March 3, 2015, MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call

Pension debt, double-dipping, film subsidies

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Senate Bill 86, Authorize more local pension debt: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate

To extend for one year a 2012 law that allows local governments to incur long term debt to cover unfunded pension liabilities, but only if they close their traditional “defined benefit” pension system to new employees. The 2012 law also allows new debt to pay for retiree health insurance, which unlike pensions is not a legal obligation.

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Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4078, Spend $24.7 million for state land purchases & recreation projects: Passed 31 to 5 in the Senate

To appropriate $24.7 million from the state Natural Resources Trust Fund. Royalties from oil and gas wells on state land are earmarked to this fund. At least 25 percent of its annual spending must be for land acquisition, and not more than 25 percent for recreation projects.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4059, Remove sunset on allowing school retiree “double dipping”: Passed 108 to 2 in the House

To repeal the sunset on a law that allows a “retired” teacher to work in schools with shortages in certain subjects and collect pension checks alongside his or her current pay.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Notable Committee Actions: Terminate State Film Subsidies

On Wednesday the House Tax Policy Committee voted 8 to 3 to advance a bill that would end state subsidies to film producers. Specifically, the committee sent House Bill 4122 to the full House with a recommendation that it pass.

The previous week the committee heard testimony for and against. On one side were individuals and businesses saying they have benefited financially from the subsidies. On the other side were individuals and organizations critical of the state having spent nearly $500 million on subsidies over seven years with little or no impact on the small number of full time film industry jobs in the state. Notably, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the state branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses recommended that the program be ended.

The current state budget has $50 million allocated for film subsidies. Gov. Rick Snyder has recommended the same amount next year, but is also on the record saying the program should be ended.

Republicans in favor: Jeff Farrington, David Maturen, Lee Chatfield, Gary Glenn, Martin Howrylak, Brandt Iden, Pat Somerville, Ken Yonker
Republicans opposed: None
Republicans not voting: Michael Webber (“abstained”)
Democrats in favor: None
Democrats opposed: Jim Townsend, Wendell Byrd, Bill LaVoye
Democrats not voting: Paul Clemente (“abstained”)


SOURCE:, 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

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