March/April 2009 Michigan Capitol Confidential Articles

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Note: Up to date information, an opportunity to comment and plain-English descriptions of all bills and amendments discussed are available at

Escort Service?

Click here to comment on and see House Bill 4229

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Compensation of Michigan lawmakers

Listing of state lawmaker compensation across the U.S.A.

Secret Ballot

Click here to comment on and see House Resolution 10

Property Tax Protections Assaulted

Click here to comment on and see House Bill 4313

Michigan Chamber of Commerce statement on Sinking Funds

Michigan Chamber of Commerce analysis of Sinking Funds

House Legislative Analysis of HB 4313

Creating Cool

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School Union Denounces "Dangerous Trend"

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Mackinac Center school service privatization article #1

Mackinac Center school service privatization article #2

Mackinac Center school service privatization article #3

Senate Scoring: Liberal vs. Conservative

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1. House Bill 5524 (End electric power provider competition)

2. House Bill 4163 (Prohibit allowing private workplace smoking)

3. Senate Bill 776 (Ban partial birth abortion)

4. House Bill 5283 (Revise BCBS individual health insurance policy regulations)

5. Amendment to strip out a provision prohibiting the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration from developing and imposing on businesses "ergonomics" regulations.

6. Senate Bill 505 (Exempt judges from CPL "gun free zones")

7. House Bill 6644 (Ban all retail alcoholic beverage home shipments)

8. Amendment to strip out a provision prohibiting the DEQ from regulating wetlands use in counties with fewer than 100,000 people until a detailed state wetland inventory required by statute as a condition for such regulation provides more detailed information than the current version, which has been criticized as not meeting the legislative intent.

9. Amendment to strip out a provision that allows the transportation department to finish a $20 million Detroit River international crossing (DRIC) study, but only on the condition that this does not bind the state in any way to construction or future action on the project. Note: The owner of the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario has proposed building a second bridge with essentially no Michigan taxpayer dollars; the DRIC project would use state money to build a second bridge a short distance away.

10. Senate Bill 296 (Regulate children's ORV use in certain organized events)

11. Amendment to prohibit a regulated water withdrawal which may reduce certain measures of fish populations in a coldwater stream by 1 percent, rather than 3 percent as proposed by the bill.

12. Amendment to strip out the previous amendment, which had been recommended by the "committee of the whole," and which would allow charter schools in Detroit to expand.

13. Senate Bill 1242 (Phase out 22 percent MBT surcharge)

14. Senate Joint Resolution L (Require supermajority for any service tax)

15. Amendment to tie-bar a tax cut to a Senate Bill that would increase the maximum length of time an individual may receive unemployment insurance benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.

16. House Bill 6014 (Ban under age 16 operating a personal watercraft)

17. House Bill 4184 (Expand "boot camp" prison alternative)

18. Amendment to tie-bar a bill to House Bills 4301 and 4628, meaning the first bill cannot become law unless those ones do also. Those are Democratic-sponsored bills expanding the definition of "disabled" in the no-fault insurance law, and making it easier for unions to take PAC contributions from workers' paychecks without their permission.

19. Senate Bill 1524 (Extend utility truck seasonal weight limit exemption)

20. Senate Bill 213 (Authorize higher electric bills for non-nuclear "renewable" power)

21. Amendment to authorize the establishment of watershed management districts.

22. Senate Bill 1558 (Authorize liquor licenses for continuing care retirement centers)

23. Senate Bill 897 (Impose recycling fees and mandates on computer makers)

24. House Bill 4848 (Increase fees on licensed entities and professions)

25. Senate Bill 1632 (Extend convention facility tax)

26. Motion that further consideration be postponed for the day regarding a bill to allow no-reason absentee voting. This is a parliamentary maneuver that places the decision of whether to eventually move for an actual vote on the bill into the hands of the Senate Majority Leader.

27. Senate Bill 1370 (Revise billboard moratorium details and ease restrictions)

28. House Bill 6608 (Loosens restrictions on selling and reselling LP gas containers)

29. Amendment to add $5 million in spending for various government preschool programs.

30. Substitute offered to adopt a version of the bill that does not include the federal "Real ID" act provisions, including the requirement that the Secretary of State check the citizenship or legal resident status of drivers license and state ID card applicants against a real-time database. Instead, the substitute would just clarify that these documents may be issued to non-citizens who are legally in the state.

31. Amendment offered to pledge to repeal Michigan's prohibition against filing a lawsuit against legal drugs that have successfully been through the FDA drug approval process.

32. House Bill 4688 (Authorize higher drain tax assessments)

33. House Bill 4552 (Increase penalties for certain animal abuse crimes)

34. House Bill 5046 (Require retailers let certain customers use restroom)

Are Socialists Deciding Close State House Races?

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I'm Just A Bill

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House Bill 4478 (Authorize Boy Scouts specialty plate)

Senate Bill 128 (Authorize "In God We Trust" specialty plate)

Senate Bill 199 (Authorize Boy Scouts specialty plate)

House Bill 4352 (Authorize" Michigan heritage" specialty plate)

Senate Bill 135 (Authorize Humane Society specialty plate)

Senate Bill 324 (Authorize Ducks Unlimited fundraising plate)

House Bill 4167 (Authorize Humane Society specialty plate)

Senate Bill 49 (Produce "I Believe" license plates)

Senate Bill 59 (Authorize Habitat for Humanity fundraising license plate)