Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting
House Bill 4369, Codify “education achievement authority” for failed schools: Passed 57 to 53 in the House
To codify in statute the powers and structure of a state “education achievement authority” (already created by means of an administrative “interlocal agreement”), which is an office in the Department of Education tasked with managing, overseeing or contracting-out the operations of public schools deemed to have failed academically.
House Bill 4093, Make permanent a federally-imposed drunk driving standard: Passed 110 to 0 in the House
To make permanent the 2003 decrease in the drunk driving intoxication threshold (from .10 to .08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood) that was mandated by the federal government as a condition of federal road funding.
House Bill 4378, Repeal interior designer registration: Passed 110 to 0 in the House
To repeal a law that establishes a government interior designer registry and makes it available to state or local government agencies. To be included on the registry a designer must have passed a test created by a national organization of incumbent interior designers. This organization has sought repeatedly in this state to impose a full licensure and regulatory regime on interior designers, with several bills introduced in previous legislatures. The bill was amended to leave in place a peculiar provision "allowing" interior designers provide design services (explicit government permission is generally not required to practice a non-licensed occupation in this country).
House Bill 4320, Expand forest property tax breaks: Passed 94 to 16 in the House
To expand the eligibility for property tax breaks granted to owners of smaller forest property parcels (a separate program gives breaks to large "industrial" forest tracts and requires those owners to allow public recreational access). The bill would also double the number of acres eligible for these smaller "qualified forest" 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 proposed "Private Forestland Enhancement Fund" to subsidize private forestland management activities, and revise other details of this program.
Senate Bill 252, Authorize state subsidies for marina dredging projects: Passed 106 to 4 in the House
To appropriate $1 million for state subsidies to private marinas for harbor dredging. The state would pay 5 percent of bank loans of up to $500,000 per marina.
Noteworthy Committee Hearings and Action
Perhaps the most newsworthy committee events this week involved “non-actions” by appropriations subcommittees related to next year's budget. Specifically, budget bills advanced by these committees did not include plans to spend $1.2 billion from new road money taxes Gov. Snyder has requested. Also, they did not include plans to spend money the state would get from the federal government for an optional Medicaid medical welfare program expansion that is part of the federal health care law (widely referred to as “Obamacare”), meaning that majorities on these committees are not prepared to commit the state to that expansion.
These are the very first steps in a budget process that will not be completed before June, and during which these items may be revived. A related “non-event” was the Senate choosing not to vote on House Bill 4111, passed by the House on Feb. 28, which would appropriate $30.5 million in federal grant money to set up a consumer assistance call center associated with insurance subsidies provided by the federal health care law.
In the previous week, House committees advanced several bills of interest:
-- House Bill 4026, the reintroduction of a unanimously-passed bill vetoed by Gov. Snyder last year to require to require state agencies local governments to review the constitutionality of cross-border agreements with the federal government or another state.
-- House Bill 4249, to preempt local governments from adopting ordinances or policies that require private sector employers to provide paid or unpaid employee leave that is not required under state or federal law.
Thursday was the last session day before the Legislature retires for a two-week spring break.
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.