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Greater West Bloomfield Area Legislators Introduce Bills in 2012

Here's a look at what Michigan state legislators representing the Greater West Bloomfield area did last year.

Michigan state House Bills that were introduced in 2012 regarding "telemedicine," 16- and 17-year-olds "pre-registering" to vote, and "basic driver improvement" courses had at least one thing in common: they were introduced by legislators representing the Greater West Bloomfield area.

The nonpartisan vote-tracking website michiganvotes.org — which compiles the voting histories of lawmakers in the Michigan House and Senate — notes bills introduced by State Reps. Lisa Brown (D-39th District), Gail Haines (R-43rd District) and Chuck Moss (R-40th District) and where the legislation ended up.

Similar surveys were taken of the work by State Sens. Mike Kowall (R-15th District) and Jim Marleau (R-12th District). 

Among the highlights of bills introduced:

Rep. Lisa Brown (25 bills introduced in 2012)

HB 5972: Introduced on Oct. 17, 2012, to allow 16 and 17 year olds to "preregister" to vote when they turn 18.

  • Referred to the House Redistricting and Elections Committee on Oct. 17, 2012.

HB 5978: Introduced on Oct. 17, 2012, to allow voters to split their ticket in a primary election. That is, to be able to choose between competing Republican candidates for some offices, and competing Democratic candidates for other offices. Under current law a person may vote in only the Republican or Democratic primary elections (the state does not subsidize primaries for any other political parties).

  • Referred to the House Redistricting and Elections Committee on Oct. 17, 2012.

HB 5653: Introduced on May 22, 2012, to authorize enhanced penalties for stealing property worth more than $250 from a public school.

  • Referred to the House Judiciary Committee on May 22, 2012.

HB 5656: Introduced to earmark to public schools any revenue that comes from corporate welfare "claw-back" provisions, which require a company that fails to perform as required under selective state or local tax break and subsidy deals to repay the value of benefits it has received.

  • Referred to the House Appropriations Committee on May 22, 2012.

HB 5565: Introduced to impose a comprehensive state regulatory regime on the chemicals used by natural gas well drillers in producing gas using "hydraulic fracturing" (or "fracking").

  • Referred to the House Energy and Technology Committee on April 24, 2012.

Rep. Gail Haines (6 bills)

HB 5408: Introduced on Feb. 16, 2012, to prohibit Blue Cross Blue Shield from denying health insurance reimbursements for covered diagnoses, care and education that is provided via “telemedicine” rather than through face-to-face contact.

  • Referred to the House Health Policy Committee on Feb. 16, 2012.
  • Reported in the House on March 8, 2012, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
  • Substitute offered in the House on March 22, 2012. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on March 22, 2012.
  • Passed 109 to 0 in the House on March 27, 2012. The insurer would have discretion in determining whether an example is "appropriate".

Rep. Chuck Moss (16 bills)

HB 5841: Introduced to revise details of the process for approving an entity that wants to provide ("sponsor") the "basic driver improvement course" that a person can take to avoid having drivers license "points" assessed after certain traffic violations, and no longer exclude people with more than three points or who have already taken the course from this option.

  • Referred to the House Transportation Committee on August 15, 2012.

HB 5793: Introduced to impose a $30 state police fee for taking fingerprints and completing a criminal record check of a resident for employment-related or licensing-related purposes. Under current law a "temporary" $30 fee expires Sept. 30, 2012. In the past decade the legislature has passed many new laws imposing criminal background check mandates on a variety of professions.

  • Referred to the House Appropriations Committee on Aug. 15, 2012.
  • Reported in the House on Sept. 13, 2012, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
  • Substitute offered in the House on Sept. 19, 2012. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on Sept. 19, 2012.
  • Passed 91 to 14 in the House on Sept. 19, 2012.

Sen. Mike Kowall (22 bills)

SB 1301Introduced to revise the mission of "port authorities" that local governments may establish, so as to specifically include "economic development" activities such as providing direct or indirect subsidies to particular corporations or developers selected by the political appointees on the authority’s board. The bill would also revise many other details and powers of these entities, which under current law have the power to incur debt and spend the borrowed money for a broad range of purposes. It is cosponsored by Republicans Casperson, Nofs, Colbeck and Green, and Democrat Virgil Smith.

  • Referred to the Senate Transportation Committee on Sept. 20, 2012.

SB 1225: Introduced to revise details of a law that allows local governments to create "business improvement districts" with the power to impose property tax increases to pay the debt on additional spending intended to improve the area. Among other changes the bill would require more disclosures in a proposed district’s plan for operations, require these include a means to dissolve the district, revisions in the details of how a district is authorized and more.

  • Referred to the Senate Economic Development Committee on Aug. 15, 2012.

SB 1210: Introduced to create a state fund to provide cash grant and loan "brownfield" subsidies to developers, with money coming from state education tax revenue "captured" by local brownfields tax increment finance authorities. The bill would also authorize "brownfields" subsidies for a developer whose project is deemed to involve a “historic resource," and revise various procedures and requirements related to this subsidy program.

  • Referred to the Senate Economic Development Committee on July 18, 2012.
  • Reported in the Senate on Sept. 11, 2012, with the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
  • Substitute offered in the Senate on Sept. 27, 2012. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on Sept. 27, 2012.
  • Passed 31 to 7 in the Senate on Sept. 27, 2012. The bill would also authorize “brownfields” subsidies for parking lots and for developers whose projects are deemed to involve a “historic resource," and revise various procedures and requirements related to this subsidy program.

SB 1155: Introduced to authorize more state grants to local governments for sewage treatment and water quality projects. Also, to authorize state grants and loans to locals to finance "wetland mitigation banks," meaning the creation of new wetlands to offset other wetlands that have been filled.

  • Referred to the Senate Natural Resources, Environment & Great Lakes Committee on May 31, 2012.
  • Reported in the Senate on Oct. 17, 2012, with the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
  • Substitute offered in the Senate on Oct. 17, 2012, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that would make Michigan a "right-to-work" state. The bill passed the House with all Democrats voting no, and all Republicans voting "yes" except for Reps. Forlini, Goike, Horn, McBroom, Somervill and Zorn. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on Oct. 17, 2012.
  • Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate on Nov. 8, 2012. 

Sen. Jim Marleau (11 bills)

SB 1308: Introduced to revise details of the grievance procedures health insurers and health maintenance organizations must provide for persons covered under a policy, certificate, or contract.

  • Referred to the Senate Insurance Committee on Sept. 25, 2012.
  • Reported in the Senate on Nov. 29, 2012, with the recommendation that the bill pass.
  • Passed 29 to 9 in the Senate on Nov. 29, 2012.

SB 1086Introduced to change from 6th grade to 7th grade the year in which public school students are required to have been given certain vaccinations (with specified exceptions).

  • Referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee on April 24, 2012.
  • Reported in the Senate on May 8, 2012, with the recommendation that the bill pass.
  • Amendment offered in the Senate on May 17, 2012, to establish a new date on which the bill will go into effect if passed. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on May 17, 2012.

Of interest: A look at attendance records of state legislators representing the Greater West Bloomfield area

State representatives are elected for two-year terms and are limited to three terms. Brown chose not to run in the Nov. 2012 general election with one term remaining on her three-term limit, while Haines won a third term. Moss was term-limited.

State senators are elected for four-year terms and are limited to two terms. Both Kowall and Marleau were elected for their first terms in Nov. 2010. 

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