Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting

Senate Bill 97Repeal child car seat penalty waiver provision: Passed 35 to 1 in the Senate 
To repeal a provision of the law mandating car seats for children under age four that waives penalties for a violation if the driver subsequently obtains a car seat and brings it or the receipts to court.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 135, Increase age of consent for teacher-student sex: Passed 32 to 4 in the Senate 
To revise a law that defines sex between a teacher or school employee and a student age 16 or 17 as third degree criminal sexual contact (sex with a younger student is a more serious offense). The bill would raise that upper limit to include students age 18, 19 and 20 in the prohibition.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 44Add more crimes to sex offender registry: Passed 106 to 3 in the House
To place on the state’s public sexual offender registry individuals who commit certain crimes deemed insufficiently serious to warrant this consequence, except that the victim is a minor. This would include indecent exposure, knowingly possessing child sexually abusive material, surveillance of an undressed individual, and knowingly restraining another person. The additions would be retroactive, so that individuals convicted of these offenses in the past now would have to place themselves on the sex offender registry. An amendment to remove the retroactivity was defeated on a voice-vote.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 60Clarify legality of certain pistol sales: Passed 75 to 34 in the House 
To make a technical change to a statutory reference to federal firearms dealers. Reportedly this is necessary because under current state law, many licensed dealers could be considered in violation every time they sell a pistol.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 51Expand forest property tax breaks: Passed 35 to 0 in the Senate
To expand the eligibility for certain forest property tax breaks, increase their value, double the number of acres eligible for the tax breaks from 1.2 million to 2.4 million statewide, authorize a new 2 mill property tax on property in this program that would go to a proposed "Private Forestland Enhancement Fund" to subsidize private forestland management activities, and revise many other details of this program.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 48Ease bear cub "petting zoo" restriction: Passed 26 to 9 in the Senate
To exempt bear cubs up to 36 weeks old from restrictions on the possession and handling of large carnivores older than 20 weeks. This would allow "petting zoos" and similar operations to let members of the public have contact with bear cubs. Reportedly the bill was introduced after Oswald's Bear Ranch in Newberry was ordered to halt this activity.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Noteworthy Committee Hearings and Action

A House committee voted to advance Senate-passed bills to overhaul the regulatory structure governing Blue Cross Blue Shield, without adding a controversial provision banning the insurer from providing elective abortion coverage except by an optional rider. This provision caused Gov. Rick Snyder to veto almost-identical bills late last year. The legislation, Senate Bills 61 and 62, would reduce restrictions on the nonprofit insurer's ability to own for-profit subsidiaries, and it would no longer be subject to close oversight by the state Attorney General. Reportedly, BCBS controls as much as 70 percent of the statewide health insurance market.

Another committee advanced House Bill 4093, which would make permanent the 2003 increase in the drunk driving intoxication threshold (from .06 to .08 blood alcohol level) mandated then as a condition of federal road funding.

A Senate committee heard testimony but did not vote on Senate Bill 123, which would expand the number of local governments allowed to borrow and spend for convention facilities, and let current convention authorities borrow and spend more to build a second facility.

A number of House and Senate appropriations subcommittees took testimony on various elements of Gov. Rick Snyder's budget recommendation for next year.

Last week, House and Senate appropriations subcommittees held informational hearings on Gov. Snyder’s request that they appropriate $30.5 million in federal grant money for a so-called “partnership exchange” under the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” a.k.a. Obamacare. This would be a federal health insurance subsidy and eligibility operation in which the state performs certain ancillary functions, as determined through negotiations with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, possibly including customer assistance. According to the Gongwer and MIRS news services, lawmakers had more questions than executive branch officials were able to answer at this time.

February 15, 2013, 
MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting

Senate Bill 51Expand forest property tax breaks: Passed 35 to 0 in the Senate
To expand the eligibility for certain forest property tax breaks, increase their value, double the number of acres eligible for the tax breaks from 1.2 million to 2.4 million statewide, authorize a new 2 mill property tax on property in this program that would go to a proposed "Private Forestland Enhancement Fund" to subsidize private forestland management activities, and revise many other details of this program.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

 

Senate Bill 48, Ease bear cub "petting zoo" restriction: Passed 26 to 9 in the Senate
To exempt bear cubs up to 36 weeks old from restrictions on the possession and handling of large carnivores older than 20 weeks. This would allow "petting zoos" and similar operations to let members of the public have contact with bear cubs. Reportedly the bill was introduced after Oswald's Bear Ranch in Newberry was ordered to halt this activity.

 Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Noteworthy Committee Hearings

House and Senate appropriations subcommittees held informational hearings on Gov. Snyder’s request that they appropriate $30.5 million in federal grant money for a so-called “partnership exchange” under the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” a.k.a. Obamacare. This would be a federal health insurance subsidy and eligibility operation in which the state performs certain ancillary functions, as determined through negotiations with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, possibly including customer assistance. According to the Gongwer and MIRS news services, lawmakers had more questions than executive branch officials were able to answer at this time.

 

Recently Introduced Bills of Interest

Senate Bill 99: Expand school “sinking fund” uses to include security
Introduced by Sen. Howard Walker (R), to allow school districts to use “sinking fund” taxes for “school security.” Under current law, school sinking funds are permanent funds that may be used only for infrastructure-related spending including buying land, construction and major repairs. Schools can levy up to five mills for sinking funds. Since new operating expense millages were prohibited by a vote of the people in the 1994 Proposal A initiative, it is likely that the bill would require a 3/4 majority vote in the House and Senate, as required by the Constitution on any bill amending an initiative adopted by popular vote. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 128: Increase state Earned Income Tax Credit
Introduced by Sen. Bert Johnson (D), to increase the state earned income tax credit from an amount equal to 6 percent of the federal EITC, to 20 percent. This is a “refundable” credit for low income workers (meaning that a check is sent to the taxpayer for the balance of the credit exceeding taxes owed). According to a House Fiscal Agency analysis, this increase would cost $261 million annually. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 137: Ban abortion coverage in state "Obamacare“ exchange
Introduced by Sen. Mark Jansen (R), to prohibit the insurance “exchange” created under the federal health care law from providing policies that include coverage for abortion. A person could use their own money to buy an optional insurance policy rider that reimburses the costs of an abortion. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 169: Allow driverless car testing
Introduced by Sen. Mike Kowall (R), to allow the operation on highways of an automated “driverless” vehicle for testing purposes, subject to narrow conditions. A human operator would have to be present to monitor performance and intervene if necessary. Gov. Rick Snyder called for this in his 2013 State of the State address, and the bill was the subject of an informational hearing this week.

House Bill 4148: Authorize more community college bachelors degrees
Introduced by Rep. Mike Shirkey (R), to allow community colleges to grant bachelor degrees in nursing, “ski area management,” wastewater treatment technology, “allied health,” information technology, and manufacturing technology. This would be in addition to community college bachelor degrees authorized by a 2012 law, which included cement technology, maritime technology, energy production technology and culinary arts. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4202: Impose “Amazon tax” on internet purchases
Introduced by Rep. Eileen Kowall (R), to impose the state sales tax on catalog or internet purchases made from a seller outside the state if the seller has an “affiliate” located in Michigan, in the manner pioneered by internet retailer Amazon.com. The bill has 17 cosponsors from both parties, and is the reintroduction of a 2011 bill that appeared to be part of a national lobbying campaign by “big box” retail stores. Referred to committee, no further action at this time. 

February 8, 2013, 
MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting

Senate Bill 89Vehicle trade-in “sales tax on the difference” only: Passed 34 to 2 in the Senate

To exempt from sales tax the value of a trade-in when buying a new motor vehicle, titled watercraft or recreational vehicle. The buyer would only pay sales tax on the difference between the agreed value of the trade-in and the purchase price of the new vehicle. The tax break would be phased in gradually through 2021, when its value would reach $226 million annually.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Newly Introduced Labor Policy Bills of Interest

Senate Bill 95: Repeal right-to-work law
Introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D), to repeal the Michigan “right-to-work” law enacted in 2012, which prohibits making employee union dues or fee payments a condition of employment. This bill would repeal the part that applies to private sector workers. Senate Bill 96 would repeal right-to-work for government employees. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 157 and House Bill 4172: Repeal “prevailing wage” law
Introduced by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) and Rep. Amanda Price (R), respectively, to repeal the state “prevailing wage” law, which prohibits awarding government contracts to contractors who submit the lowest bid unless the contractor pays "prevailing wages," which are based on regional union pay scales that tend to be above the market rate. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4201: Ban using government, school resources for politicking & union activities
Introduced by Rep. Tim Kelly (R), to prohibit employees of the state, local governments, school districts or any government employer from using taxpayer resources, including email accounts, for political or union activities. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

February 1, 2013, 
MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting

Senate Bill 61Convert Blue Cross to non-profit "regular" insurance company: Passed 36 to 0 in the Senate
To convert Blue Cross Blue Shield into a “mutual insurance company” and make it subject to the same regulations as regular health insurers. Although it would remain a non-profit, current restrictions on the entity's ability to own for-profit subsidiaries would be reduced, and it would no longer be subject to close oversight by the state Attorney General. In return for being granted this conversion, BCBS would pay "up to" $1.56 billion over 18 years (meaning it could be less) into a fund that would supplement various health-related government programs, with specific spending items selected by a board of political appointees. The bill does not include abortion restrictions that caused Gov. Snyder to veto the same measure when passed late last year.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Newly Introduced Transportation Funding Bills of Interest

In his annual State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder called on the Legislature to explore ways to find an additional $1.2 billion annually to spend on road repairs. This week the Senate responded with a package of tax hike bills.

Senate Joint Resolution J: Replace gas tax with higher sales tax
Introduced by Sen. Randy Richardville (R), to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to impose a 2 percent sales tax increase, with at least 90 percent of the new revenue going to road projects, and most of the rest to municipal bus system subsidies. This would replace the state gas and diesel tax (see Senate Bill 85). At the proposed new 8 percent rate, Michigan would have the nation’s highest state sales tax (although higher rates are imposed in some local jurisdictions). Reportedly the measure is offered as a “Plan B” alternative to the large fuel and/or vehicle registration tax increases proposed by Senate Bills 87 and 88. Referred to committee.

Senate Bill 87: Replace current fuel taxes with higher wholesale tax
Introduced by Sen. Roger Kahn (R), to replace the current 19 cent per gallon gas tax and 15 cent diesel tax with a new tax based on the wholesale price of fuel, initially levied at a rate of 37 cents per gallon. This would also become the minimum gas tax rate even if wholesale prices fell. If wholesale prices rose the maximum tax would be 50 cents per gallon, but the rate could not rise more than a penny a year.
When added to current federal fuel taxes and the 6 percent state sales tax also imposed on fuel (revenue from which does not go to roads), this would give Michigan the nation’s highest total gasoline tax levy at nearly 74 cents per gallon, assuming current wholesale and after-tax pump price levels of around $2.74 and $3.50, respectively. (New York is currently number 1 at 67.4 cents per gallon.) See also Senate Joint Resolution J, a “Plan B” alternative that would instead hike the state sales tax to 8 percent and use the extra revenue to replace current fuel taxes. Referred to committee.

Senate Bill 88: Increase vehicle registration taxes by 80 percent
Introduced by Sen. Roger Kahn (R), to increase the annual vehicle registration (license plate) tax by approximately 80 percent, with comparable increases for trucks and trailers. As an example, the annual tax on a car with a $20,000 list price would increase from $98 to $176, and under Senate Bill 86, remain at this level until the vehicle is 10 years old (when it would drop to 50 percent). See also Senate Bills 84 to 87 and Senate Joint Resolution J. Referred to committee.

Senate Bill 86: Revise, increase vehicle registration taxes
Introduced by Sen. John Pappageorge (R), to revise various vehicle registration tax details. Among other things, the bill would change the basis on which the car and pickup tax is assessed. Instead of the basis gradually dropping to 72.9 percent of the list price and staying there from the fourth year on, the basis would become 100 percent of the value when new until the car is 10 years old, when it would drop to 50 percent, a change that would extract approximately $64 million more annually from owners. The bill would also end the current one-time $75 trailer registration tax, returning to an annual tax on trailers; those who had already paid the one-time tax would be “grandfathered.” Referred to committee.

January 25, 2013, 
MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

The state House and Senate finalized their organizational details for the new session this week. There was just one final-passage floor vote on a substantive measure, a gun bill, see roll call information below. This report therefore includes several other newly-introduced firearms-related bills of interest.

Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting

 

Senate Bill 60Clarify statutory gun dealer reference: Passed 31 to 5 in the Senate
To make a technical change to a statutory reference to federal firearms dealers. Reportedly this is necessary because under current state law, many licensed firearms dealers could be considered in violation of every time they sell a pistol.

 

Newly Introduced Firearms Bills of Interest

Senate Bill 63 and House Bill 4099: Assert immunity of "Michigan-made" firearms from federal gun bans (“Firearms Freedom Act”) 
Introduced by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R) and Rep. Greg MacMaster, respectively to establish that firearms which are completely made in Michigan and remain within its borders may be possessed and sold in this state, notwithstanding any potential federal gun bans that claim authority based on the U.S. constitution’s interstate commerce clause.
The Senate version was approved 3-1 by the Judiciary Committee and sent to the full body for consideration. Republican Sens. Jones, Schuitmaker and Rocca voted “yes” and Democrat Sen. Bieda voted “no.” Meanwhile, House Speaker Jase Bolger told Mirs News the House will go slow on taking up gun bills given that emotions are still raw after the horrific Newtown school shooting in December.

House Bill 4098: Authorize school employee concealed pistols with appropriate training
Introduced by Rep. Greg MacMaster (R) on January 24, 2013, to make an exception to the “gun free school” provision of the state concealed pistol permit law, and explicitly allow a teacher, administrator, or other school employee to carry a concealed pistol if the school’s chief executive officer authorizes this and the individual has received whatever additional training is considered appropriate by the chief executive. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4104: Expand concealed pistol law “gun free zone” to libraries
Introduced by Rep. Andy Schor (D) on January 24, 2013, to expand the “gun free zone” provision of the concealed pistol permit law to include public libraries. The bill would also prohibit carrying firearms openly (unconcealed) in a library. Some gun owners have protested local library gun bans recently by openly carrying firearms in the library; nothing in state law explicitly prohibits the open carry of firearms. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

January 18, 2013, 
MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

The Michigan House and Senate are still getting organized for the 2013-2014 legislative session, which among other things requires giving committee assignments to 110 state representatives and 38 state senators. Each legislator serves on three or four of the dozens of policy and appropriations committees, so regular committee meeting times must also be juggled to minimize conflicts.

Since there were no votes, this week’s report contains several newly introduced bills of interest.

House Bill 4001: Cap open records law charges and increase government scofflaw penalties
Introduced by Rep. Mike Shirkey (R) on January 9, 2013, to cap at 10-cents the per copy charge imposed by a government entity for documents provided under a state Freedom of Information Act request, and require that they permit and not charge a fee for a FOIA requestor’s making copies with his or her own equipment during an on-site records inspection authorized by this law. Also, to reduce the amount charged by a government entity for FOIA-related administrative and copying costs by 20 percent for each day its response exceeds the five-day statutory deadline (plus specified extensions), and increase the punitive awards to a person who successfully challenges an improper FOIA denial from $500 to $5,000, plus actual or compensatory damages. Referral to committee pending, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4004: Authorize new specialty plate; give profits to particular nonprofit
Introduced by Rep. Dian Slavens (D) on January 9, 2013, to authorize a new specialty license plate, with the profits delivered to a government-funded social services agency called “Early On.” Referral to committee pending, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4005: Authorize state child care subsidies and tax breaks
Introduced by Rep. Dian Slavens (D) on January 9, 2013, to authorize a “refundable” state income tax credit (essentially a cash subsidy in many cases) that would be a percentage of a federal income tax child care credit the individual can claim, with the percentage “means tested” on the basis of gross income (ranging from 110 percent for households with less than $25,000 income to 20 percent for those between $65,000 and $100,000). Referral to committee pending, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4007: Declare “tart cherry” to be the official state fruit
Introduced by Rep. Dian Slavens (D) on January 9, 2013, to establish that henceforth, as a matter of law and statute, the tart cherry (Prunus cerasus), and no other cherry, shall be the official Michigan state fruit. Referral to committee pending, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 10: Require paid petition circulator disclosures
Introduced by Sen. Tory Rocca (R) on January 16, 2013, to require that if an initiative or referendum ballot issue petition campaign uses paid petition circulators, the name of the organization providing the compensation for the circulators must be disclosed on the face of the petitions. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 13: Replace diesel and gas tax with higher sales tax
Introduced by Sen. Howard Walker (R) on January 16, 2013, to repeal the state gas and diesel taxes, and replace them with a 1 percent sales tax increase that would be earmarked to roads. This would require a vote of the people. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 41: Ban Obamacare Medicaid expansion
Introduced by Sen. Bruce Caswell (R) on January 16, 2013, to prohibit Michigan from expanding Medicaid eligibility to include all residents up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, including single individuals without children. The federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” a.k.a. Obamacare, originally mandated the expansion, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling made it optional. Medicaid is a medical welfare program funded by a mix of tax dollars raised by the federal and state governments, and originally targeted primarily at low income families with children. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 49: Make government firearms ownership databases non-public information
Introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson (R) on January 16, 2013, to establish that state databases containing information on licenses issued to individuals to purchase, carry, possess, or transport pistols are confidential and not subject to disclosure under the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The bill was introduced after a New York newspaper published the names and addresses of gun owners it acquired from a state database (since then New York has also banned releasing this information). Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

January 11, 2013, 
MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

Michigan’s 97th Legislature convened for the first time this week, with the House and Senate electing officers and adopting rules. Twenty-six House members (out of 110) first elected in November were sworn in, while all 38 Senators continue the four-year terms they began two years ago.

Following the 2010 census, new districts boundaries were created for all 110 House and 38 Senate districts. Please go to the officialLegislators page and follow the Find your Representative and Find your Senator links to identify your current Representative and Senator and their district numbers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Michigan Information & Research Service Inc. (MIRS) has generously granted MichiganVotes.org permission to reprint its guide to the 97th Legislature's 26 new members.

Readers may find it of interest that all but four of these new members appear to have previously held another office, worked for a special interest group, or worked for a unit of government, a public school, a government-funded entity, or a government employee union.

Theresa Abed, D-Grand Ledge, 71st District - N 1090 HOB - 
(517) 373-0853 - TheresaAbed@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Abed served two terms on the Eaton County Commission from 2007 to 2010. She ran for the Michigan House in 2010, coming up short against Rep. Deb Shaughnessy. But two years later, Abed returned and unseated Shaughnessy in a rematch.
Work Experience: Abed has worked in Michigan schools for the last 30 years. Most recently, she was a social worker for the Eaton Intermediate School District.
Education: She has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Wayne State University and a master’s degree in social work from Wayne State University.
Personal: Abed has two grown children: David, age 27, and Kimberly, age 24.

Brian Banks, D-Grosse Pointe Woods, 1st District - S 0585 HOB - 
(517) 373-0154 - BrianBanks@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Banks was a first-time political candidate when he ran for the 1st District seat in 2012. He won a five-way Democratic primary to become the party’s nominee. Then, in the general election, Banks won the 1st District seat overwhelmingly despite questions about his past criminal record.
Work Experience: He has worked as an elementary school teacher and has sat on the advisory board for the Wayne State University Criminal Justice Department. He has also worked as an adjunct professor for Baker College and on the staff of the law firm Rodnick, Unger, and Kaner, P.C.
Education: He has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Wayne State University. He studied law at Michigan State University. Most recently, he’s been studying for his doctorate.
Personal: Banks dropped out of high school in the 11th grade. A few months later, his family convinced him to return and eventually, education became a focus for his life.

Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, 76th District - N 1095 HOB - 
(517) 373-0822 - WinnieBrinks@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: A first-time candidate, Brinks became the Democratic nominee for the 76th District seat after former Rep. Roy Schmidt switched parties to become a Republican in 2012. Brinks went on to easily defeat Schmidt in the general election.
Work Experience: Brinks previously worked as the executive director of The One Way House, a nonprofit corrections agency. More recently, Brinks worked as a case worker at The Source in Grand Rapids.
Education: She is a graduate of Calvin College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a concentration in sociology.
Personal: Her husband’s name is Steve. They have three children.

Terry Brown, D-Pigeon, 84th District - S 1188 HOB - 
(517)-373-0476 - TerryBrown@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Brown served two terms in the House before losing his race for re-election in 2010. Then, in 2012, Brown, one of the Democratic caucus’s more conservative members, returned to win his third term.
Work Experience: Brown worked 23 years for the Huron Intermediate School District. He began his tenure as a social worker and became principal of the Huron Learning Center. Brown has also been an ordained minister for more than 30 years.
Education: He has bachelor’s degree in social work and psychology from Graceland University, a master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Grand Valley State University.
Personal: Brown’s wife’s name is Carol. They have three children.

Tom Cochran, D-Mason, 67th District - S 1086 HOB - 
(517) 373-0587 - TomCochran@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Cochran served three terms on the Mason School Board before winning his seat in the House in 2012.
Work Experience: Cochran served as a Lansing firefighter and paramedic for 28 years. In that time, he was the department’s chief and a union representative. He retired in January 2012.
Education: He has an associate’s degree in fire science from Lansing Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights University.
Personal: Cochran and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of three sons.

Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, 110th District - S 1489 - 
(517) 373-0850 - ScottDianda@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Dianda served as a trustee for the Village of Calumet before running for the 110th House District seat. In 2010, Dianda lost to former Rep. Matt Huuki by about 3,000 votes. But in a rematch in 2012, Dianda unseated Huuki by more than 1,000 votes.
Work Experience: After owning a retail store in Calumet, he worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Education: Dianda has a degree from Lake Superior State University and attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Personal: His wife’s name is Debbie. Dianda is a lifelong resident of the Upper Peninsula.

Gretchen Driskell, D-Saline, 52nd District - S 0986 HOB - 
(517) 373-0828 - GretchenDriskell@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Driskell served on the Saline City Council and became the city’s mayor in 1999. She was Saline’s longest serving and first female mayor. In the 2012 House election, she unseated Rep. Mark Ouimet.
Work Experience: She has worked as a commercial real estate agent and an accountant.
Education: Driskell received her MBA from George Washington University and her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lynchburg College.
Personal: Driskell’s family moved to Michigan in 1988. She has three children.

Pam Faris, D-Clio, 48th District - N 0987 HOB - 
(517) 373-7557 - PamFaris@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: The wife of former Lt. Gov. John Cherry, Faris won the 48th District seat in 2012 after a competitive primary race against Shorty Gleason.
Work Experience: Faris worked 14 years as an employee in the Genesee County Circuit Court system. She also worked in the automobile industry and was a member of UAW Local 581.
Education: She has an associate’s degree from Mott Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Baker College.
Personal: Faris and her husband have two children.

Martin Howrylak, R-Troy, 41st District - N 0890 HOB - 
(517) 373-1783 - MartinHowrylak@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Howrylak served on the Troy City Council from 2000 to 2011. He was the city’s mayor pro tem from 2002 to 2003 and 2007 to 2009. He won a competitive primary and a close general election race in 2012 to become the district’s representative.
Work Experience: He is a licensed and practicing certified public accountant in private practice in Troy. He has been a local business owner since 1990.
Education: He received a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in geological sciences from the University of Michigan in 1998 and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Michigan in 2003.
Personal: Howrylak’s wife’s name is Jane.

Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw, 94th District - N 1198 HOB - 
(517) 373-0837 - TimKelly@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Kelly, who worked in state government in Indiana before moving to Michigan, ran for the House in 2006, losing in the GOP primary. Four years later, in 2010, he won election as a Saginaw County Commissioner. In 2012, he won the 94th District seat.
Work Experience: Having worked in state government in Indiana, Kelly moved to Michigan in 1995 to work as an education policy adviser for former Gov. John Engler. He also worked as special adviser to the director of the former Department of Career Development.
Education: He has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of Denver.
Personal: Kelly and his wife, Deenie, have two sons.

Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Twp., 39th District - S 0888 HOB - 
(517) 373-1799 - KlintKesto@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: A first-time House candidate, Kesto won a competitive six-way primary in August 2012 to become the Republican nominee for the 39th District. In the general election, he defeated his Democratic opponent by about 3,000 votes.
Work Experience: For more than five years, Kesto served as a prosecuting attorney with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office. He has previously worked for the United States Department of Energy and the United States Department of Justice.
Education: Kesto graduated from the University of Michigan with a political science degree in 2002 and then attended Wayne State University Law School, graduating in 2006.
Personal: Kesto became the first Chaldean member of the Legislature in 2013.

John Kivela, D-Marquette, 109th District - S 1488 HOB - 
(517) 373-0498 - JohnKivela@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Kivela was elected to the Marquette City Commission in 2006. He served as the city’s mayor from 2008 to 2012, when he won a competitive primary and a competitive general election race to take the 109th House District seat.
Work Experience: Kivela has done just about everything in the automobile business. He grew up working in his family’s auto repair and distributor business. Later, he became general manager of a used car dealership. Civic Activities: He has been a member of the Marquette Rotary Club, the Elks Club, the Marquette County Chapter of the Paisano Club and the Home Builder’s Association.
Personal: He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, 11th District - N 0690 HOB -
(517) 373-0849 - DavidKnezek@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Knezek was student body president at the University of Michigan-Dearborn before running for the 11th House District seat.
Work Experience: Knezek is an Iraq War veteran. In addition to his military career, he has worked as a substitute teacher in Wayne County.
Education: He has a degree in political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Personal: For much of 2007, 2008 and 2009, Knezek was stationed in Iraq. He was a member of a scout sniper platoon. His mission was to go o
n patrols and to help gather intelligence for the military. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, 16th District - N 0695 HOB - 
(517) 373-2576 - RobertKosowski@house.mi.gov
Personal Career: Despite having worked in government, Kosowski’s first run for political office came in 2012, when he won the 16th District seat.
Work Experience: Kosowski has worked in municipal government for about two decades. Most recently, he worked as the City of Westland’s parks and recreation director.
Education: Kosowski studied business management at Adrian College and Wayne State University.
Personal: He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two sons: Andrew and Austin. The family has resided in Westland for nearly 20 years.

Collene Lamonte, D-Montague, 91st District - N 1195 HOB - 
(517) 373-3436 - ColleneLamonte@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Having never run for political office before, Lamonte got in the race for the 91st House District and won in 2012, unseating Rep. Holly Hughes. Lamonte won by less than 400 votes.
Work Experience: She previously worked as a math and science teacher at Muskegon High School.
Education: Before becoming a teacher, Lamonte studied at Saginaw Valley State University.
Personal: She and her husband, Jeff, have two children.

Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway, 81st District - S 1185 HOB - 
(517) 373-1790 - DanLauwers@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: After college graduation, Lauwers worked in Washington, D.C., for then-Rep. Bill Schuette and for the National Milk Producers Federation. However, Lauwers’ first run for office came in 2012, when he won the 81st District seat.
Work Experience: He is owner and general manager of Eastern Michigan Grain. Previously, he worked for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the National Milk Producers Federation.
Education: He has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Michigan State University.
Personal: He and his wife, Kellie, have three children.

Bill LaVoy, D-Monroe, 17th District - N 0696 HOB - 
(517) 373-1530 - BillLaVoy@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: LaVoy is the son of retired Judge Willian LaVoy. However, 2012 marked LaVoy’s first run for public office. He won the Democratic primary for the 17th District seat by about 300 votes. Then, in the general, LaVoy won by more than 8,000 votes.
Work Experience: For about 14 years, LaVoy worked as the executive director of Monroe Public Access Cable Television.
Education: He is a graduate of Leadership Monroe. He attended Monroe Catholic Central High School and the University of Michigan.
Personal: LaVoy and his wife, Michelle, live in Monroe with their children, Grace and Carolyn.

Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt Twp., 93rd District - N 1197 HOB - 
(517) 373-1778 - TomLeonard@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: In his first run for public office, Leonard won the 93rd District seat in 2012.
Work Experience: He worked as an assistant attorney general for the state and as a prosecutor for Genesee County.
Education: He has a bachelor’s degree in history and Spanish from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Michigan State University.
Personal: His wife’s name is Jenell. Before deciding to practice criminal law, Leonard once considered becoming a sports agent.

Mike McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills, 40th District - S 0889 HOB - 
(517) 373-8670 - MikeMcCready@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Before running for the House, McCready served three terms as a Bloomfield Hills City Commissioner and on the zoning board of appeals and the planning commission.
Work Experience: He is the principal owner of McCready & Associates in Birmingham, a small business that has represented commercial furniture manufacturers in Michigan since 1991.
Education: He is a 1983 graduate of Western Michigan University.
Personal: Mike and his wife, Yvonne, live in Bloomfield Hills and have two daughters.

Dave Pagel, R-Berrien Springs, 78th District - N 1097 HOB - 
(517) 373-1796 - DavePagel@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Pagel served on the Berrien Springs School Board from 1993-2006. Then, he served as a Berrien County Commissioner from 2009-2012. In 2012, Pagel won his first term in the House.
Work Experience: At age of 23, Pagel took over a neighbor’s produce marketing business and saw an opportunity to build a relationship with supermarkets. Over the years, the business, Dave Pagel Produce, gradually developed.
Education: Pagel has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Michigan State University.
Personal: He and his wife, Sue, reside in Berrien Springs and have two sons and two daughters. Many know Pagel simply as “The Apple Guy.”

Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores, 18th District - N 0697 HOB - 
(517) 373-1180 - SarahRoberts@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Roberts is a former Macomb County Commissioner. She first served in the House from 2009-2010. However, she lost her bid for re-election in 2010. Then, for 2012, she was redistricted into an open district, in which she won a second term.
Work Experience: She has worked as a community advocate for Clean Water Action. Most recently, she worked as the legislative director for the Economic Alliance for Michigan.
Education: Roberts graduated from the University of Iowa.
Personal: Roberts is a native and current resident of St. Clair Shores. She volunteers as a local coordinator for Green Michigan and as an Adopt-A-Road organizer.

Rose Mary Robinson, D-Detroit, 4th District - S 0588 HOB - 
(517) 373-1008 - RoseMaryRobinson@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Robinson was first elected a Democratic precinct delegate in 1966. Then, in 1968, she was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She became one of the first women ever elected to the Wayne County Commission in 1970. She was elected to six consecutive terms on the commission from 1970-1982. She won an 11-way primary to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the 4th District in 2012.
Work Experience: She is an accomplished lawyer and is a former attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union Council 25. She has spent the last decades, representing indigent clients.
Education: Robinson received her law degree from Wayne State University.
Personal: Robinson raised six children. She has been inducted into the Michigan Women’s Historical Center Hall of Fame.

Andy Schor, D-Lansing, 68th District - S 1087 HOB - 
(517) 373-0826 - AndySchor@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Schor was elected an Ingham County Commissioner in 2002. He was reelected four times before deciding to run for an open seat in the House in 2012.
Work Experience: Most recently, Schor worked as assistant director of state affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. But he’s also worked as an aide for then-Sen. Gary Peters and then-Rep. Paul Condino.
Education: He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.
Personal: Schor’s wife is Erin. They have two children, Ryan and Hannah.

Sam Singh, D-East Lansing 69th District - S 1088 HOB - 
(517) 373-1786 - SamSingh@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Three years after graduating from Michigan State University, Singh was elected at the age of 24 to the East Lansing City Council. He won re-election for two additional terms. In 2005, he was elected as the youngest mayor in the city’s history.
Work Experience: Singh has worked as a senior consultant for the New Economic Initiative for Southeast Michigan and as a consultant for Public Policy Associates. Singh has also been president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association.
Education: He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Michigan State University.
Personal: Singh is the Michigan House’s first Indian-American member. His wife’s name is Kerry.

Rob VerHeulen, R-Walker, 74th District - N 1093 HOB -
(517) 373-8900 - RobVerHeulen@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: VerHeulen served as mayor for Walker from 2001-2012. He first ran for the House in 2010, losing his bid for the 86th District seat in the primary to Rep. Lisa Lyons. Two years later, he won in the 74th District.
Work Experience: Most recently, he worked as general counsel for the Meijer Foundation. He has practiced law in West Michigan since 1978.
Education: He attended Grand Rapids Community College. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the Wayne State School of Law.
Personal: VerHeulen and his wife, Norma, have lived in Walker for three decades. They have four daughters and eight grandchildren

Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville, 88th District - N 1192 HOB - 
(517) 373-1830 - RogerVictory@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: A first-time candidate, Victory won the GOP primary for the 88th District seat in 2012 by less than 100 votes.
Work Experience: He owns Victory Farms, LLC, a specialty crop producer and Victory Sales, LLC, a national produce distributor. He previously co-owned a trucking company.
Education: He has an associate’s degree in logistics from Davenport University and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Davenport University.
Personal: Victory’s career in agriculture has its roots in junior high school. As a sixth-grader, Victory’s father had a farming operation, so Victory decided to start growing his own vegetables and selling them at flea markets.

Henry Yanez, D-Sterling Heights, 25th District - S 0789 HOB - 
(517) 373-2275 - HenryYanez@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Yanez was a delegate for the 2004 and 2008 Democratic national conventions. He ran for Congress in 2010, losing to Rep. Candice Miller (R-Harrison Twp.). He decided to run for the Michigan House instead of the U.S. House in 2012. Yanez won the 25th District seat by more than 1,000 votes on Election Day.
Work Experience: Yanez worked as a firefighter for 18 years. He retired from firefighting to take his seat in the House in 2013.
Education: He attended Oakland Community College.
Personal: In the fall/winter of 2012, Yanez won election to the House, got engaged, retired from the fire department and found out he will become a grandfather.

Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor, 55th District - S 0989 HOB - 
(517) 373-1792 - AdamZemke@house.mi.gov

Personal Career: Having worked in politics and government previously, Zemke ran for Washtenaw County Commissioner in 2010 and lost. In 2012, he decided to go for the Michigan House and won election at the age of 29.
Work Experience: Zemke has worked in the automobile industry. On the political side, he has previously worked for former Rep. Kathy Angerer.
Education: He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University.
Personal: Zemke is a fifth-generation Washtenaw County resident, who has lived in the community his entire life.

New member profiles courtesy the Michigan Information & Research Service Inc. (MIRS).

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House Resolution 1, Choose Rep. Jase Bolger to be Speaker of the House: Passed 107-2 in the House

To select Rep. Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, as Speaker of the House for the 2013-2014 legislative session. Traditionally, the minority party joins in a unanimous vote for Speaker of the House, but this year two Democrats (Geiss and Slavens) voted "no" to express their displeasure with passage of a Michigan right-to-work law the previous month. Reportedly this was the first time in 46 years the Speaker vote was not unanimous.

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 visithttp://www.MichiganVotes.org.