April 10, 2015, MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call

Hospital “prices,” cigarette taxes, unions, monopolies and more

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The House and Senate are on a two-week spring break. Therefore, this report contains several recently introduced bills of interest.


Senate Bill 147: Require hospitals to post their “prices”

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Introduced by Sen. Joe Hune (R), to require hospitals to place on their website or make available in other ways a copy of their “charge description master,” defined as “a uniform schedule of charges represented by the hospital as its gross billed charge for a given service or item, regardless of payer type.” Note: Most hospital prices are negotiated with insurers and government agencies, and are not based on market competition. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 148: Cut cigarette tax

Introduced by Sen. Joe Hune (R), to cut the state cigarette tax in half, from $2 per pack to $1. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 151: Repeal deadline on prisoner DNA evidence appeals

Introduced by Sen. Steve Bieda (D), to repeal a Jan. 1, 2016 deadline for a prisoner to appeal his or her conviction on the basis of evidence generated by new DNA testing technology. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 156: Repeal FDA approved drug lawsuit ban

Introduced by Sen. Steve Bieda (D), to allow product liability lawsuits against drug companies for drugs that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Under a 1995 Michigan tort reform law such lawsuits are prohibited unless a company intentionally used fraud or bribery to gain approval for a drug. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 170: Authorize high school “STEM” diploma

Introduced by Sen. John Proos (R), to authorize granting a high school diploma “endorsement” to a student who completes a specified number of science, technology, engineering and math courses (STEM). Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 172: Require government “morning after” pill information campaign

Introduced by Sen. Bert Johnson (D), to require the state health department to disseminate specified information about “emergency contraceptives” (the “morning after” pill). Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 181 and House Bill 4283: Extend open records law to legislators

Introduced by Sen. Steve Bieda (D) and Rep. Brandon Dillon (D), respectively, to repeal the exemptions from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act for records in the possession of legislators and their staff. The bills do not exempt communications to legislators from constituents. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4261: Ban “open carry” in concealed pistol “gun free zones”

Introduced by Rep. Andy Schor (D), to ban “open carry” of firearms in “gun free zones” specified in the state concealed pistol license law, which include schools, day care centers, stadiums, arenas, theaters, bars, churches, college dorms and classrooms, hospitals, casinos and courts. Also, to add public libraries to this list. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4291: Impose recycling mandate on cell phone and tablet makers

Introduced by Rep. Leslie Love (D), to expand a 2008 law that imposed a new regulatory regime mandating that manufacturers of computers and related equipment take back used units and recycle the parts, so that it also applies to cell phones and tablet computers. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4298: Give big electric utilities a monopoly on generation

Introduced by Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R), to repeal a law that authorizes competition for 10 percent of electric utilities’ customer base. This would essentially restore the complete monopolies enjoyed by large utilities before a broad customer choice and competition regime was authorized by a 2000 law, which in 2008 was restricted to the current limit of 10 percent of their markets. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4311: Repeal government unions’ duty to represent non-members

Introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn (R), to establish that government employee unions have no duty to represent workers who have elected not to pay union dues or fees, as permitted under the state’s right to work law. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4333: Prohibit corporate subsidy deal modifications

Introduced by Rep. Lee Chatfield (R), to prohibit state officials from modifying corporate tax break and subsidy deals granted to particular businesses under a Michigan Economic Growth Authority law, which was repealed in 2011. The bill follows revelations that officials continue to amend and modify these deals in ways that may increase the size of a recently disclosed $10 billion liability they have generated. 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.


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