Eight Days, 196 Bills, 12 Constitutional Amendments

Repeal film subsidies, let nurses do more, stalking registry

Since the Jan. 15 opening day, members of the new 98th Legislature have introduced 196 bills and proposed 12 amendments to the state constitution. It will be several weeks before any bills get a vote so this report describes some new bills of interest.

Senate Bill 31: Create new sports official assault crime

Introduced by Sen. Morris Hood, III (D), to authorize penalties of up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine for assaulting a sports official. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

Senate Bill 33: Require schools to give parents information on their children

Introduced by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R), to require the state Department of Education and public school districts to disclose to a student’s parent or guardian upon request any educational, personal or other information they collect about the student. Also, whether the information was shared with other persons or entities, including details on what information and to whom. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 68: Expand scope of practice for nurses

Introduced by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R), to revise the “scope of practice” allowed for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, making it possible for them to provide more medical services without being under the direct supervision of a physician. Similar bills in the past have struggled due to opposition from the physician’s lobby. The bill would also authorize subsidies to APRNs who practice in “underserved” areas. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 70: Extend, expand college job training subsidies to some employers

Introduced by Sen. Peter MacGregor (R), to make permanent a program authorized by a 2008 law that allows community colleges statewide to borrow up to $50 million to provide job training subsidies to particular employers and earmark certain future state income tax collections to repay the debt. Senate Bill 71 would eliminate the $50 million cap on these subsidies. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bills 4027 & 4086; Senate Bills 23 & 30: Exempt some pension income from income tax

Introduced by various Republican and Democratic sponsors, to exempt certain pension income from state income tax. None of the bills specify spending cuts or replacement taxes to offset the roughly $343 million the exemption would reduce state tax revenue. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4081: Create new online “stalking” offender registry

Introduced by Rep. Fred Durhal, III (D), to create an online public registry of individuals convicted of “stalking” crimes, similar to the existing sex offenders registry. The bill prescribes registration requirements, procedures, fees, penalties and more. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4083: Revise youth gang offense criteria

Introduced by Rep. Klint Kesto (R), to revise the penalties and the criteria in a 2008 law that authorizes enhanced sentences for a felony that is committed by a youth gang member. Under current law the criteria for determining gang association is whether the gang provides the “motive, means or opportunity” to commit the crime. The bill would change this to the presence of much more specific factors and would change the maximum penalty to 10 years and $10,000, in addition to the penalty for the underlying or “predicate” crime. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4122: Repeal film producer subsidies

Introduced by Rep. Dan Lauwers (R), to repeal the program that gives Michigan tax dollars to film producers, as of Oct. 1. In the current fiscal year, $50 million in subsidies to film producers have been authorized. Since 2008, some $500 million in taxes collected by the state have been distributed to producers. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Johnson, Somerville, Leutheuser, Rendon, Kelly, Bumstead, Chatfield, Barrett, Howrylak, Glenn and Victory. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4118: Authorize student loan tax credits

Introduced by Rep. Andy Schor (D), to authorize an income tax credit equal to 50 percent of the amount of student loan debt payments made by a resident (subject to some caps) who got a degree from a college or university in Michigan and is employed in this state. The credit would not be “refundable,” but would reduce an individual’s tax liability on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Also, to give a tax credit to an employer who pays up to half of an employee’s student debt, subject to the same provisions. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Joint Resolution F: Equalize school funding

Introduced by Rep. Tom Barrett (R), to place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to require that all school districts get the same amount of state and local tax revenue for school operating purposes. Current funding levels are the product of a complex formula enacted by the 1994 Proposal A tax limitation and school finance measure, and are based in part on the ability of richer or poorer communities to pay higher or lower property taxes and the level of local school taxes before 1994. (Proposal A essentially established a minimum per student funding level statewide.) The measure does not specify whether equalization would come from lowering high-spending districts’ revenue or increasing it for low-spending districts, and if the latter, where the new money would come from. 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.