MichiganVotes.org April 15 Weekly Roll Call Report

Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report on interesting votes and bills in the Michigan Legislature, and includes how each legislator voted. To find out who your state senator is and how to contact him or her go here; for state representatives go here.

House Bill 4059, Ban putting union stewards on public payroll, passed 59 to 47 in the House
To ban government or school employee union contracts that pay employees who are union officials for time they spend on the job conducting union business. Among other government employers, many public school districts give local union officials full teacher salary and benefits but do not require them to teach or perform any other educational function. Reportedly the City of Detroit pays $4 million annually to these union officials.

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Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Concurrent Resolution 9, Reject health benefits for state employees' live-in partners, failed 66 to 41 in the House (two-thirds majority required)
To reject the state Civil Service Commission's extension of health benefits to the live-in partners of state employees. The measure failed because a two-third supermajority is required to over-rule a CSC determination.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

House Bill 4445, Adjust current year school appropriations, passed 86 to 24 in the House
To reduce current-year school aid appropriations by approximately $180 million to reflect lower student enrollment, revised revenue estimates and other detail changes. Democratic amendments to grant approximately $270 million more to school districts this year were defeated on a voice vote.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 109, Restrict welfare “bridge card” cash ATM withdrawal in casino, passed 38 to 0 in the Senate
To require state agencies to work with ATM cash machine suppliers to establish a way to stop a welfare recipient’s “bridge card” from being used to withdraw cash in a casino. “Bridge cards” are debit cards that have replaced food stamps and cash welfare payments.

Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Noteworthy Committee Action:

A Senate committee reported Senate Bill 7, which would require government employees to contribute at least 20 percent toward the cost of any health care benefits provided by their employer, with a number of exceptions and exemptions.

Republicans Jansen, Colbeck, Casperson and Robertson voted in favor.
Democrats Young and Warren voted in opposition.
Republican Mike Kowall abstained ("present").

A House appropriations subcommittee voted to strip from next year's budget $25 million that Gov. Rick Snyder recommended be appropriated in place of the currently unlimited film subsidy program. Presumably, legislation will also be passed repealing those unlimited subsidies, but this has not happened yet (and this week a new film called "AWOL" was approved for a $1.8 million subsidy). The same budget bill includes many other substantive changes, including attaching "strings" to some of the revenue sharing money the state gives to local governments, requiring them to adopt various fiscal and employee benefit reforms recommended by Gov. Snyder. This is just the first step in a lengthy process for this bill, House Bill 4274.
No roll call vote data available on subcommittee votes.

Newly introduced bills of interest:

Senate Bill 231 (Make crime to not report dead body)
Introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R), to make it a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine to not report the discovery of a dead body with the purpose of hiding or concealing the fact or cause of death. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4376 (Ban certain window blinds in child care centers)
Introduced by Rep. Lisa Brown (D), to ban window mini-blinds or other window coverings in child care centers that have pull cords or inner cords capable of forming a loop and posing a risk of strangulation to a young child. House Bill 4377 would impose state regulations on window blind sales. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 262 and House Bill 4237 (Authorize criminal penalties for “cyberbullying”)
Introduced by Sen. Tupac Hunter (D) and Rep. Lisa Brown (D), respectively, to make it a crime to post a message online about a person who is under age 18 if the poster knows it is false or intentionally misleading; if a reasonable person would find it damaging to character or reputation; and it is posted with the intent to intimidate, frighten, harass or cause emotional distress. Also banned would be intentionally concealing one’s identity while posting such a statement; and posting a statement urging a minor to injure or kill himself or herself. Penalties would range from fines to 20 years in prison depending on the age of the violator and whether any actual physical harm occurs to the “cyberbully” target. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4395 (Require “clawbacks” in selective tax break and subsidy deals)
Introduced by Rep. Jim Ananich (D), to require Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) and related selective state business tax break and corporate subsidy agreements to include a 100 percent “clawback” provision, which requires a company to pay back all the tax breaks or cash subsidies if it leaves the state during the period of the agreement. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

2011 House Bill 4402 (Mandate reduced class size in failing school districts)
Introduced by Rep. Shanelle Jackson (D), to require failing school districts to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 17 in grades K to 8, and 25 in grades 9 to 12. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 257 and House Bill 4414 (Require marriage license illegal alien screening)
Introduced by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) and Rep. David Agema (R), respectively, to prohibit a county clerk from issuing a marriage license unless both parties provide identification and proof of citizenship or legal resident status. 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.