Sunday, 11 September 2016

Michigan Legislature Activities for Autumn 2016


Scroll down for "Uniformed Lives Matter" bill and its possible linking with a bill expanding civil rights protections for LGBT people.

* Lawmakers return after long summer break, introduce nearly 100 bills
Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press
11 September 2016

A bill that would eliminate the requirement that cities and villages pay for a portion of road repairs on state highways passed nearly unanimously in the Legislature earlier this year. But Snyder vetoed it because he said he felt it would create a patchwork of funding mechanisms for road repairs in the state. State Rep. Pete Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, also reintroduced a bill vetoed by Snyder that would limit the use of aftermarket auto parts that aren't made by the original car maker.

For more on Michigan's anti-trafficking legislation, see Section 750.462a of the Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931.

HB 5808: Allow testimony of expert witnesses regarding behavioral patterns of human trafficking. Sponsor: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.

HB 5838-5839: Prohibit, and provide penalties for, people or businesses knowingly selling travel services for the purpose of human trafficking. Sponsors: Reps. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville; Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance.

HB 5815: Provide re-entry services and housing for individuals released from prison as a result of their conviction or sentence being overturned. Sponsor: Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit.

HB 5820 and SB 1060: Expand the suspicion-based drug testing program for cash assistance recipients from a three-county pilot to statewide and require annual reports on Nov. 30 of each year. Sponsors: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township; and Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida.

HB 5829: Prohibit exclusivity clause in public sector labor union contracts. Sponsor: Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland.

HB 5856: Eliminate a Brownfield Development Authority’s ability to capture future special millages. Sponsor: Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering.

SB 1035: Expand the definition of ethnic intimidation to include gender identification and sexual orientation. Sponsor: Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren.

SB 1039-1040: Prohibit rules that are more stringent than the current requirements to claim exemption from immunizations, and prohibit excluding students from school as a disease control measure. Sponsor: Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton.

SB 1046: Change the requirements for transportation of students, adding that school districts shall transport or pay for transportation for a student from the public school within the district to a nonpublic school that the student attends. Sponsor: Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton.

SB 1066: Prohibit local units of government from raising the minimum age to purchase or use tobacco products. Sponsor: Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

* Michigan Legislature's fall agenda: energy laws, driverless cars, marijuana bills
David Eggert, Associated Press (Crain's Detroit Business)
05 September 2016
The Republican-led Michigan Legislature returns for voting this week after a three-month summer break, with plans for an abbreviated calendar before the crucial November election determines which party controls the House. Both chambers will have three weeks in session before the election, or nine days. The House schedule is front-loaded to September, while the Senate — whose members are not up for election for another two years — will be in session off and on into October.

Top priorities for GOP legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder continue to be an update of energy laws and changes in parole and probation policies. Lawmakers have been unable to resolve issues that ultimately affect consumers' bills — competition in the electricity market, how much power should come from wind and other renewable sources, and whether to require energy-efficiency markers. Senators will resume session Tuesday. Majority Republicans plan to revisit the energy legislation and marijuana bills in a private caucus meeting. House-passed measures would tax and regulate medical marijuana.

It has been nearly four months since a special legislative committee concluded investigative hearings into the lead contamination that began when the financially strapped city's water source was switched under state management. The Legislature has allocated $240 million. But policy recommendations, including potential revisions to the emergency manager law, have yet to be released — sparking questions from Democrats on the GOP-controlled panel. Republicans now could wait to make recommendations, originally due in May, until after the election. Democrats fighting to win the House majority for the first time since 2010 have tried to tie GOP lawmakers to the crisis by criticizing them for not calling Snyder to testify and allowing public money to be spent on lawyers helping him with Flint-related legal matters.

* CPR training could become school requirement in Michigan
Tampa Bay Times
11 September 2016
The legislation easily cleared the Senate in the spring and is pending in the House, which supporters hope will vote this month before members break again to focus on the November election. The bill would require that schools provide instruction in CPR and the use of defibrillators at least one time between grades 7 and 12. The requirement would begin in the 2017-18 school year. Rep. Tom Hooker, a Byron Center Republican, sponsored the legislation in the House.

* Michigan legislation seeks to allow pooches on restaurant patios
Brittany Gray, WWMT
10 September 2016
Michigan State law generally prohibits animals at restaurants, but Senate Bill 727 would allow dogs on outdoor patios. Michigan State law generally prohibits animals at restaurants, but Senate Bill 727 would allow dogs on outdoor patios. The bill introduced by Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage passed the Republican-led Michigan Senate this week and heads to the Michigan House, but some who oppose the legislation are saying they don't want to see dog hair or slobber while they're eating. It would allowed leashed dogs on a restaurant's outdoor patio, but those patios would have to be free of dog hair and regularly disinfected. The bill also allows communities to ban dogs, if the community wasn't in favor of the idea. The bill would not affect any existing laws covering service dogs.

Proposed bills would classify attacks on Law Enforcement Officials as hate crimes.

* Michigan senator to introduce 'Uniformed Lives Matter' bill
Emily Lawler, MLive
09 July 2016
Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake promised to introduce legislation in Michigan that would treat attacks on law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel as hate crimes under state law. Michigan law already does prohibit the killing of a police officer, but it is not currently classified as a hate crime.

Michigan law defines a hate crime as being motivated by a bias against a race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Federal law also includes crimes motivated by a bias against perceived religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability in its definition of hate crimes. According to a report from the Michigan State Police there were 495 hate crimes in Michigan in 2015.

* Legislation eyed to make attacks on cops hate crimes
Candice Williams, The Detroit News
08 July 2016

Michigan Senate Majority Leader and former public safety director for White Lake Township Mike Kowall said he would introduce the “Uniformed Lives Matter” legislation when the Senate returns to session in September after summer break. The legislation would cover law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel.

* Jones backs classifying LGBT bias as hate crime
Todd Heywood, City Pulse
July 2016

State Sen Rick Jones, a Grand Ledge Republican and former sheriff, will announce that he is cosponsoring a bill to amend the measure to include LGBT people. His support breathes new life into the legislation after decades of disappointment for proponents. His backing guarantees a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. This will be the first time the Legislature’s upper chamber has held hearings on hate crimes legislation, and the first time since 2008 either chamber has done so. Last week, Jones signed onto SB1035 to amend the state hate crimes law to include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes. Jones and Warren Democrat Steve Bieda will take the lead shepherding the legislation through the Senate. Ingham County Democrat Curtis Hertel Jr. and Republican Tory Rocca from Sterling Heights have also signed onto the bill as sponsors.

State statistics show antigay crimes have been an ongoing issue in Michigan. In 2014, the Michigan State Police listed 60 antigay bias crimes. That was out of 532 victims and 441 incidents. In 2015, the number of victims and incidents had dropped to 399 incidents and 495 victims. The MSP reports that 12 percent in 2015 were motivated by antigay bias, or 61 cases. The majority of bias crimes were perpetrated based on the victim’s race. Michigan's Hate Crime law doesn't include crimes against a particularly vulnerable group, transgender people, which the state police do not track. Equality Michigan, a statewide gay rights organization, reported in the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects 2015 annual report on hate crimes that the state had tracked three anti-trans murders.

State Sen. Mike Kowall of White Lake said last week, after news of the shooting of white police officers in Dallas, that he would introduce legislation he is calling “Uniformed Lives Matter.” That proposal would make a crime to target first responders for violent crime, as apparently happened when a gunman opened fired on Dallas Police last week during a Black Lives Matter march. Kowall opposes amending existing hate crimes laws to include the LGBT community. Ironically, however, MSP reports on bias incidents show that in 2014, five police officers were victims of bias crimes, whereas 60 members of the LGB community were victims of such crimes. In 2015, eight police officers were victims of bias crimes, while 61 members of the LGB community were victims.

Nathan Triplett, political director for Equality Michigan, said Jones’ move is “very positive.”

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