December 11, 2015 MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call Report

Recreation taxes, absentee voting, gambling, fee hikes and more

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Senate Bill 481, Authorize school recreation millages: Passed 36 to 1 in the Senate

To revise a law that allows several local governments to create a "recreational authority" with the power to impose a 1 mill property tax, by allowing school districts to create such an authority. The tax can be used for swimming pools, recreation centers, public auditoriums, public conference centers, and parks, upon the approval of voters. This law does not prohibit the recreational facilities from being located at a school, but it does require them to be open to the public.

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Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 508, Criminalize posting revealing images on internet: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate

To make it a crime to post on the internet any sexually explicit picture, photograph or video of a person without his or her consent and with the intent to threaten, coerce or intimidate, if the material was obtained under circumstances that which a reasonable person would know were meant to remain private, subject to some specific exceptions.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 638, Revise campaign finance law: Passed 25 to 13 in the Senate

To establish a new type of campaign finance committee called an “independent expenditure committee,” and more clearly define “independent expenditures” and the rules that prohibit committees like these from coordinating with a candidate (which wouldn't be independent). These committees could contribute to ballot initiatives but not to candidates; contributions would not be subject to limits and could come from corporations and unions.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 187, Accommodate and regulate the “millionaire party” business: Passed 34 to 4 in the Senate

To revise the law governing charitable “millionaire party” gambling events that include casino games, to accommodate charities contracting-out operation of these gambling events to services that operate them for multiple charities at a single location, one event after another. The bill would establish a licensing regime covering both the charities and the companies that provide the service, which would recognize a system that that evolved in which a person can gamble on casino-like games at a single location, with the proceeds going to different charities at different times.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 151, Repeal deadline on prisoner DNA evidence appeals: Passed 106 to 0 in the House

To repeal a Jan. 1, 2016 deadline for a prisoner to appeal his or her conviction on the basis evidence generated by new DNA testing technology.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4686, Revise city sidewalk liability: Passed 55 to 51 in the House

To establish that a municipality being sued for an injury related to a sidewalk “discontinuity” may use any common law defense available to regular people, not just that the condition was “open and obvious.” Current law limits local government defenses in these suits.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4990, Expand local government “energy efficiency” financing schemes: Passed 102 to 4 in the House

To expand the things cities can spend money on under a scheme that lets them contract with vendors for energy efficiency projects and pay for them with money the projects are supposed to save (or from regular tax revenue if savings don’t appear). The bill would allow locals to spend on information technology and utility projects they assert are related to the energy saving scheme, and would also expand the types of deals they can make with vendors to include “lease-purchase” agreements described in the bill.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 552, Increase groundwater discharge permit fees: Passed 59 to 47 in the House

To increase groundwater discharge permit fees, and revise some details of this regulatory regime on enterprises that discharge wastewater onto the ground or into groundwater. The bill would authorize a different fee category for car washes, laundromats, seasonal RV parks and camps, and certain other small commercial facilities.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4724, Allow no-reason absentee voting: Passed 59 to 46 in the House

To eliminate the requirement that a person give a specific reason for requesting an absentee ballot, and require an individual who applies in person for an absentee ballot to show a picture ID.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 13, Eliminate straight ticket ballot option: Passed 54 to 51 in the House

To eliminate the straight party ticket option from election ballots. The bill also contains a modest appropriation that exempts it from the possibility of opponents petitioning for a referendum on whether it should go into law if enacted.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

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