MichiganVotes.org Feb. 4 Weekly Roll Call Report

The House and Senate only met one day this week due to a blizzard, and only voted on one highly technical hereditary trusts bill, so this report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest, including ones to ban “bridge cards” for college students, limit government employee health benefits, repeal the state “prevailing wage” law and more.

House Bill 4165 (Ban bridge cards for middle class college students)
Introduced by Rep. Joseph Haveman (R), to ban food stamps (a “bridge card”) to a college student who is claimed as a dependent on his or her parents’ income tax. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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House Bill 4166 (Expand unemployment benefits)
Introduced by Rep. Jim Ananich (D), to extend unemployment benefit payments to certain individuals who have collected benefits for the maximum allowable time period but are in certain job training programs; and allow an individual whose former employment was mostly part time to collect unemployment benefits even if he or she is only seeking part time work, or has refused full time employment. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4172 (Mandate 20 percent government employee health benefit contribution)
Introduced by Rep. Jeff Farrington (R), to require government employees to contribute at least 20 percent toward the cost of individual health care insurance benefits provided by their employer, or 25 percent if the benefit is a family plan. The mandate would only kick in after an existing collective bargaining agreement granting richer benefits expired. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4176 (Add new restrictions to school emergency financial managers)
Introduced by Rep. David Nathan (D), to require the emergency financial managers appointed to failing school districts like Detroit’s to include in a required financial plan a “district improvement plan” developed by the school board with the school employee union (Detroit Federation of Teachers or Michigan Education Association). Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4164 (Add additional “bad driver tax” penalties)
Introduced by Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes (D), to authorize the imposition of “community service” labor for an individual whose income is below 200 percent of the poverty level and who is subject to the “driver responsibility fees” (“bad driver tax”) that are assessed for various violations. An individual below the income limit could satisfy the penalty by working for no wage at a non-profit organization, with $25 taken off the amount owed for every hour worked, up to a maximum of $500 over two years. These very expensive fees were originally adopted in 2003 to raise revenue, so as avoid spending cuts in that year’s and subsequent state government budgets.

Senate Bill 94 and House Bill 4181 (Establish firefighters’ cancer presumption)
Introduced by Sen. Tory Rocca (R) and Rep. Lisa Brown (D), respectively, to establish a presumption that cases of certain types of cancer contracted by non-volunteer firefighters arose out of and in the course of employment for purposes of granting workers compensation benefits, unless there is evidence to the contrary, and unless the person is a consistent cigarette smoker. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 100 (Let local governments ban Sunday liquor sales)
Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R), to give local governments the power to ban alcohol sales on Sunday, as allowed by a 2008 law. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 95 (Repeal “prevailing wage” law)
Introduced by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R), to repeal the state “prevailing wage” law, which prohibits awarding government contracts to contractors who submit the lowest bid unless the contractor pays "prevailing wages," which are based on union pay scales in a particular part of a geographic region. These wage rates may be above the market rate in other parts of the region. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.


SOURCE: MichiganVotes.org, a free, nonpartisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, nonpartisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit MichiganVotes.org.