Michigan Votes

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• House Bill 5574, Give Detroit $195 million: Passed 21 to 17 in the Senate

To appropriate $194.8 million for a gift to Detroit, which is related to a potential bankruptcy settlement. The Senate adopted the same House-passed reform conditions on the gift, except it did not adopt one banning the renewal of a 10-year regional property tax imposed to subsidize the Detroit art museum.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

• House Bill 5568, Detroit bankruptcy grant package – pension provision: Passed 24 to 14 in the Senate

To allow Detroit to enroll new hires in a “defined benefit” pension system, and limit initial city contributions to 7 percent. However, the city (taxpayers) would potentially have to pay much more if the revised system generates new unfunded liabilities. This and related bills contain some provisions intended to reduce the underfunding risk, but unlike the version originally introduced in the House does not eliminate that risk. This is part of a package granting Detroit $195 million from the state toward a possible bankruptcy settlement.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

• House Bill 5566, Create Detroit fiscal oversight panel: Passed 36 to 2 in the Senate

To establish a Detroit fiscal management oversight commission consisting of two state department heads, five other individuals appointed by the Governor, the Mayor, and the president of the city council. Among the commission’s powers would be final approval of city budgets and larger purchases, borrowing, union contracts (except police and firefighter contracts imposed through binding arbitration), and more. The commission could waive its powers if city financial management meets specified conditions. This is related to a $195 million state grant to the city.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

• Senate Bill 6, Earmark some sales tax revenue to roads: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate

To revise and make permanent a one-time earmark to road spending of a specified percentage of sales tax revenue collected from fuel sales. For the next fiscal year this would mean around $128 million more for road projects.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

• House Bill 5400, Reduce certain low-hazard waste restrictions: Passed 25 to 11 in the Senate

To reduce restrictions on using certain low-hazard industrial byproducts that potentially have a beneficial use, including as fertilizer, road construction material, construction fill or other uses. The bill would also expand the definition of “inert material” in the state environmental protection law to include a number of specified materials, which would not be subject to restrictions depending on how they are used.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

• Senate Bill 924, Criminalize posting revealing images to harass or intimidate: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate

To make it a crime to post on the internet any sexually explicit photograph, drawing, or other image of a person with the intent to frighten, intimidate, or harass. The bill would also authorize penalties to refusing or failing to take all reasonable steps to remove such images upon written request of the person, even if these were not posted with the intent to frighten, intimidate, or harass.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

• Senate Bill 860, Heroin overdose prescription immunity: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate

To permit doctors to prescribe and pharmacists to dispense an “opioid antagonist” including naloxone hydrochloride to the friends or family of individuals who may suffer a heroin overdose. The bill would grant lawsuit liability to doctors and pharmacists for this.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y


• House Bill 4378, Repeal interior designer registration: Passed 29 to 9 in the Senate

To repeal a law that establishes a government interior designer registry and makes it available to state or local government agencies. To be included on the registry a designer must have passed a test created by a national organization of incumbent interior designers (which has sought repeatedly in previous legislatures to impose a full licensure and regulatory regime on interior designers).

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

House Bill 4964, Authorize automatic government employee 401(k) enrollments: Passed 22 to 14 in the Senate

To allow the state, schools and local governments to automatically enroll eligible employees in 401(k) type retirement accounts, with a percentage of the individual’s pay deposited in the account. An employee could choose to opt-out of deductions and deposits.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

House Bill 4486, Authorize involuntary treatment for substance abuse: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate

To allow relatives or a health care professional to petition a court to take an individual abusing drugs or alcohol into protective custody for involuntary treatment, and grant the request if there clear and convincing evidence that the person presents an imminent danger or threat to himself or others. The bill prescribes specific procedures, requirements and limitations on involuntary treatment.

37 Sen. Howard Walker R – Traverse City Y

House Bill 5385, Expand drunk driving provisions to include illegal drugs: Passed 101 to 8 in the House

To expand the law that requires a person stopped for drunk driving to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test so that it also applies to suspected driving while drugged. The bill would not authorize the use of a roadside saliva test, which is considered unproven.

105 Rep. Greg MacMaster R – Kewadin Y

House Bill 5168, Facilitate DARTA operating Woodward streetcar: Passed 82 to 26 in the House

To authorize the Detroit area regional transportation authority created by a 2012 law to enter agreements to operate a potential Woodward Avenue streetcar in Detroit. The bill would exempt this project from a provision requiring unanimous action by the DARTA board for any form of rail passenger service, and specify that Detroit and Wayne County would be responsible for covering the line’s operating deficits (and not other communities in the RTA).

105 Rep. Greg MacMaster R – Kewadin N

Senate Bill 49, Make government firearms ownership databases non-public information: Passed 80 to 28 in the House

To establish that state databases containing information on licenses issued to individuals to purchase, carry, possess, or transport pistols are confidential and not subject to disclosure under the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The bill was introduced after a New York newspaper published the names and addresses of gun owners it acquired from a state database (since then New York has also banned releasing this information).

105 Rep. Greg MacMaster R – Kewadin Y

House Bill 5558, Clarify legal basis for insurance lawsuits: Passed 57 to 49 in the House

To clarify that a prohibition of “unfair practices” lawsuits against insurance companies under the state Consumer Protection Act (rather than the state’s Insurance Code) applies even if the cause of action occurred before a 2001 law was enacted specifying that industries like insurance which are already subject to a comprehensive state regulatory regime are not covered by the Consumer Protection Act. Lawsuits that have already been filed could still proceed, however.

105 Rep. Greg MacMaster R – Kewadin Y

House Bill 4998, Appoint “entrepreneurs-in-residence” at Michigan Strategic Fund: Passed 85 to 24 in the House

To require the state agency in charge of granting selective tax breaks and subsidies to particular corporations and developers to appoint up to 10 “entrepreneurs-in-residence” to help the agency market itself and increase the efficiency of its operations.

105 Rep. Greg MacMaster R – Kewadin N

SOURCE: MichiganVotes.org, 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 http://www.MichiganVotes.org.

Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting