The House and Senate are in the midst of a summer break, so rather than votes this report contains several recently introduced bills of interest.

Senate Bill 331: Repeal expanded "emergency manager" powers
Introduced by Sen. Coleman Young (D), to repeal the 2012 law that greatly expanded the powers of emergency managers appointed by the state to reform the finances of fiscally failed school districts and municipalities. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 338: Authorize child care subsidy asset cap
Introduced by Sen. Judy Emmons (R), to give the state Department of Human Services the authority to establish an asset test for welfare-related child care subsidies. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 349: Share mental health records with gun buyer background check system
Introduced by Sen. Michael Green (R), to require that information relating to the eligibility of a person who received government-funded mental health services to legally buy or possess a firearm be shared with the national instant criminal background check system for gun purchases. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 359: Require semi-annual state unfunded liability estimates
Introduced by Sen. Darwin Booher (R), to require the twice-a-year “revenue estimating conferences” at which state officials and academic economists estimate how much tax and fee revenue the state can expect to collect (and spend) in the coming year, to also estimate the state’s unfunded liabilities. These liabilities are primarily the product of “defined benefit” government and school employee pension plans for which the legislature has failed to set aside sufficient money to pay promised future benefits. State employees hired since 1997 receive 401(k) “defined contribution” benefits that create no new taxpayer liabilities, but new school employees continue to be enrolled in these underfunded pension plans and create new taxpayer liabilities. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 366: Restrict “bounced check” fees
Introduced by Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), to prohibit a state bank from imposing more than one overdraft fee per day regardless of how many checks a person bounces, and mandate that this fee be charged against the smallest bounced check. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 368: Authorize “Right to Life” license plate
Introduced by Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R), to require the Secretary of State to develop a “Right to Life” fund-raising license plate, with fees collected for the plate going to the Michigan Right to Life anti-abortion organization. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


Senate Bill 369: Require offering “morning after pill” to sexual assault victims
Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), to require emergency room or urgent care clinics to offer “emergency contraception” to victims of sexual assault. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4506: Ban running for office with outstanding criminal fines
Introduced by Rep. Douglas Geiss (D), to prohibit a person who has outstanding criminal fines from filing to run for a political office. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4509: Restrict union “corporate campaigns”
Introduced by Rep. Peter MacGregor (R), to prohibit local governments from imposing regulations that conflict with federal labor laws (such as a local “card check” law that eliminates secret ballots in the union certification process). The bill would essentially prohibit union “corporate campaigns” targeted at the reputation of a particular company and its managers. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4535: Establish “animal abuse registry”
Introduced by Rep. Harvey Santana (D), to require the State Police to maintain an “animal abuse registry” containing the names of individuals who have been convicted of an “animal abuse offense” within the past five years. Individuals on the registry would have to pay a $250 annual “fee,” and like the state’s sex offender registry, would have to update the registry every time they move. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4546: Increase marketing “assessments” imposed on potato growers
Introduced by Rep. Rick Outman (R), to authorize higher marketing “assessments” imposed on potato growers with more than 20 acres. Specifically, the state "potato commission" could increase these fees from the current maximum of 1.5 cents per hundred weight to as much as 5.5 cents. Reported from committee, pending before the full House.


House Bill 4549: Ban government competition with private enterprises (“yellow pages test”)
Introduced by Rep. Greg MacMaster (R), to prohibit government agencies from competing against private enterprises, or subsidizing any charitable or nonprofit institution using government support to do this. Activities normally provided by government would be exempted, including public schools, "essential services" and "necessary services" as defined in the bill. "Vital services," including things like food stores, drugstores, child care, elder care, and telecommunications services could only be provided if there were no private sector alternatives. Privatization of essential and necessary services would be explicitly allowed. A private enterprise could sue to obtain an injunction forcing the government competitor to stop, and to seek compensatory damages. Governments already providing commercial goods or services would be grandfathered, but could not expand. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


House Bill 4554: Prohibit employment for less than mandated wage
Introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D), 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 rate would then be indexed to inflation and rise automatically. 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.


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.