December 18, 2015 MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call Report

“Guilty state,” push-back fed overreach, selective tax breaks, more university debt

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House Bill 4095, Authorize $51 million in new debt for college & university building projects: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate

To authorize $51.3 million in new government spending for several state college and university construction projects. The bill would cause the state to increase its own debt burden by $33.1 million.

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Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4581, Increase state payments to liquor distribution oligopolists: Passed 36 to 2 in the Senate

To increase from $7.50 to $8.25 the per-case fee that the private company or companies granted a state monopoly to warehouse and distribute liquor to retailers can collect from the state as a "reimbursement" for its distribution costs. According to the Senate Fiscal Agency the bill would have the effect of transferring an additional $5.8 million annually from taxpayers to these private companies.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 492, "Push back" against Obama NLRB franchise unionization rule: Passed 59 to 46 in the House

To establish that the owner of a local business franchise is the sole employer of its employees, rather than being a "joint employer" alongside the franchisor, with some specified exceptions. The bill was introduced after President Obama’s appointees on the National Labor Relations Board ruled that all franchise employees are actually employed by the franchiser for purposes of union organizing. This would mean that employees at local stores franchised by a national chain (like McDonald’s) could be unionized on a nationwide basis.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

House Bill 4713, Require “culpable mental state” for criminal conviction: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate

To establish that (with some significant exceptions) if a law does not indicate whether a culpable mental state (“mens rea”) is required to establish guilt, the presumption will be that this is required, meaning that prosecutors must show that the defendant violated the law “purposely, knowingly or recklessly.” This would not be the case if a law explicitly imposes a strict liability standard. Under current law, many complex administrative offenses authorize criminal penalties for actions that a regular person would not know are illegal.

Who Voted “Yes” and Who Voted “No”

Senate Bill 616, Exempt data centers from sales tax: Passed 61 to 45 in the House

To exempt business equipment purchases made by an internet data center from the state sales tax. The bill originally applied only to the developers of proposed data center in the vacant “Pyramid” building near Grand Rapids, but was expanded to all companies in this particular business. The House did not adopt the proposal in Senate Bill 618 to also exempt these firms from property taxes levied on business tools and equipment (the so-called personal property tax).

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