Bills of Interest from MichiganVotes.org
MichiganVotes.org sends out a weekly roll call vote report to newspapers showing how legislators in their area voted on the most important or revealing votes of the week. The Legislature is on spring break, but here are several recently introduced bills of interest.
Senate Bill 210: Increase charity sales tax exemption
Introduced by Sen. Michael Green, R-Mayville, to exempt from sales tax up to $25,000 in annual retail sales made by a nonprofit organization for fundraising purposes, rather than $5,000 under current law. At least 10 similar bills raising the $5,000 cap have been introduced since 2002. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 217: Require legislative votes on “Michigan Strategic Fund” spending
Introduced by Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, to require that all money spent by the “Michigan Strategic Fund” be actually appropriated by the Legislature. This agency oversees both government job training programs and the state “economic development” apparatus that delivers selective corporate tax breaks and subsidies to particular firms. Under current law, state revenue from Indian casino agreements goes directly to this agency with no legislative vote or approval required. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 221: Increase sex offender registry fees
Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, to require individuals on the public sex offender registry to pay $50 each year, rather than just a one-time $50 fee. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 247: Authorize some 4 a.m. liquor licenses
Introduced by Sen. Virgil Smith, Jr., D-Detroit, to allow bars and restaurants in a “central business district” of a city to stay open until 4:00 a.m. if they pay a $10,000 annual fee and have extra bouncers and security cameras. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 203: Prohibit employment for less than mandated minimum wage
Introduced by Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, to make it unlawful to employ a worker for less than $7.90 an hour beginning in 2014, increasing in steps to $10 an hour in 2016, notwithstanding any voluntary agreement between the employer and employee. The current state minimum wage level mandated for hourly employees not covered by a federal wage mandate is $7.40 an hour. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4386: Prohibit employment for less than mandated minimum wage
Introduced by Rep. Jon Switalski, D-Warren, the same bill as the previous, except the mandated minimums would be $8.20 an hour beginning July 1, 2013, and $9.00 an hour in 2014. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4240: Ban unemployment benefits if job applicant refuses drug test
Introduced by Rep. Ken Goike, Ray Township, to prohibit unemployment benefits for a person who refuses to take a drug test required as part of a particular job application. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4236: Restrict privatization of state services
Introduced by Rep. Jim Townsend, D-Royal Oak, to prohibit the privatization of government services unless the savings to the state would be at least 10 percent of the cost of the same service being performed by government workers. The bill would also require any state department or agency seeking to privatize any state services to conduct a pre-privatization cost-benefit analysis, and also to impose extensive disclosure and auditing mandates on any contractor who receives such a contract.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4312: Authorize enhanced penalties for drive-by shooting
Introduced by Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes, D-Saginaw, to authorize up to life in prison for intentionally discharging a firearm from a vehicle when this causes death (as in a “drive-by” shooting), and 15 to 20 years if someone is injured. These penalties would be on top of any imposed for assault, attempted murder, etc. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4314: Create open records compliance commission
Introduced by Rep. Tom McMillin,R-Rochester Hills, to create a state commission comprised of lawmakers and media representatives to investigate complaints about the state and local governments' compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, including fees charged and exemptions or exclusions claimed. The commission could refer complaints to the state Attorney General and would have the duty of recommending changes based on information it gathers. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4328: Next year’s state budget (non-education)
Introduced by Rep. Joseph Haveman, R-Holland, Gov. Rick Snyder’s executive budget recommendation for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, 2013. This would authorize $36.605 billion in non-education state spending in the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, 2013, compared to $34.355 billion enacted the previous year. (These are “gross” spending amounts, not adjusted to reflect inter-department transfers.) Some $18.955 billion of this will come from federal government. The total executive budget recommendation including education is $51.607 billion. House and Senate appropriations subcommittees use this as the basis to craft actual department budgets, and began advancing these last week.
Senate Bill 222: Next year’s state budget (education)
Introduced by Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, Gov. Rick Snyder’s public school, community college and university budget recommendation for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, 2013. This would appropriate $13.23 billion for K-12 public schools, compared to $12.81 billion authorized in the previous year’s budget. The bill also appropriates $1.43 billion for state universities, compared to $1.39 billion enacted for this year. Community colleges would get $335 million versus $294 million enacted for this year. House and Senate appropriations subcommittees use this as the basis to craft the actual budgets, and began advancing these last week.
(Editor's note: Every Saturday, Michigan Capitol Confidential brings you a story about a bill being discussed in committee or presented in the Legislature for a vote. For more information, go to www.michiganvotes.org.)