August 5, 2016 MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call Report

Mandate more music, restrict fracking, surrogate moms and more

The House and Senate held pro-forma sessions this week with no votes. Therefore, this report continues its series of describing some of this year’s interesting or noteworthy bill introductions.

Senate Bill 718 and House Bill 5284: Mandate school music classes
Introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) and Rep. Erika Geiss (D), to require that public schools provide children in grades K-5 with 90 minutes of music instruction a week, taught by an instructor who has particular academic credentials specified in the bill. SB 718 would impose a quota of one of these instructors for every 400 children in a school, and in HB 5284 the quota would be one for every 650. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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Senate Bill 720 and House Bill 5232: Tighten process for imposing "historic district" property owner restrictions
Introduced by Sen. Peter MacGregor (R) and Rep. Chris Afendoulis (R), to revise the procedure for establishing or eliminating local “historic districts,” whose appointed boards have the power to restrict the improvements that property owners may make to their buildings and land. The bill would require two-thirds of the property owners in the affected to give preliminary approval before the process of creating a district could be initiated, and a majority of voters in the community would have to approve it in an election before the district’s restrictions could be imposed. The bill would also put a 10 year sunset on these restrictions, which could be renewed only by another vote of the people. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 741: Revise healthcare facility rationing (“Certificate of Need”)
Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R), to revise the state “Certificate of Need” (CON) program, which rations the availability of health care facilities and technology. The bill would remove cone-beam dental imaging equipment from the list of items for which a company must get government approval before it can be installed in a Michigan facility. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 780: Make particular symbol the “emblem” of fallen service members
Introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R), to establish in statute that a symbol created by a particular private organization (“Honor and Remember, Inc.”) is the state’s official emblem for armed service members killed in the line of duty, and no other private organization’s symbol. Senate Bill 781 would give this group the privilege of raising money through state specialty license plate sales. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 810: Ban concealed pistol permit to people on federal terrorist watch list
Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), to prohibit an individual on a federal terrorist watch list from getting a concealed pistol permit. Use of this list for other purposes has been criticized due to its high number of names that are reportedly false positives. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 811: Permit surrogate mother contracts
Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), to permit “gestational surrogate parentage” contracts. A 1988 law banned all surrogate mother contracts that require a woman to “relinquish her parental or custodial rights” to a child she bears whether she conceived the child or an embryo was implanted. The proposed new law would permit the latter – contracting for a woman to bear and relinquish an implanted child to whom she is not related – subject to various conditions specified in the bill and with the approval of a court in advance. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 5307: Expand school vision testing
Introduced by Rep. Amanda Price (R), to require public schools to give vision screening exams to all students in grades 3, 6 and 8. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 5316: Close schools used as presidential polling place on election day
Introduced by Rep. George T. Darany (D), to allow schools that are used as polling places for a presidential primary election to close on election day without this counting against the number of days that current law requires them to be in session. See also House Bill 5153, introduced by Democratic Rep. George T. Darany, which would automatically close all schools used as polling places on any election day. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 5353: Borrow $1 billion for water, sewer and other infrastructure projects
Introduced by Rep. Andy Schor (D), to place before voters in the November general election a proposal to borrow $1 billion for unspecified infrastructure improvements to water and sewer systems, and also other purposes such as improvements to government buildings. The state would commit its full faith and credit to repaying this additional debt. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 5366: Impose new regulations on gas and oil “fracking”
Introduced by Rep. Sarah Roberts (D), to ban issuing any new permits for the extraction of natural gas or oil using the hydraulic fracturing process unless the legislature enacts a more restrictive regulatory, disclosure and public notice regimes described in the bill. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 5370: Impose “fracking” pollution presumption
Introduced by Rep. Julie Plawecki (D), to establish as a rebuttable presumption for legal liability, that any groundwater contamination “in the vicinity” of an oil or gas well using the hydraulic fracturing extraction process was caused by the chemicals used in that process. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


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