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November 20, 2015 MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call Report

Drone wars, fantasy football, more corporate subsidies


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The Legislature is on a two weeks break with no voting. Therefore, this report contains several recently introduced bills of interest. Note: There will be no Roll Call Report next week, Thanksgiving week.

Senate Bill 440 and House Bill 4748: Require health department inspection of privatized prison kitchens
Introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson (R) and Rep. John Kivela (D), respectively, to give local health departments the authority to inspect prison kitchens that are run by employees of a private contractor, and require the contractor to pay for these. Prison kitchens operated by government employees would not get health department inspections. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 445: Ban local “sanctuary city” policies
Introduced by Sen. Mike Kowall (R), to prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing a policy that limits officials or police from communicating or cooperating with appropriate federal officials concerning the status of illegal aliens. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 450 and House Bill 4726: Repeal 2012 legalization of small fireworks
Introduced by Sen. David Knezek (D) and Rep. Henry Yanez (D), respectively, to repeal the 2012 law that legalized the sale and use of “consumer fireworks” including firecrackers, bottle rockets, aerial spinners, Roman candles, etc. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 459: Decriminalize fantasy football betting
Introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D), to decriminalize betting on “fantasy football” and other “simulation or educational” games and contests. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 465: Authorize legislative vote on EPA-mandated electric generation plan
Introduced by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R), to require the Department of Environmental Quality to submit to the legislature its plan to comply with recent federal greenhouse gas emissions mandates, and prohibit the DEQ from submitting the plan to the feds if the legislature votes to disapprove it within 30 days. The recently imposed federal mandate would reportedly require 60 percent of the state’s coal-fired generator plants to be shut down and replaced. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Senate Bill 476: Authorize higher cigar tax
Introduced by Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R), to repeal the Oct. 1, 2016 sunset on a law that caps the tobacco tax imposed on cigars at 50 cents per cigar. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4698: Authorize drivers license, state ID gender change
Introduced by Rep. Brian Banks (D), to require the Secretary of State to change the gender indicated on the driver's license of a person who requests this if the individual has obtained a sex change operation, or produces a court order authorizing the change in designation, or other official identification to that effect. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4706: Let state enforce city income taxes
Introduced by Rep. Wendell Byrd (D), to authorize cities and the state Department of Treasury to enter agreements under which the Department could use its full state income tax enforcement powers to enforce the city’s income tax (including Detroit). The bill has been reported from committee and is pending before the full House.

House Bill 4714: Require more corporate subsidy cost disclosures
Introduced by Rep. Jim Runestad (R), to require the Department of Treasury to notify the legislature of the number of claimants for tax credits granted under the former Michigan Economic Growth Authority law, listed by size of the final liability to the state and the amount of foregone taxes attributable to particular firms. It was recently revealed that tax breaks and subsidies granted under this program represent a nearly $10 billion unfunded liability that will not be extinguished almost nearly 20 years. Under current law, key information about these special deals is kept secret. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4750: Authorize state job training subsidies through ISDs
Introduced by Rep. Phil Potvin (R), to authorize another government job training subsidy program for particular employers at intermediate school districts, similar to the one allowed for community colleges. Under the scheme an ISD could borrow to pay for training a particular employer’s new hires, and with the loans paid by the state in the form of an income tax earmark. ISDs statewide could borrow up to $50 million for this. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Note: Earlier this year the Legislature passed and the Governor signed an eight-year extension of the community college version of this scheme, and also eliminated a $50 million annual cap on the subsidies.

Bills to ban drones in various places
Several bills have been introduced to ban remote control drones from flying in various specified places. They include:
Senate Bill 432: Ban drones near the Mackinac Bridge, introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson (R)
Senate Bill 487 and House Bill 4866: Ban drones near prisons, introduced by Sen. Darwin Booher (R) and Rep. Kurt Heise (R)
House Bill 4868: Ban drone interference with public safety, introduced by Rep. Kurt Heise (R)
Senate Bill 549: Ban drones over Capitol, introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R)

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.


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