More votes from the final sessions of the 2011-2012 Michigan Legislature.

Note: Next week's edition will be an annual "Missed Votes Report" showing how many roll call votes were missed during the year by each legislator.

Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting


Senate Bill 865Replace repealed "Emergency Manager" law: Passed 23 to 15 in the Senate
To replace the Emergency Manager law passed in 2011 and repealed by a statewide referendum with a new law, which will give fiscally-failed cities or school districts a choice of either entering a reform plan consent agreement with the state, entering mediation to create such a plan, being allowed to declare bankruptcy in federal court, or having an emergency manager appointed with powers similar to those that triggered the union-sponsored referendum (to invalidate unaffordable or unsustainable government union contract provisions). The replacement also adds a public information meeting requirement to the process; specifies procedures and conditions for exiting the financial emergency; explicitly gives a school EM authority over academic matters; and contains a modest appropriation that makes it "referendum-proof." This vote sent the bill to the Governor for signature.


House Bill 5463Subsidize new Red Wings Stadium: Passed 27 to 11 in the Senate
To authorize using the Detroit "Downtown Development Authority" as the vehicle to deliver taxpayer subsidies for a new sports stadium complex owned by Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. The DDA would pledge property tax revenues it "captures" from schools and other local governments to repay debt it incurs to provide the subsidies. The bill would also exempt DDAs from property and other taxes, and revise details of public officials' appointments to DDA boards.


House Bill 6060Impose additional restrictions on recalling politicians: Passed 22 to 16 in the Senate 
To reduce the time citizens have to collect signatures on a politician recall petition from 90 days to 60 days. Also, to empower county election commissions to determine whether the reasons for a recall petition are stated both "factually and clearly." This may violate Article 8, Section 8 of Michigan's constitution, which asserts that recallers don't have to justify their reasons, but only make them clear.


House Bill 4496Authorize some community college bachelors degrees: Passed 20 to 17 in the Senate 
To allow community colleges to grant bachelor degrees in nursing, cement technology, maritime technology, energy production technology or culinary arts.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"


House Bill 6026, Earmark use tax to cover reduced tool tax revenue: Passed 23 to 14 in the Senate
To earmark a portion of state use tax revenue determined each year by the Department of Treasury to replace some of the local government revenue lost due to proposed reductions in the property tax imposed on business tools and equipment ("personal property tax"). The bill will require approval of voters in the August, 2014 election.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"


House Bill 5668Increase auto dealer restrictions; authorize regional transit authority; more: Passed 21 to 17 in the Senate 
To revise details of the comprehensive regulatory regime imposed on auto dealers, and use this law to authorize the regional property taxes and reserved highway lanes for buses included in the new Detroit regional mass transit authority created by Senate Bill 909. Among other things the bill would impose much more rigorous regulations that would have the effect of raising barriers to entry for vehicle wholesaler businesses; restrict cell phone use by truck drivers; impose new fees and more. The provisions were included in a new Casperson substitute on the last day of the lame duck legislature.


House Bill 5523Ban employers or schools asking for Facebook passwords: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate 
To prohibit employers and schools, colleges and universities from requesting or requiring employees or students to disclose their social networking account passwords, login information or other security information, subject to penalties up to 93 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, plus lawsuit liability. Also, to authorize sanctions for an employee who transfers an employer's proprietary, confidential or financial information to a personal internet account.


Senate Bill 1069Cut tax imposed on manufacturers' tools and equipment: Passed 57 to 51 in the House
To gradually eliminate the so-called “personal property tax” levied on tools and equipment used by manufacturing firms (including things like assembly lines). Another bill in this package would reduce (but not eliminate) the amount of this tax extracted from commercial businesses, and others would reimburse the revenue that local governments and school districts now collect from the tax. This tax currently costs Michigan employers around $1.2 billion annually, which over time would fall to about half that amount.


House Bill 4851Revise medical marijuana law regulations: Passed 29 to 9 in the Senate 
To prohibit a doctor from prescribing medical marijuana unless there is a “bona fide physician-patient relationship,” as defined in the bill. This would require the doctor to get the patient's medical history, perform a physical and keep records. The bill also requires medical marijuana grown outside to be securely locked in a fenced area; and revises regulations on transporting medical marijuana, and on the "primary caregivers" authorized to provide it for an individual. Because the bill amends an "initiated law" enacted through a popular vote, a three-fourths majority is required.


House Bill 6008, Establish new “non-ferrous” mine taxation regime: Passed 26 to 12 in the Senate 
To revise the taxation of “non-ferrous” mines (including new copper and other mineral mines in the Upper Peninsula). The bill is part of a package that would exempt these mines from property, income, sales and use taxes, and instead levy a “severance tax” based on the amount of material extracted. Various credits would be allowed against pre-operational start-up costs, including regulatory compliance costs. Most of the tax revenue would go to the local government, but some would go to a new state “rural development fund" run by political appointees who would decide how to spend it, subject to broad guidelines specified in House Bill 6009.


House Bill 5225, Repeal pistol purchase permit mandate: Passed 27 to 11 in the Senate
To repeal the law that prohibits purchasing a pistol from a federally licensed dealer unless a person gets a "purchase permit" from local police, but leave this requirement in place for person-to-person sales. Federal law already requires gun sellers to perform an "instant background check" on the buyer using a federal database. Gov. Rick Snyder signed this bill, with a Dec. 27 effective date.


Senate Bill 59Provide exceptions to concealed pistol "gun free zones": Passed 27 to 11 in the Senate 
To exempt concealed pistol license holders who have completed at least eight hours of additional training from the "gun free zone" limitations in the CPL law, which bans licensees from carrying in a certain areas. Also, to transfer the duty of issuing concealed pistol licenses from a county licensing boards to county sheriffs, and change a number of other details of the CPL law. This bill was vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder.


Senate Bill 59Provide exceptions to concealed pistol "gun free zones": Passed 68 to 41 in the House
The House vote on the "gun free zone" exceptions described above.


Senate Bill 878Authorize one privatized prison: Passed 56 to 50 in the House
To allow, but not require, the Department of Corrections to contract out the incarceration of prisoners to a private prison in a five year contract, if doing so would save at least 10 percent. This could include a contract to house adult prisoners at the former Michigan youth correctional facility in Baldwin, a privately owned and managed prison whose previous contract with the state was revoked by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2005.


Senate Bill 1051Ban school board voting with conflict of interest: Passed 108 to 1 in the House
To prohibit school board members from voting on union and other contracts if a family member has an interest in a contract or works for the school district, including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, nephew or niece, etc. A board member having a child in a district school would not trigger this restriction.


Senate Bill 1263Revise state “civilian conservation corps” program: Passed 109 to 0 in the House
To authorize conversion of the state “Civilian Conservation Corps” into a nonprofit run by a private entity. Other bills would cap CCC participation at two years, limit participants' compensation, require the program to persuade colleges and universities to give credit for CCC participation, and more.


House Bill 5668, Increase auto dealer restrictions; authorize regional transit authority; more: Passed 59 to 45 in the House
To revise details of the comprehensive regulatory regime imposed on auto dealers, and use this law to authorize the regional property taxes and reserved highway lanes for buses included in the new Detroit regional mass transit authority created by Senate Bill 909. Among other things the bill would impose much more rigorous regulations that would have the effect of raising barriers to entry for vehicle wholesaler businesses; restrict cell phone use by truck drivers; impose new fees and more. The provisions were included in a new Casperson Senate substitute on the last day of the lame duck legislature.


Senate Bill 970Allow higher Detroit city income tax for streetlight repairs: Passed 59 to 50 in the House
To allow Detroit to suspend a gradual reduction of its (uniquely high) city income tax rate, and indirectly use the additional revenue to repay new debt incurred to fix broken streetlights.




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.