Tales from Lansing
November & December legislation
This update is compiled from official records held at legislature.michigan.gov.
Sponsored bills introduced
In November, Sen. Ed McBroom introduced only one bill, SB 0728, which had the main goal of clarifying that the Open Meetings Act also applies to the independent citizens redistricting commission. The redistricting commission was recently ordered by the Michigan Supreme Court to release notes and audio recordings from a meeting it held that was closed to public observers. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and 100 to 2 in the House. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bill into law on Dec. 23, 2021.
Sen. McBroom introduced no bills in December.
Votes of note
At the beginning of November, Sen. Ed McBroom voted in favor of Senate Resolution 86. The resolution condemns a U.S. Department of Justice memorandum that announces action on organizing the FBI with local law enforcement to prevent harassment and violence against civil servants, particularly school board members. The resolution says such action inhibits the free speech of parents. The resolution was adopted by the senate strictly on party lines, with 20 Republicans in favor (one not voting) and 16 Democrats against.
Sen. McBroom was the lone vote in the Senate against House Bill 4921. It changes the annual required financial reporting for licensed marijuana sellers to a three-year requirement. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Whitmer on Dec. 7, 2021.
In December, Sen. McBroom was also the only senator to oppose the authorization of “robo-bartenders” - alcohol dispensing machines. The bill contains limitations on volume and human monitoring. It was received in the House and waits for review by the House Regulatory Reform Committee.
Sen. McBroom was one of just three senators to oppose authorizing the deduction of gambling losses. The bill received bipartisan support in the House and was signed into law by the governor on Dec. 23, 2021.
Sen. McBroom split from most of his party and voted against House Bill 4294, which allows school employees who are otherwise unqualified to act as teachers to be hired as substitutes for the rest of the 2021-2022 school year. The bill narrowly passed the House mostly on party lines with Republican support and was signed into law by Gov. Whitmer on Dec. 23, 2021. Sen. McBroom has a history as a school teacher.
Editor’s note: This is not an exhaustive list of votes. Routine bill packages, many party-line or unanimous votes, and bills being followed by mainstream media are generally not included. The intent is to spotlight votes our local legislators have made that might be unexpected or otherwise unnoticed by Lansing-based media. If you’d like a more complete record of your representatives’ votes, I recommend MichiganVotes.org, which has a fairly up-to-date and easily searchable summary.
Sponsored bills introduced
Rep. Greg Markkanen introduced no bills in November or December.
Votes of note
Rep. Greg Markkanen voted in favor of House Bill 5097 in November. The bill prohibits the promotion of “any form of race or gender stereotyping”, including “anything that could be understood as implicit race or gender stereotyping”. It also includes the below definition for race and gender stereotyping:
All the Republicans present voted for the bill, while no Democrats cast a vote at all. The bill was passed on to the Senate and has been in the Committee on Education and Career Readiness since.
Rep. Markkanen cast his vote in favor of House Bill 5368, which specifies that court records cannot have the name or date of birth redacted when supplied to the public. The bill passed the House early in November with some support from Democrats and has since been in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.
Rep. Markkanen was one of about half of House Republicans that joined with Democrats to approve Senate Bill 103. The bill “provides for the rights” of electric transmission line owners to construct transmission lines under certain conditions. It was signed into law on Dec. 15, 2021.
Rep. Markkanen voted in favor of House Bill 4232, which would lower the legal age for selling or serving alcohol to 17 years old. The bill is now in the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform.
Rep. Markkanen voted against Senate Bill 0245 and Senate Bill 0242, which have been signed into law. It makes the terms for county commissioners 4 years long, instead of the two-year terms they had before.
Rep. Markkanen, formerly a school teacher, voted in favor of House Bill 4294, which allows school employees that are not otherwise legally qualified to teach to be hired as substitute teachers. The vote was very near a strict party-line vote.
Rep. Markkanen also voted for Senate Bill 0764, which allows for the deduction of gambling losses from an individual’s taxes. The bill has been signed into law.