced by Rep. Tom McMillin (R), to establish that incandescent light bulbs of any wattage may be sold in Michigan if they are completely made in Michigan, notwithstanding a federal law phasing-in a ban on bulbs 40 watts and above starting in 2012. Congress claims authority to impose this ban based on the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause, so presumably a 100 percent Michigan bulb would be exempt. A similar bill was recently introduced in Texas. 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 http://www.MichiganVotes.org.

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