As prescribed by the Michigan Constitution, the Legislature will begin the second year of the 101st Legislature on the second Wednesday of the new year, which is Jan. 12. This report describes some bills of general interest that were introduced in its first year.
Senate Bill 653: Authorize new 4-mill Oakland and Wayne county “arts tax”
Introduced by Sen. Marshall Bullock (D), to permit Oakland and Wayne counties to levy a “history and arts" property tax that would impose an additional .4 mill levy on property owners for up to 20 years. A new 15-member Wayne county “historical commission” would among other things be responsible for contracting out management of the Charles H. Wright Museum and the Detroit Historical Museum. In December, the Senate committee on Economic and Small Business Development reported the bill to the full Senate with a "favorable" recommendation.
Senate Bill 672: Limit data breach liability where good safeguards in place
Introduced by Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R), to limit the data-breach liability of individuals, institutions and organizations that maintain or access personal information about others if they “established, maintained, and reasonably complied with a written cybersecurity program that contains administrative, technical, and physical safeguards” as described in the bill. The bill would establish as the “strong policy of this state” to “incentivize conformance to a recognized cybersecurity standard or framework.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 675 and House Bill 5373: Ban toy balloon releases
Introduced by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D) and Rep. Mari Manoogian (D), respectively, to define a toy helium balloon released into the atmosphere as litter, with releases subject to a $250 fine for littering. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 678: Expand offenses triggering ban on individual possessing guns
Introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D), to redefine “felony” as used in a law barring firearms possession by individuals convicted of a crime “punishable by imprisonment for 4 years or more,” by expanding this to include a “misdemeanor involving domestic violence," meaning violations defined in the bill that are punishable by at least a year in prison.
Senate Bills 743 and 744: Authorize taxpayer-funded “green” subsidies to shipping and port interests
Introduced by Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R) and Sen. Stephanie Chang (D), to authorize another selective, taxpayer-funded state subsidy program benefitting private developers and corporations, this one distributing “Great Lakes Maritime” grants for schemes to reduce “greenhouse gas” and other emissions related to ports and shipping, along with more prosaic purposes including spill prevention, stormwater management, waste management and more. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5316: Waive pursuit of certain federal unemployment benefit overpayments
Introduced by Rep. Stephanie Young (D), to waive state efforts to seek repayment from individuals who received improper federal unemployment benefits during the coronavirus epidemic. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5422: Ban imposing industrial/commercial “carbon credit” mandates on industry
Introduced by Rep. John Damoose (R), to prohibit state agencies and officials from requiring and proffering a "carbon offset credit" to a commercial or industrial user of fossil based fuel and electricity, defined as making them pay for a certification that specified amounts of carbon dioxide or another greenhouse gas used by the operation have been reduced or “sequestered”. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5424: Ban using taxpayer dollar to pay school employee union expenses
Introduced by Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R), to make it unlawful for public schools to contribute toward the union or “education association” dues assumed by teachers, school superintendents, principals and administrators, building directors, school building “liaisons,” “central office administrators and staff” and related positions. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5491: Revise disease “carrier” warnings law
Introduced by Rep. Steven Johnson (R), to revise the Michigan public health code’s definition of disease “carrier” to exclude individuals with COVID-19. The designation requires officials to give a warning notice to individuals who do or are suspected to “harbor a specific infectious agent” that they must to cooperate in efforts to control transmission of a serious disease, and is enforceable with a court order. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5515: Require state pay for prepaid absentee ballot postage
Introduced by Rep. Tyrone Carter (D), to require absentee ballot return envelopes to have prepaid postage paid for by the state. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
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