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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
 

Senate Bill 343: Give students government predictions related to careers
Passed 96 to 13 in the House on June 12, 2018
To require school districts to give students a regional “career outlook” forecast document created by a government Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. This would be part of a process that seventh-graders must undergo of creating an educational development plan with school officials.


Senate Bill 302: Revise state land ownership limits
Passed 66 to 43 in the House on June 12, 2018
To eliminate a cap on the amount of acres the state can own in the northern part of the state, but require additional procedures for new land acquisitions. Acquisitions would not be allowed if the state fails to make full “payments in lieu of property taxes” (PILT) on state land to local governments. Other changes generally facilitate making acquisitions that increase access to state land for recreation and resource use, and revise other state land management details.


House Bill 5579: Appropriations, “Omnibus” education budget
Passed 25 to 11 in the Senate on June 12, 2018
The state education budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct 1, 2018. This appropriates $16.843 billion, including $1.843 billion of federal money. Of this, $14.765 billion goes to K-12 public schools, up from $14.580 billion this year. Another $1.669 billion is for state universities, compared to $1.629 billion this year. Community colleges get $408 million, up from $399 million. The bill increases the basic state "foundation allowance" grants to public schools by $120 per pupil for higher-spending districts, and $240 per pupil for districts that get less funding.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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Senate Bill 683: Impose full licensure on acupuncturists
Passed 33 to 3 in the Senate on June 12, 2018
To convert a registration mandate now imposed on acupuncturists into a more comprehensive licensure regime, including training and apprenticeship requirements, license fees, regulations specified in the bill and additional ones that the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs would be authorized to impose, and more.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 331: Impose licensure on genetic counselors
Passed 33 to 3 in the Senate on June 12, 2018
To impose licensure, fees, certification through a nationally recognized agency, and more on “genetic counselors” as they are defined in the bill.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 916: Impose licensure mandate on “automatic recycling kiosks”
Passed 98 to 11 in the House on June 12, 2018
To require second-hand goods and junk dealers that use an “automatic recycling kiosk” to obtain a license from the local government in each jurisdiction where one is located. “Automatic recycling kiosk” is defined as one that verifies identity by “remote examination of a seller's government-issued identification card by a live representative during all hours of operation,” and that captures and stores images of the seller and goods.


House Bill 5955: Preempt local government occupational licensure mandates
Passed 58 to 50 in the House on June 12, 2018
To prohibit local governments from imposing new licensure mandates on individuals seeking to earn a living in a particular occupation if the state already imposes its own licensure mandate on that occupation. Locals could keep their current licensure mandates but not impose any new ones.


Legislative Initiative Petition 2: Repeal prevailing wage law
Passed 23 to 14 in the Senate on June 6, 2018
To repeal the state prevailing wage law, which prohibits awarding government contracts to contractors who submit the lowest bid unless the contractor pays wages based on union pay scales that local union officials represent as prevalent in a particular area. The voter-initiated legislation was placed before the legislature by petition, and does not require the Governor's approval to become law.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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Legislative Initiative Petition 2: Repeal prevailing wage law
Passed 56 to 53 in the House on June 6, 2018
The House vote on the prevailing wage law repeal described above.


Senate Bill 787: Allow lower cost auto insurance option for seniors
Passed 23 to 13 in the Senate on June 7, 2018
To exempt a person age 65 or above from having to buy the unlimited personal injury protection (PIP) coverage mandated by the state’s no fault auto insurance law. Specifically, these individuals could buy either unlimited coverage or a policy that caps medical coverage at $50,000, with injury expenses above that amount covered by the individual's Medicare and related coverage. By the same margin the Senate also passed Senate Bill 1014, which restricts charges for long term attendant care provided by family members to crash victims under the standard unlimited medical benefit coverage.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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Senate Bill 897: Impose work requirement on able-bodied Medicaid recipients
Passed 62 to 47 in the House on June 6, 2018
To require state welfare officials to seek federal permission to allow requiring able-bodied individuals enrolled in the Medicaid expansion authorized by the federal health care law to work at least 80 hours a month for at least nine months a year, 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 or above age 62, a disabled person's caretaker and more.


Senate Bill 897: Impose work requirement on able-bodied Medicaid recipients
Passed 25 to 11 in the Senate on June 7, 2018
The Senate vote to concur with the House-passed version of the bill described above.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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Senate Bill 941: Spend $100 million on job training and preparation programs
Passed 30 to 2 in the Senate on May 30, 2018
To spend $100 million on government job and career training programs, scholarships, program grants and more, which would be labeled a “Marshall plan for talent.” Senate Bill 942 would authorize paying for this with money borrowed against revenues from a 1998 state tobacco lawsuit settlement.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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Senate Bill 653: Create environmental permit appeal panel
Passed 58 to 50 in the House on May 22, 2018
To create a state environmental permit appeal panel comprised of certain officials and representatives of specified interests including business and environmentalist organizations. A permit applicant aggrieved by permit denial could appeal to the panel, which would have the authority to revise or reject state environmental regulators' decision or conditions of a permit.


House Bill 6043: Require report to state of disclosures on prospective school employees
Passed 88 to 21 in the House on May 24, 2018
To expand a law that requires individuals who apply for a school job to sign a document that authorizes the applicant’s current or former employers to disclose any unprofessional conduct to the school. The bill would require the school to report to the Department of Education any information obtained this way about sex or other crimes involving a minor, or inappropriate conduct involving a minor. This would also apply if a school receives similar information about a current employee. The department would be required to keep these reports for six years.


Senate Bill 872: Extend statute of limitations on criminal sexual conduct suits
Passed 99 to 10 in the House on May 24, 2018
To extend the statute of limitations to 10 years on filing civil lawsuits related to criminal sexual conduct offenses, or if the victim was a minor, until the individual turns 28 years of age. This would be retroactive for cases going back to 1997 that match the profile of offenses committed by convicted MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar, except a victim would have to file a suit within three months of the bill becoming law.


Senate Bill 826: Impose licensure on naturopathic physicians
Passed 24 to 11 in the Senate on May 17, 2018
To impose licensure and regulation on naturopathic physicians, with license fees, education requirements and more. The bill defines naturopathic medicine as “a system of practice that is based on the natural healing capacity of individuals.”
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted No'
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Senate Bill 839: Revise mining permit amendment process
Passed 63 to 45 in the House on May 15, 2018
To establish streamlined procedures and timetables for a mining company getting revisions to restrictions in its state operating permit, with many exceptions. This would apply to determinations that a permit amendment does not “result in environmental impacts that are materially increased or different” from those specified in the original permit.


House Bill 5638: Revise groundwater withdrawal permit regime
Passed 93 to 15 in the House on May 17, 2018
To revise a 2008 law that imposed a comprehensive regulatory regime and restrictions on industrial, commercial and agricultural groundwater uses that might have a negative impact. The bill would allow a more streamlined process for agricultural and other withdrawals that meet certain conditions, and establish deadlines for state officials to process permit requests. It would also repeal a requirement that landowners make public certain agricultural well use information.


House Bill 5325: Let local business subsidy entities tax residences
Passed 76 to 32 in the House on May 16, 2018
To expand the taxing power of local authorities created to deliver direct and indirect subsidies to business property owners in “principal shopping districts” and “business improvement districts,” by letting them impose property taxes styled as “special assessments” on home and residential property owners. Under current law residential property is excluded from the levies these entities are authorized to impose.


House Bill 5902: Allow residential "cross-subsidization" of solar cell maker's lower electric rates
Passed 77 to 31 in the House on May 17, 2018
To allow the indefinite continuation of special discounted electricity rates granted by Consumers Energy to the Hemlock Semiconductor subsidiary of Dow Corning, which under a 2010 law were exempted from a ban on cross-subsidization between residential and commercial/industrial customers (meaning residential customers pay more while Hemlock pays less). The styles the discount as a privilege potentially available to all industrial customers, but details that limit it to just this one company. Note: Hemlock makes photovoltaic solar cells, which were recently granted tariff protection against foreign competition by the Trump administration.


House Bill 4158: Require conviction for property forfeiture to police
Passed 83 to 26 in the House on May 8, 2018
To establish that property seized from a person because it may be associated with a suspected drug crime is not subject to permanent forfeiture (loss of ownership) unless an individual is actually convicted. However, the conviction requirement would only apply to forfeitures of less than $50,000 (meaning police and prosecutors could still take and keep assets worth more than that using a lower burden of proof).


House Bill 5767: Let alcohol producers and wholesalers sponsor beer tents
Passed 105 to 2 in the House on May 3, 2018
To revise the extraordinarily detailed law establishing a comprehensive regulatory regime on the wholesale distribution of beer, wine and liquor, so as to allow manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers to get a special license to hold a beer or wine festival in which they provide the sponsor with beer or wine dispensing or cooling equipment and a brand-logoed tent.


Senate Bill 297: Mandate electrician have proof of licensure while on job
Passed 89 to 20 in the House on May 1, 2018
To mandate that an electrician on a job must show a government official or inspector a photo ID and evidence of licensure status if ordered. Also, to only allow an individual to get a "master electrician" license if an individual has at least 12,000 hours of experience in related work under the supervision of a master electrician, and has held an electrical journeyman's license for at least two years.


House Bill 5234: Authorize probation for medically frail prisoners
Passed 25 to 10 in the Senate on April 26, 2018
To let county sheriffs request and a court grant probation for a prisoner who is physically or mentally incapacitated due to a medical condition that renders the prisoner unable to perform activities of basic daily living, and/or the prisoner requires 24-hour care. Also, to let county sheriffs ask and a court grant a compassionate release if a physician determines the prisoner is not expected to live more than six months.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D) 'Voted Yes'
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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.


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Contact my lawmakers
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr., D-East Lansing, District 23. 517-373-1734. senchertel@senate.michigan.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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