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.
Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting
Senate Bill 971, Limit unionization of grad student research assistants: Passed 26 to 12 in the Senate
To establish that state university graduate students who work as research assistants are not considered government employees for purposes of enrolling them into a union, if their work terms do not meet an IRS "20 factor test" for employee status.
Senate Bill 683, Pre-fund (optional) state retiree health benefits: Passed 36 to 0 in the Senate
To appropriate $250.9 million to "pre-fund" optional post-retirement health insurance benefits the legislature has chosen to give state government retirees. Under current law, these benefits are paid each year out of regular state government revenue. Unlike pensions, the Supreme Court has ruled these are not "accrued benefits" and so may be eliminated or cut at any time; former employees who get them are still eligible for Medicare at age 65.
Senate Bill 929, Revise “21st Century Jobs Fund” business subsidy program: Passed 35 to 2 in the Senate
To revise the procedures by which beneficiaries of the "21st Century Jobs Fund” business subsidy program are selected, transferring authority from “independent experts” to political appointees on the Michigan Strategic Fund board. The bill would also reduce program reporting requirements; reduce the amount grant recipients can spend for "overhead;" and make other changes.
Senate Bill 370, Bring unemployment benefits increase bill to a vote: Failed 24 to 12 in the Senate
To discharge a bill increasing state unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks from committee and bring it directly to the Senate floor for a vote.
House Bill 4445, Provide transition classes to insolvent Highland Park Schools students: Passed 23 to 13 in the Senate; Passed 63 to 45 in the House.
To appropriate $4 million to pay school districts and charter schools near the effectively-bankrupt Highland Park school district to provide classes this year to the children in that district. Highland Park reportedly spent $16,000 per student, on revenues of $14,000 per student, and can no longer meet payroll. The bill also authorizes $12.5 million for programs intended to assess kindergarten and government "early childhood education" programs; spends $4 million in federal "edu-jobs" stimulus money; and makes several smaller appropriations. Finally, it adjusts school aid distributions to reflect lower than expected local property tax revenue and other factors.
House Bill 5033, Ban welfare for big lottery winners: Passed 67 to 39 in the House
To explicitly authorize in statute an existing $5,000 asset cap for food stamp eligibility; and also to include money won in lottery or other gambling as part of “countable income” for purposes of determining eligibility for food stamps and other state welfare benefits.
Interested in a cumulative list of all weekly Roll Call Report Votes for 2012?
SOURCE: MichiganVotes.org, a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit http://www.MichiganVotes.org.