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My Legislators' Key Votes

How my representative and senator voted on important or interesting measures
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Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr., D-East Lansing, District 23. 517-373-1734. senchertel@senate.michigan.gov
Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, District 68. 517-373-0826. AndySchor@house.mi.gov
 

Senate Bill 897: Require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work
Passed 26 to 11 in the Senate on April 19, 2018
To require state welfare officials to seek permission from federal welfare officials for requiring able-bodied recipients of Medicaid health coverage to work at least 29 hours a week, or be in school, job-training or volunteer work. The bill authorizes exceptions for a parent with children under age six, individuals getting disability benefits, a disabled person's caretaker, and more, including temporary emergencies and "life-changing events." It would also require beneficiaries to verify compliance each month and verify family income changes within 10 days.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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House Bill 5012: Restrict election recounts when outcome isn't close
Passed 27 to 8 in the Senate on April 18, 2018
To make more rigorous the definition of “aggrieved candidate” in the law that authorizes recounts of elections where the vote margin isn't close. The bill reflects court rulings after the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate (reportedly with the assistance of Democratic Party operatives) orchestrated a statewide recount, even though this candidate received less than 2 percent of the Michigan vote.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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House Bill 4115: Increase nonprofit sales tax exemption
Passed 76 to 33 in the House on April 18, 2018
To exempt from sales tax the retail sales of a nonprofit organization that has less than $25,000 in aggregate annual retail sales during a year, rather than $5,000 under current law. Under current law if a group exceeds this threshold then all of its sales are taxable, and the bill would change this to exempt the first $10,000 in sales for groups that don't exceed the new cap.


House Bill 5687: Require resident alien’s drivers license to expire with visa
Passed 96 to 13 in the House on April 19, 2018
To require that a drivers license issued to a resident alien must have an expiration no later than the date on which the individual’s presence in the in the U.S. becomes unlawful.


House Bill 5001: Impose licensure mandate on professional foresters
Passed 32 to 2 in the Senate on April 12, 2018
To impose a new licensure mandate on professional foresters (styled by the bill as registration), with a $200 fee, regulations, education and experience requirements and more. The bill would create a state board comprised of officials and individuals currently in this or related businesses, which would devise specific rules, requirements and restrictions. This is related to a recent small forestland property tax break law that requires owners to engage the services of a forester to apply for the special tax treatment.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 839: Revise mining permit amendment process
Passed 23 to 11 in the Senate on March 22, 2018
To establish streamlined procedures for a mining company getting certain restrictions in its state operating permit revised, subject to many exceptions. This would specifically apply to the process for determining that a permit amendment does not “result in environmental impacts that are materially increased or different” from those specified in the original permit. Among other things this refers to allowing a permittee “to relocate, reconfigure, or modify surface or underground facilities, buildings, or equipment, other than a tailings basin or a stockpile.”
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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Senate Bill 872: Extend statute of limitations on criminal sexual conduct suits
Passed 28 to 7 in the Senate on March 14, 2018
To extend to 10 years the statute of limitations on filing a civil lawsuit related to criminal sexual conduct offenses, or if the victim was a minor, until the individual turns 48 years of age, with some narrow exceptions. This would apply retroactively to offenses committed after 1996, and would not require that any criminal prosecution or other legal action was ever brought as a result of an alleged offense. Alleged victims would have to file suits within one year after the bill becomes law.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 637: Cap allowable fees for 'small cell wireless' systems
Passed 33 to 3 in the Senate on March 15, 2018
To establish a comprehensive regulatory regime for small cell wireless systems that use routers on power line poles and other existing infrastructure to provide cell phone and internet access without needing expensive towers. The bill would cap the amount that state and local governments could charge for zoning, permits and other fees.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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House Bill 5456: Ban asbestos lawsuit “double dipping”
Passed 35 to 1 in the Senate on March 15, 2018
To require plaintiffs who seek damages for alleged asbestos-related conditions to disclose whether they have already filed suits against trusts or claims pools created in previous asbestos bankruptcy cases. Reportedly some plaintiff attorneys have filed multiple suits seeking duplicate damages. The bill would also authorize reopening and readjusting cases and damage awards in such cases.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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House Bill 5180: Potentially permit air bows for hunting during firearms season
Passed 59 to 47 in the House on March 15, 2018
To potentially permit the use of pneumatic air bows to hunt game during any open season in which a firearm may be used, and also potentially permit disabled hunters to use air bows during bow season. Specifically, the bill allows but does not require state officials to authorize this. These devices are like crossbows but use compressed air to drive an arrow.


House Bill 4101: Authorize parole for “medically frail” prisoners
Passed 94 to 14 in the House on March 7, 2018
To allow medically frail prisoners whose condition makes them “a minimal threat to society” to be paroled to a hospital, hospice, nursing home or other suitable accommodation for the balance of their term.


Senate Bill 353: Preempt local bans on employers asking about past wages
Passed 62 to 46 in the House on March 7, 2018
To expand a law that prohibits local governments from restricting what prospective employers can ask on a job application. Among other things a local government could not prohibit an employer from asking about a prospective employee's previous salary history during a job interview.


House Bill 4053: Establish English as official state language
Passed 62 to 46 in the House on February 22, 2018
To establish English as the official state language. This would apply to government activities, but not to private sector activity. It would require governmental documents, records, meetings, actions, and policies to be in English, but would not prohibit them from also being in another language.


Senate Bill 551: Give political branches input on Natural Resource Trust Fund spending
Passed 56 to 53 in the House on February 21, 2018
To establish a Natural Resources Trust Fund advisory board comprised of the Governor, the state Treasurer, the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House (or their designees) and one member of an existing NRTF governing board, which would make non-binding recommendations for annual spending and operation of the fund. State land oil and gas royalty money is earmarked for this fund, which acquires and develops more land for recreational purposes


House Bill 4321: Authorize extra $160 million for road repairs
Passed 109 to 0 in the House on February 21, 2018
To appropriate $160 million from state general fund revenue to road repairs, and $15 million for "next generation technologies, hydrogen fueling stations, and demonstration projects related to enhanced transportation services for senior citizens." The road repair money would be divided between the state and local governments according to the usual road tax allocation formula.


House Bill 5040: "Driver responsibility fees” repeal and amnesty
Passed 36 to 0 in the Senate on February 14, 2018
To repeal the “driver responsibility fees” that are assessed for various traffic violations in addition to the fine for the violation itself. This and related bills would go into effect on Sept. 30, 2018, and would also clear any outstanding liability an individual may have to pay these fees, and allow reinstatement of drivers licenses suspended for non-payment with no charge. These very expensive fees were originally adopted in 2003 to increase state revenue collections.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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House Bill 5040: "Driver responsibility fees” repeal and amnesty
Passed 109 to 0 in the House on February 14, 2018
The House vote on the bill described above.


Senate Bill 748: Increase Michigan income tax personal exemption
Passed 36 to 0 in the Senate on February 14, 2018
To increase the $4,000 personal exemption that is currently allowed under the Michigan state income tax. The bill would immediately increase it to $4,050, and then gradually to $4,900 by 2021, with inflation adjustments thereafter. Taxpayers can claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse and each dependent, and these are subtracted from the amount of income that is subject to income tax.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 748: Increase Michigan income tax personal exemption
Passed 107 to 2 in the House on February 14, 2018
The House vote on the bill described above.


Senate Bill 400: Increase tax imposed to pay for 9-1-1 cell phone services
Passed 98 to 11 in the House on February 14, 2018
To increase taxes imposed to pay for local 9-1-1 emergency phone service for cell phones. A monthly state user fee (tax) would go up from 19 cents to 25 cents per device, and the tax on pre-paid service from 1.92 percent to 5 percent.


House Bill 5456: Ban asbestos lawsuit “double dipping”
Passed 58 to 51 in the House on February 8, 2018
To require plaintiffs who seek damages for alleged asbestos-related conditions to disclose whether they have already filed suits against trusts or claims pools created in previous asbestos bankruptcy cases. Reportedly some plaintiff attorneys have filed multiple suits seeking duplicate damages. The bill would also authorize reopening and readjusting cases and damage awards in such cases.


Senate Bill 749: Increase child care income tax credit
Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate on January 24, 2018
To establish that an individual is entitled to claim the same child care tax credit against Michigan income tax as the credit authorized by the 2017 federal tax reform law. This is a means-tested credit that is based on a percentage of child care expenses that are related to the taxpayer having a job (up to $6,000, or $3,000 if there is just one dependent). The credit would not be "refundable" (meaning the taxpayer would not get a check from the state for the amount the credit exceeded their income tax liability).
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 652: Subject new environmental rules to authoritative review
Passed 26 to 11 in the Senate on January 25, 2018
To create a state environmental rules review committee comprised of certain officials and representatives of specified interests, with the duty to oversee and make judgments on whether plans by the Department of Environmental Quality to impose new rules meet certain specified criteria including reasonableness, and to propose revisions if they do not. The committee would be empowered to stop the DEQ from imposing a rule that did not meet the criteria. Senate Bill 653 was also adopted, which creates a similar authoritative oversight process for DEQ permit decisions.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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House Bill 5422: Authorize “refundable” $100 senior income tax credit
Passed 100 to 6 in the House on January 25, 2018
To authorize a $100 refundable tax exemption against the state income tax for individuals aged 62 and above. “Refundable” means the state will send the individual a check for the amount that the credit exceeds his or her tax liability.


House Bill 5420: Increase personal exemption in state income tax
Passed 105 to 1 in the House on January 25, 2018
To increase the $4,000 personal exemption that is currently allowed under the Michigan state income tax. The bill would immediately increase it to $4,300 and then gradually to $4,800 in 2021. Taxpayers can claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse and each dependent, and these are subtracted from the amount of income that is subject to income tax. The Senate has passed a version that increases the exemption to $4,700 by 2020.


Senate Bill 748: Increase Michigan income tax personal exemption
Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate on January 17, 2018
To increase the $4,000 personal exemption that is currently allowed under the Michigan state income tax. The bill would immediately increase it to $4,500, and then gradually to $4,700 by 2020, which with inflation adjustments is projected to be worth around $5,000 by then. Taxpayers can claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse and each dependent, and these are subtracted from the amount of income that is subject to income tax.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 94: Override Governor's veto of "no sales tax on the difference"
Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate on January 17, 2018
To override Gov. Rick Snyder's veto of a bill that accelerates the 24-year phase-in of a 2013 law that exempted from sales tax the value of a trade-in when buying a new vehicle, RV or boat.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 409: Facilitate private home Great Lakes harbor leases
Passed 59 to 48 in the House on January 18, 2018
To authorize 50 year "bottomland" leases for owners of single-family homes on Great Lakes shorelines who want to create a private, non-commercial, recreational harbor formed by a breakwater. Owners would have to pay 1 percent of their home's state equalized property value in an up-front lump sum payment every 25 years. The money would go into a segregated account that pays for parts of the Department of Environmental Quality's operations.


Senate Bill 574: Let charter schools get some ISD enhancement millage money: passed 55 to 52 in the House on January 18, 2018
To require revenue extracted by future regional enhancement property taxes that are levied by Intermediate School Districts and distributed to conventional public school districts to also be shared with public charter schools within the ISD's territory.


Senate Bill 702: Prohibit school districts from discriminating against charter schools
Passed 60 to 47 in the House on January 11, 2018
To expand the definition of “deed restriction” in a 2017 law that prohibits a school district or local government from refusing to sell property to a competing charter or private school. The bill would close a loophole that the Detroit school district has used in refusing to sell a shuttered primary school to a charter.


House Bill 4176: Let neighborhood watch car mount flashing yellow lights
Passed 106 to 0 in the House on January 11, 2018
To let vehicles that participate in neighborhood watch programs have amber flashing lights.


House Bill 5094: Ban credit bureaus charging for security freeze
Passed 107 to 2 in the House on December 12, 2017
To prohibit the big consumer credit rating agencies from charging an individual who requests a security freeze following a security breach in one of these agency’s databases, such as the Equifax breach that reportedly put 140 million individuals at risk of identity theft.
Rep. Andy Schor (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 702: Ban school districts and local governments from discriminating against charter schools: on December 13, 2017
To expand the definition of “deed restriction” in a 2017 law that prohibits a school district or local government from refusing to sell property to a charter or private school, or from taking other actions designed to keep these potential conventional public school competitors from using property for a lawful educational purpose. The bill would close loopholes that cities and school districts have used to discriminate against charter schools.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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Senate Bill 469: Give some developers subsidies for rehabbing “historic” structures
Passed 36 to 2 in the Senate on December 13, 2017
To grant certain developers approved by state or local officials credits against the business income tax that are worth up to 25 percent of the amount spent to restore a structure that meets various criteria for being “historic.” Up to 90 percent of credits valued up to $250,000 would be "refundable," making them virtual cash subsidies.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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House Bill 4207: Subsidize grocery stores in cities
Passed 33 to 4 in the Senate on December 13, 2017
To authorize state subsidies for grocery stores in urban areas. This would come from money earmarked to an existing business subsidy program, and is estimated to be around $1 million to $2 million annually. The money could not be given to the owner of a grocery store located within a mile of an existing store.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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House Bill 4320: Spend more for environmental cleanups, borrow more for colleges
Passed 33 to 4 in the Senate on December 13, 2017
To appropriate $52.8 million for various state departments and functions in the current fiscal year, including $23.2 million for remediation activities related to recently reported instances of groundwater contamination by a chemical called perfluoroalkyl. The bill also authorizes $74.6 million in new long term debt for state university and college construction projects and $57 million for a State Police construction project.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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House Bill 4320: Spend more for environmental cleanups, borrow more for colleges
Passed 109 to 1 in the House on December 13, 2017
This is the same bill as the one above that passed the Senate.
Rep. Andy Schor (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 167: Expand opioid prescription restrictions and reporting
Passed 83 to 27 in the House on December 13, 2017
To require a doctor to have a “bona fide prescriber-patient relationship” before prescribing opioid and other painkillers that are subject to abuse, and authorize sanctions on a doctor who fails to first check the patient’s prescription record on a state database that collects this information before prescribing.
Rep. Andy Schor (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 478: Ban drivers license renewal if three unpaid parking tickets
Passed 74 to 36 in the House on December 13, 2017
To repeal the Jan. 1, 2018 sunset on a 2014 law that reduced from six to three the number of unpaid parking tickets a person can have before the Secretary of State will not renew a drivers license until the tickets are paid along with a $45 "clearance" fee. The bill would leave the more stringent regime in place permanently.
Rep. Andy Schor (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 544: Create framework for 'enhanced education savings accounts'
Passed 23 to 14 in the Senate on December 5, 2017
To create an enhanced education savings accounts program that would allow individuals to make tax-deductible contributions to an account used to pay for public school extracurricular activities, vocational programs or other services that schools are not required to provide. Note that while the Senate passed this and some related bills, it did not pass a bill authorizing the tax deductions (Senate Bill 549), without which this and the other bills in the package appear to be moot.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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Contact my lawmakers
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr., D-East Lansing, District 23. 517-373-1734. senchertel@senate.michigan.gov
Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, District 68. 517-373-0826. AndySchor@house.mi.gov


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.

Permission to reprint this legislative summary in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that www.MichiganVotes.org is properly cited.


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