88 New Bills in Four Days — a Sampler

Ban local Uber bans, restrict religious freedom restrictions

In the four regular session days so far, members of the new 98th Legislature have introduced 88 bills. It will be several weeks before any substantive non-procedural votes are taken, so this report describes some new bills of interest.

House Bill 4032: Regulate Uber, Lyft, etc.; preempt local bans

Introduced by Rep. Tim Kelly (R), to establish a regulatory framework that would enable “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft to operate in this state, including a preemption on local government regulations or bans. This would include permit, insurance, driver background check and vehicle inspection and customer disclosure mandates, and prohibit street hailing and the use of cab stands by the vehicles. A version of this bill was advanced to the point of a House vote in December but the vote was then postponed. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4041: Ban welfare and remove children from home for truancy

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Introduced by Rep. Al Pscholka (R), to prohibit giving welfare benefits to a household with children who are truants or not being educated, and remove the children from the household. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4042: Authorize tax on horse-drawn vehicles

Introduced by Rep. Joel Johnson (R), to empower counties to impose a registration fee (tax) of up to $50 on horse-drawn vehicles. A vote of the people would be required. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4052: Ban local &ldqo;community benefit” mandate as condition of developing property

Introduced by Rep. Earl Poleski (R), to prohibit local governments from adopting a “community benefits” ordinance that imposes mandatory wage, benefit, or leave time requirements on developers or contractors as a condition of developing a piece of property. This would also prohibit locals from imposing a “prevailing wage” mandate requiring these employers to pay “union scale” wages, to the extent this is not already required by state or federal law. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4053: Increase penalty for paying a person to run for office

Introduced by Rep. Earl Poleski (R), to authorize up to one year in prison and $500 fine for promising, providing, or accepting valuable consideration to run (or not run) for a political office. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4057: Mandate “disparate impact” study for new industrial facilities

Introduced by Rep. Stephanie Chang (D), to require an applicant for an air quality emissions permit to submit a study of the “increased and cumulative risks” of discharges for a project in a “likely disparate impact” area, and require the Department of Environmental Quality to hold a hearing and consider this before issuing a permit. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 4: Enact a “religious freedom restoration act”

Introduced by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R), 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. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 5: Increase Earned Income Tax Credit

Introduced by Sen. David Knezek (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). Note: A bill requiring this was enacted in December but is contingent on voters approving a sales tax increase in a May 5 election. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 15: Assert immunity of “Michigan-made” firearms from federal gun bans

Introduced by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R), to establish that firearms which are completely made in Michigan may be possessed and sold in this state, notwithstanding any potential federal gun bans claiming authority based on the U.S. constitution’s interstate commerce clause. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 20: Require that criminal offenders know act was unlawful for conviction

Introduced by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R), to establish that in any new law creating a criminal offense, if the law does not indicate whether a “culpable mental state” (“mens rea”) is required to establish guilt, the presumption will be that this is required, meaning that prosecutors must show that the defendant violated the law “purposely, knowingly or recklessly.” Under current law, many complex “administrative” offenses authorize criminal penalties for actions that a regular person would not know are illegal. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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.