Note: There will be no weekly roll call report during Christmas week.

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 618, Eliminate charter school cap: Passed 22 to 16 in the Senate

To concur with the House-passed version of a bill to eliminate the cap of 150 on the number of charter schools that can be authorized by state universities, starting in 2015 (with 300 allowed in 2012 and 500 in 2013 and 2014). This vote sends the bill to the Governor for signature, which is expected.

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Who Voted "Yes and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 5187, Revise Oakland County board reapportionment: Passed 20 to 17 in the Senate

To give the Oakland County commission the authority to reapportion county commissioner districts, and to change the number of commissioners. Reportedly this is part of a plan to reduce the number of commissioners from 25 to 21. Under current law, the county's reapportionment is done by a five-member board.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 760, Lower pistol length definition to 26 inches: Passed 36 to 2 in the Senate
To change the law defining any firearm less than 30 inches in length as a “pistol,” making this 26 inches. Some rifles with folding stocks are less than 30 inches, and so under Michigan law are technically subject to the same purchase and other restrictions as pistols.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 865, Prepare "vehicle" bill for extending Emergency Manager law if referendum: Passed 26 to 12 in the Senate
To pass a "shell" version of this bill with no substantive provisions, but which can be modified later to extend the Emergency Manager law passed earlier in 2011 if it is suspended in 2012 pending a potential referendum in November. This possibility was triggered by a statewide petition drive reportedly orchestrated by government employee unions unhappy with the power given to emergency managers appointed under that new law to throw out collective bargaining agreements they believe a fiscally failed municipality cannot afford.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 5014, Adopt supplemental appropriation without "Obamacare exchange" money: Passed 20 to 17 in the Senate
To concur with a House version of a mostly non-controversial year-end supplemental appropriation that does not include $9.8 million added by the Senate to create a state "exchange” to administer federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” subsidies.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 855, Give particular firm $50 million state electric car subsidy: Passed 82 to 24 in the House
To authorize giving $50 million in state tax breaks and cash subsidies to a firm called “Townsend Ventures,” which wants to use the former Ford Motors Wixom plant to make systems related to electric car batteries. If enacted, this would be the second time the legislature has authorized a large cash subsidy for an outfit wanting to use this closed plant; the first deal fell through (see 2009 Senate Bill 777). The bill would also reduce by $25 million a similar subsidy for a Johnson Controls Corporation battery plant (which is also the beneficiary of almost $300 million in federal subsidies, and potentially up to $48.5 million in other Michigan subsidy/tax breaks).

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 806, Revise unemployment insurance: Passed 61 to 47 in the House
To revise various elements of the state unemployment insurance social welfare system. This is part of the package authorizing state borrowing to pay off some $3.2 billion in unemployment system debt, owed because benefit payments exceeded payroll tax revenues. The bill would revise the formulas for assessing these payroll taxes on employers; require beneficiaries to accept alternative work at lower pay than currently required; increase required job-search disclosures and reporting by beneficiaries; clarify factors making an employee ineligible for unemployment benefits (like stealing or absenteeism); and more.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 569, Continue giving subsidies to film producers: Passed 92 to 15 in the House
To convert the state film incentive program into straightforward handouts to producers, rather than indirect ones paid through the expiring Michigan Business Tax, with payments of up 32 percent of a producer's Michigan payroll expense, plus some additional subsidies. For 2012, $25 million was appropriated for these subsidies, but nothing in the bill limits how much the Michigan film office can authorize, and once it does the state is obligated to pay. Reportedly the bill sponsor wants to increase the annual payouts to $100 million.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 484, Authorize state borrowing to pay off unemployment debt to feds: Passed 64 to 44 in the House
To authorize a state unemployment “obligation assessment” imposed on all employers to service the debt incurred through state borrowing to pay off some $3.2 billion owed to the federal government for unemployment benefits paid to residents over the past several years. Senate Bill 483 authorizes the borrowing ("bond sales").

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 618, Eliminate charter school cap: Passed 58 to 49 in the House
To eliminate a cap of 150 on the number of charter schools that can be authorized by state universities, starting in 2015 (with 300 allowed in 2012 and 500 in 2013 and 2014). The bill would also allow charter schools to operate the same grade levels at multiple sites; create more transparency and conflict of interest regulations for charters; exempt charters from property tax; and more.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Interested in all the Roll Calls from this year? Cumulative List of All Weekly Roll Call Report Votes for 2011

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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