This week's report:

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 report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest.

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Senate Bill 573: Limit foreclosure by lender who refuses government subsidy program
Introduced by Sen. Tupac Hunter (D) on August 24, 2011, to prohibit a lender or mortgage holder from foreclosing by the common “foreclosure by advertisement” method if the mortgage holder does not participate in a government “help for hardest hit” program that gives subsidies to certain residential homeowners who have mortgages larger than they can afford. A lender or mortgage holder could still undertake judicial foreclosure proceedings, which are more costly and time consuming than foreclosure-by-advertisement. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 574: Regulate “unfit for sale” dog and cat sales
Introduced by Sen. Steve Bieda (D) on August 24, 2011, to define as “unfit for sale” dogs or cats sold by pet shops and related businesses if an animal is found within 30 days to have had a contagious or infectious disease that existed at the time of purchase, or becomes ill or dies from a hereditary or congenital defect within 90 days. The seller would have to a provide a refund, exchange the animal for another, pay for veterinary fees paid by the owner, or some combination of these. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 575: Facilitate schools using municipal buses as school buses
Introduced by Sen. Howard Walker (R) on August 24, 2011, to allow local municipal transit agency buses that transport schoolchildren under contracts or arrangements with school districts to have warning lights and a stop sign like regular school buses. Senate Bill 576 requires drivers to stop for these buses just like school buses. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 583: Exempt bullion sale profits from capital gains tax
Introduced by Sen. Joe Hune (R) on August 24, 2011, to exempt capital gains realized on the sale of a gold bullion and coins from state income tax. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 584: Set date and authorize “closed” Republican presidential primary
Introduced by Sen. Randy Richardville (R) on August 24, 2011, to authorize a Republican presidential primary election between Feb. 28 and March 6, 2012. This would be a “closed” primary, meaning voters would have to “declare” that they want a Republican ballot. The voter lists would become public information. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4879: Grant union officials “privileged information” privilege
Introduced by Rep. Richard LeBlanc (D) on August 24, 2011, to grant union officials the privilege of withholding information they obtain about union members or related matters in a court or other government proceeding (similar to the client confidentiality privilege granted to lawyers). Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4880: Make crime to not report dead body
Introduced by Rep. Richard LeBlanc (D) on August 24, 2011, to make it a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine to not report the discovery of a dead body with the purpose of hiding or concealing the fact or cause of death. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4882: Authorize and regulate sinking ships for diving
Introduced by Rep. Greg MacMaster (R) on August 24, 2011, to establish regulations and permit procedures for sinking a ship to create a recreational diving structure. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4884: Mandate Emergency Managers give local job and contract preferences
Introduced by Rep. Shanelle Jackson (D) on August 24, 2011, to require emergency managers appointed by the state to run fiscally failing local governments and school districts to take various actions specified in the bill to give local companies and residents preference in government or school contracts and jobs. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4885: Prohibit gas tax levy based on miles driven
Introduced by Rep. Paul Opsommer (R) on August 24, 2011, to prohibit the use of a motor fuel tax system that tracks where a particular car is driven, with the information collected by GPS systems. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4887: Protect right to garden from local zoners
Introduced by Rep. Paul Opsommer (R) on August 24, 2011, to prohibit a local zoning authority from banning residents growing fruit and vegetables on their property, or banning “de minimis” value sales of the produce. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4889: Ban using welfare money for sex change operations
Introduced by Rep. Thomas Hooker (R) on August 24, 2011, to ban using any state welfare or Medicaid money to pay for sex-change operations. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4890: Mandate filters on all public library computers
Introduced by Rep. Thomas Hooker (R) on August 24, 2011, to eliminate an option in current law that lets public libraries choose to allow unfiltered internet access on computers used only by adults, if they also have filtered computers for minors. Instead, all library computers would be required to have “software that blocks or restricts receipt of visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors.” 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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