Dog-Fight Dogs, Obamacare, Financial Exploitation, Multi-Lingual State Websites

August 18, 2017 MichiganVotes weekly roll call report

The Legislature continues a summer break with no sessions scheduled until Sept. 6. The House and Senate convened pro-forma sessions one day this week in which no business or roll calls took place. So rather than votes this report contains some interesting or noteworthy bills introduced during the first half of the year.

Senate Bill 400: Increase tax imposed to pay for 9-1-1 phone services

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Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R), to increase cell phone taxes imposed to pay for local 9-1-1 emergency phone service. The 911 tax on cell phone contracts would rise from 1.92 percent to 4.19 percent. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 416: Allow adoption of dog-fight dogs

Introduced by Sen. Tory Rocca (R), to revise a law that bans breeding, buying or selling an animal that has been trained or used for fighting, or its offspring. The bill would allow these animals to be adopted if a shelter or agency responsible for one judges that it does not pose a threat to public safety. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 422: Give “land banks” a social welfare mission

Introduced by Sen. Ian Conyers (D), to expand the mission of government “land banks” to also include making homes available for disabled veterans. These government authorities were created as a management and efficiency tool intended to consolidate, market and get back onto the tax rolls property that has been abandoned and/or tax-foreclosed, primarily in declining cities. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 439: Expand wine and grape council mission

Introduced by Sen. Goeff Hansen (R), to add a member who represents micro-brewer interests to a government grape and wine industry council. Also, to expand this entity's mission to include providing the same kind of indirect subsidies to brewery interests that it provides to wine making interests. In 2014 this operation reportedly received $927,898 from liquor license fees (taxes) and spent $797,000 on things intended to benefit the industry, plus $373,000 on staff compensation. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4588: Facilitate incapacitated adult financial exploitation reporting

Introduced by Rep. Winnie Brinks (D), to permit investment advisers and other financial institutions to give law enforcement and other relevant agencies access to the records of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult who may be the victim of financial exploitation. State officials would be required to develop training resources to assist the industry in this. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4594: Exempt schools from union "prevailing wage" mandate

Introduced by Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R), to exempt public school, community college and state university construction or repair projects from the state "prevailing wage" law, which prohibits awarding contracts to firms that submit the lowest bid unless the contractor pays wages based on reported union pay scales in a region. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4596: Eliminate requirement for government union to represent everyone in workplace

Introduced by Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R), to no longer require government employee unions to be the “exclusive bargaining agent” for every employee in a unionized government or public school workplace. In other words, individual employees could choose to negotiate their own salary and terms of employment with public employers. This would not apply to police and fire unions however, which are excluded from Michigan’s right to work law. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4598: Freeze enrollment in Obamacare Medicaid expansion

Introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn (R), to freeze enrollment in the state Medicaid expansion authorized by the 2010 federal health care law and a 2013 Michigan law. These laws entitle able-bodied childless adults below a certain income level to enroll in what is essentially HMO-like coverage at taxpayer expense. The bill would allow current beneficiaries to remain but allow no new enrollments (or re-enrollments if someone drops out). Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4600: Mandate multilingual state websites

Introduced by Rep. Tom Cochran (D), to require state agencies to post a translation of their homepage for any language that is spoken by at least 2.5 percent of the state population. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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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