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.

Senate Bill 693, Create state "Obamacare exchange:" Passed 25 to 12 in the Senate
To create as a state entity the "exchange" mandated by the federal "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," the primary purpose of which will be to administer the insurance subsidies provided by that law to households up to 400 percent of poverty level (around $80,000 for a family of four in Michigan). Called the "MIHealth Marketplace," this non-profit agency would create a website on which individuals can select an insurance policy that complies with PPACA mandates, and have eligibility determined for the law's subsidies.

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If the state has not made "measurable progress" toward creating an exchange by the start of 2013, the federal government could choose to create its own version for the state. Among other things, this state entity would also determine whether particular individuals are subject to the PPACA's "individual mandate" to purchase insurance. It would not be subject to the state Freedom of Information Act, and its operations would be funded by imposing fees on insurance providers.

Who Voted "Yes and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 5014, Authorize more spending (including for "Obamacare exchange"): Passed 28 to 8 in the Senate
To appropriate an extra $366.3 million for several items, including $9.8 million from a federal grant to create a state "exchange” to administer federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” subsidies. Also included is $119 million that is nearly all federal money for incentive payments to health care providers and facilities to adopt state-approved electronic health care record systems. The bill also appropriates the money from a new 1 percent tax on health insurance claims designed to “game” the federal Medicaid system to get higher federal payments to Michigan’s medical welfare system, and additonal amounts for related items.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Resolution 95, Declare "Obamacare" violates Constitution and urge repeal: Passed 20 to 17 in the Senate
To declare that the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "violates the U.S. Constitution, including the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and the constitutional principles of federalism and dual sovereignty on which this nation was founded," and urge its repeal or invalidation. Note: Republicans who voted for a state PPACA "exchange" all voted for this resolution, which has no force of law, and those who opposed the "exchange" bill voted against this gesture.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4293, Repeal fireworks ban: Passed 33 to 1 in the Senate
To establish a comprehensive regulatory regime for allowing the sale of currently illegal "consumer fireworks" including firecrackers, bottle rockets, aerial spinners, Roman candles, etc. (but not M-80s, cherry bombs, etc.). The bill proposes a $1,000 permit fee for sellers, $600 for temporary location "tent" sellers, and a mandate that sellers carry a $10 million insurance policy. It would impose a 6 percent tax ("fireworks safety fee") in addition to the usual 6 percent sales tax. Local governments could prohibit using fireworks, but could not ban sales.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4573, Limit state regulation promulgation authority: Passed 27 to 9 in the Senate
To establish specific procedures state agencies must follow before promulgating to administrative law regulations, among other things requiring a formal “decision record," and a process for affirming that an appropriate and necessary policy and legal basis exists for a rule.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4326, Ban state regulations more stringent than federal standards: Passed 25 to 11 in the Senate
To prohibit a state department or agency from promulgating rules more stringent than required by applicable federal standards.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 637, Require school Pledge of Allegiance recitation: Passed 31 to 5 in the Senate
To require students in public schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day. However, the bill would prohibit compelling a student to recite the pledge if parents or the student complains, and would require schools to ensure that a student who doesn't say the pledge is not bullied for it. It would also requires flags in each classroom and over each school building.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4445, Whitmer amendment to spend extra tax revenue on public schools: Failed 14 to 22 in the Senate
To spend all the extra money the state received from higher than expected tax revenues during the end of the last fiscal year on public schools (rather than any for any other spending items, potential tax cuts or a "rainy day fund" deposit). The extra money would be allocated on a per-student basis.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 166 Repeal some but not all of "bad driver tax" penalties: Passed 107 to 0 in the House
To repeal some but not all of the “driver responsibility fees” (“bad driver tax”) imposed for various violations. Repealed are penalties for driving with an expired license, and failing to have insurance or proof of insurance. These very expensive fees were originally adopted in 2003 to avoid spending cuts in that year’s and subsequent state government budgets.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 275 Establish new limits on government permit delays: Passed 66 to 41 in the House
To limit the power of a state department to delay a required permit by claiming the application is not “administratively complete.”

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4326 Ban state regulations more stringent than federal standards: Passed 59 to 48 in the House
To prohibit a state department or agency from promulgating rules more stringent than required by applicable federal standards.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4163 Require school bullying policies: Passed 88 to 18 in the House
To require schools to adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying, but not one enumerating specific characteristics, including gender, race and sexual orientation. The House version does not include the exemption added by the Senate to its bullying bill, Senate Bill 137, for "a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

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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