Legislative Action, May 2021
An update on what Sen. McBroom and Rep. Markkanen have been doing in Lansing.
Sponsored bills introduced
Senator Ed McBroom introduced three bills during the month of May.
Senate Bill 443 - This bill would require the secretary of state to develop a license plate that featured the outline of the Upper Peninsula, and offer that license plate to vehicle owners. The proceeds from the specialty fundraising plate would go to the Great Lakes Sports Commission. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, led by Sen. Tom Barrett(R).
//I might actually need to find someone to explain this one to me. The Headlee Amendment is already near-incomprehensible. From what I can discern, the bill is intended to more clearly define what an unfunded mandate from the state is, and create a legal path for municipalities to hold the state accountable for not meeting those obligations.
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Oversight, led by Sen. McBroom himself.
Senate Bill 486 - This bill would require that all members of the Wolf Management Advisory Council be residents of the Upper Peninsula, until such time that tracking finds a wolf population in the Lower Peninsula. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, of which Sen. McBroom is the chairperson, and has already been reported back to the Senate.
Sen. McBroom also offered an amendment to Senate Bill 90 which would require the state to pay the legal fees of Enbridge if the company wins the lawsuit currently being fought over Line 5. The bill passed the Senate along party lines with Republicans in support, but the Senate unanimously voted against a substitute approved by the House which only budgeted $100.
//A full list of Sen. McBroom’s sponsored legislation is available on legislature.mi.gov.
Votes of note
May was a full month of legislative sessions, and there were many, many votes in the Senate. Many of them were for appropriations and spending. Below I’ve highlighted votes on items you may have seen elsewhere in the news, or that you might expect to see soon.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed legislation that Sen. McBroom proposed. Senate Bill 118, to reduce the sanctions on schools that hire staff that doesn’t meet licensure mandates, passed the Senate and House unanimously before being signed by the governor on May 19.
Another bill from Sen. McBroom may also be destined for the governor’s desk soon. Senate Bill 400, which would allow for the expungement of a first drunk driving offense under some conditions, passed the Senate 35-1 and the House 91-18, where Rep. Greg Markkanen also supported it. It needs another concurring vote from the Senate before heading to Gov. Whitmer.
Sen. McBroom voted in favor of Senate Bill 428, which would ban the state or local health department from requiring children under the age of 5 to wear a mask.
Sen. McBroom supported the recently-vetoed legislation that would have exempted high school graduation ceremonies from state pandemic restrictions.
Senate Bill 457, to ban requirements for minors to get vaccinated under emergency orders, also received a stamp of approval from Sen. McBroom. The bill is now in the House.
Sen. McBroom supported House Bill 4448, which prohibits the limiting of open records disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act during emergencies, as was done for two months in 2020. The bill was forwarded to the governor and vetoed.
In an interestingly split vote, Sen. McBroom and six other Republican senators voted against the rest of their party and Senate Bill 429. The bill would establish a state permit mandate for sand and gravel mining that would preempt locally imposed restrictions and mandates. It passed the Senate, 19-17. Sen. McBroom also opposed two related bills, Senate Bills 430 and 431.
Sponsored bills introduced
House Bill 4788 - This bill would create a process for putting term limits on elected village officers through a ballot initiative. It’s been referred to the House Committee on Elections and Ethics, led by Rep. Ann Bollin.
House Bill 4748 - This bill waives the written driver’s license test in addition to the skills test for “an individual with military commercial motor vehicle experience…” It’s been referred to the House Committee on Transportation, which is led by Rep. Jack O’Malley.
House Bills 4806 and 4807 - These bills revise the law that prescribes the steps and requirements to acquire easements under condemnation to install power lines. More specifically, it changes the definition of who can undertake the process.
//I’m not sure of the significance of this, but it must be important to someone for Rep. Markkanen to spend time on it.
The bill has now been forwarded to the House Committee on Energy, led by Rep. Joe Bellino.
//A full list of Rep. Markkanen’s sponsored legislation is available at legislature.mi.gov.
Votes of note
Rep. Markkanen cast more than 100 votes in May, many of them on budget and appropriations bills. The following are votes that stand out.
Rep. Markkanen voted with the rest of the House to pass House Bill 4591, which would prevent the state from entering severance and confidentiality agreements similar to the one entered with former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. The bill has been sent to the Senate, and is now in the Senate Committee on Oversight, chaired by Sen. McBroom.
Rep. Markkanen voted in favor of the newsmaking House Bill 4728, which would have exempted high school graduation ceremonies from pandemic restrictions had it not been vetoed by Gov. Whitmer.
Rep. Markkanen also supported House Bill 4001, which expands the conflict of interest rules to prohibit members of the legislature from voting on an issue in which they have a personal or professional interest. It passed the House 105-3 and is now in the Senate Committee on Government Operations, led by Sen. Mike Shirkey.
Rep. Markkanen supported House Bill 4293, which would add substitute teacher jobs to the things teachers’ unions cannot bargain over. The bill passed 56-52 and is now in the Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness, led by Sen. Lana Theis.
Rep. Markkanen was one of the 62 representatives that support House Bill 4667, which prohibits the creation or issuing (or even the incentivization to use) a “vaccination passport.” The bill is now in the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services, led by Sen. Curtis VanderWall.