The legislature is on a two-week spring break. Rather than votes this report contains some interesting or noteworthy recent bill introductions.
Senate Bill 115: Mandate corporate board female membership quota
Introduced by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D), to mandate that publicly-held corporations (those that have sold stock to the public) must have a specified number of females on their board of directors.
If the board contains four members the bill would mandate that at least one would have to be female, or two females on a five-member board, or at least three females on a board with six or more members.
Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 121: Give tax breaks to some home buyers
Introduced by Sen. Kenneth Horn (R), to authorize a $5,000 state income tax deduction, and $10,000 for joint filers, if the income is contributed to a specialty savings account for home purchases by individuals who have not bought or owned a home in the past three years (dubbed by the bill a “first time home buyer”). A taxpayer could claim this deduction for up to 20 years for purposes of buying a principal residence. A version of this proposal was vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2018. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 156 and House Bill 4283: Authorize “extreme risk” firearm seizures from individuals
Introduced by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D) and Robert Wittenberg (D), respectively, to authorize courts to order firearms to be seized from an individual based on a “reasonable cause to believe” that the person poses “a significant risk of personal injury to himself or herself or others.”
Family members, a former or current spouse, an individual who has a child in common with the target, roommates, or a person in a “dating relationship” with the target could petition a court to issue an order to seize the individual’s firearms, and the court could issue this order without any notice to the target. The bill prescribes standards and procedures for this, and for an appeals process. The court order would be in effect for up to one year and could be renewed. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 167: Establish official state butterfly
Introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D), to establish that henceforth the black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) and no other butterfly or moth shall be the state of Michigan’s official butterfly. This is also the official butterfly of Oklahoma and New Jersey. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 222: End state oversight of post-bankruptcy Detroit bail-out reforms
Introduced by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D), to repeal the state oversight provisions that were included in the 2014 law granting a bailout to the bankrupt city of Detroit, and terminate the state oversight commission that was created to monitor the city’s finances going forward. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4148: Expand Open Meetings Act to administrative law agencies
Introduced by Rep. John Cherry (D), to expand the scope of the state Open Meetings Act to include state and local agencies that are authorized to promulgate administrative rules that have the force of law. These entities would have to produce and post on their websites audio or video recordings of all of their meetings that are required to be open to the public. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4187: Expand data breach response requirements
Introduced by Rep. Diana Farrington (R), to establish detailed rules for data breaches that expose sensitive personal identification information about individuals. The bill would establish notice and reporting requirements, guidelines and more for businesses, associations and state agencies. It authorizes $5,000-per-day civil penalties for noncompliance, up to a maximum of $250,000. Reported to and pending before the House Ways and Means committee.
House Bill 4188: Increase cigarette tax by $1.50, expand to “electronic smoking devices”
Introduced by Rep. Rachel Hood (D), to increase the state cigarette tax from $2.00 to $3.50 per pack, increase the tax on other tobacco products from 32 percent of the wholesale price to 81 percent, and expand the latter to include purchases of “electronic smoking devices” (“vapes” and more) as defined in the bill. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4221: Reduce student test score measures in teacher ratings
Introduced by Rep. Julie Alexander (R), to reduce from 40 percent to 25 percent the amount that student growth and assessment data (meaning test results) contributes to annual year-end evaluation ratings of classroom teachers, with the rest of the measure based on more subjective factors determined by local school administrators. A 50 percent standard for “core content areas” would remain. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 225: Let Detroit eliminate required city employee insurance copays
Introduced by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D), to let the Detroit city council exempt the city from a 2011 law that requires municipal employees to contribute at least 20 percent toward the cost of the health insurance benefits, or contribute a specified dollar amount to the cost. This law allowed local governments except for Detroit to avoid complying with a two-thirds vote of their governing body. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 235: Impose 10 percent tax on amusements
Introduced by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D), to impose a 10 percent “amusements tax” on tickets to a for-profit zoo, garden, museum, concert, opera, play, sporting event, amusement park, festival and others. Money would be used to pay police and fire pensions and other post-retirement benefits. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 240: Expand social welfare benefits to paying water bills
Introduced by Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D), to expand means-tested social welfare entitlements to include paying a household’s municipal water service bills. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 249: Decriminalize social betting pools
Introduced by Sen. Jim Ananich (D), to decriminalize “social wagering” in pools of 100 people or less where the relationships between them are social, and the bets are $25 or less. This would apply to things like office football or NCAA tournament betting pools. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4253: Create exception to giving state contracts to lowest bidder
Introduced by Rep. Donna Lasinski (D), to not grant a state contract for goods and services to the lowest bidder if it is not a Michigan-based company, unless the bidding is reopened for 30 days and the losing state-based firms are given a second chance. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4264: Earmark air pollution fines to certain grants, enforcement and monitoring
Introduced by Rep. Tyrone Carter (D), to deposit fines related to air emissions permit violations in a separate state account, from which 70 percent would go to local governments for related health assessments, education and training programs, and 30 percent on benefits to “environmental protection communities,” defined as those “facing a disproportionate environmental burden using indicators such as sensitive populations, socioeconomic factors, exposures, and environmental effects.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
2019 House Bill 4273: Extend time between drivers’ license renewals
Introduced by Rep. Kevin Coleman (D), to extend from four years to eight years the period for which a driver’s license is valid. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bills 4298 and 4324, Senate Bill 107: Increase EITC
Introduced by Rep. Angela Witwer (D), Rep. Kristy Pagan (D) and Sen. Jeff Irwin (D), respectively, to increase the state earned income tax credit from an amount equal to 6 percent of the federal EITC to 20 percent (HB 4298), or to 12 percent (HB 4324), or to 30 percent (SB 107). This is a means-tested “refundable” credit (meaning that a check is sent to the taxpayer for the amount that the credit exceeds the amount of income tax owed on wages earned), with the final value determined largely by how many dependents a recipient has. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed increasing the credit from 6 percent to 12 percent, the same level as House Bill 4324. All these bills have been referred to committees with no further action at this time.
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 www.MichiganVotes.org.
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Y = Yes, N = No, X = Not Voting