December 5, 2014, MichiganVotes Weekly Vote Report

Road funding, religious freedom, film subsidies & more

Senate Bill 1149, Authorize new state Senate office building: Passed 25 to 13 in the Senate

To authorize the sale of the Farnum Senate office building in Lansing and construction of a new building for Senators’ offices.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 1073, Grant medical facility rationing exception to McLaren Health Systems: Failed 11 to 26 in the Senate

To authorize a special exception to the health care facility rationing imposed by the state’s “Certificate of Need” law that would allow McLaren Health Systems to build a new facility in Clarkston. The CON program prohibits new or expanded health care facilities and technology unless providers get permission from a state commission.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

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Senate Bill 1150, Reduce maximum truck weights: Failed 15 to 22 in the Senate

To reduce the maximum weight of trucks allowed on Michigan roads from 164,000 to 80,000 pounds. This would not necessarily reduce the maximum weight per axle, which could mean more trucks to carry the same weight.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 5217, Limit employer liability for ex-con with state “certificate of employability”: Passed 27 to 11 in the Senate

To limit the liability of employers in personal injury, property damage and wrongful death lawsuits arising from the actions of an employee who is an ex-convict hired after the individual was granted a “certificate of employability” by the state Department of Corrections, as proposed by House Bill 5216.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 952, Establish new local and school budget process requirements: Passed 24 to 14 in the Senate

To prescribe procedures, notification and budget-cutting requirements, and monitoring for a public school district that experiences a gap between projected revenue and actual spending (a deficit), or is in the midst of “rapidly declining financial circumstances,” including substantial declines in enrollment. The state Department of Education could potentially assume authority over financial and academic matters, or withhold funding from a district that fails to take the required actions.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 953, Authorize emergency manager for school district that fail to address deficits: Passed 23 to 15 in the Senate

To authorize appointment of an emergency manager for a public school district that fails to comply with actions required to correct a deficit or address “rapidly declining financial circumstances.”

 Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 1130, Mandate Hepatitis disclosure to sex partner: Passed 28 to 10 in the Senate

To make it a felony for an individual who knows he or she has Hepatitis C to have sex without telling the sex partner about having the disease. This already applies to AIDS.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 247, Authorize some 4 a.m. liquor licenses: Passed 22 to 14 in the Senate

To allow bars and restaurants in a “central business district” of a city to stay open until 4:00 a.m. on weekends if they pay a $10,000 annual fee and have extra bouncers and security cameras.

 Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4998, Appoint “entrepreneurs-in-residence” at Michigan Strategic Fund: Passed 30 to 6 in the Senate

To require the state agency responsible for granting and overseeing selective tax breaks and subsidies granted to particular corporations or developers to appoint up to 10 “entrepreneurs-in-residence” to recommend ways to expand and improve the these programs.

 Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 1135, Impose new child car seat mandates: Passed 36 to 1 in the Senate

To require a child who weighs less than 30 pounds to be transported in a rear-facing child seat; and a child who weighs from 30 to 50 pounds to be transported in a forward-facing child seat. Age would not be a factor in the above mandates. A child under age 10 who is less than 57 inches tall would have to be transported in a booster seat.

 Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 5958, Enact a “religious freedom restoration act”: Passed 59 to 50 in the House

To establish that the state or a local government “shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability,” unless this is done “in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest” and uses “the least restrictive means” to further that interest.

 Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 1103, Extend film producer subsidies: Passed 73 to 37 in the House

To extend the law authorizing state subsidy payments to some film productions until 2022 (under current law it ends in 2017), and make some changes to the subsidy allocation formula. This year $50 million was appropriated for these subsidies.

 Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4539, Phase out sales tax on fuel sales: Passed 56 to 53 in the House

To phase out charging the 6 percent sales tax motor fuel sales over six years. House Bill 5477 would gradually increase the motor fuel tax by an equivalent amount. The bill requires the legislature to continue funding schools and local government revenue sharing at least as much as the previous year (this is where most sales tax revenue goes). If it did not, then the 6 percent sales tax would automatically be re-imposed on fuel sales. The bills would shift about $1 billion more from current state spending to roads each year when fully phased in.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 5477, Replace per-gallon fuel tax with higher wholesale tax: Passed 58 to 51 in the House

To replace the current 19-cent per gallon gas tax and 15-cent diesel tax with a 7.5 percent wholesale fuel tax, gradually increasing to 13.5 percent over six years. When fully phased-in this would represent a tax hike of around $1.0 billion at current wholesale fuel prices. However, House Bill 4539 would phase out the state sales tax on fuel sales over the same period if enacted, resulting in no net tax increase.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”


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